Preventing the community spread of COVID-19 has become a paramount concern of officials with the city of Milledgeville.
City Manager Hank Griffeth announced at last Tuesday night’s city council work session that discussions are underway between city leaders, state health officials and officials at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Griffeth said he and Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan were on a conference call with state health department officials earlier last Tuesday and they may have the opportunity to work with them to get some additional testing within the city limits.
“We don’t have the final logistics worked out yet,” Griffeth told members of city council. We will continue to work on that. That presented itself fairly quickly to us yesterday.”
The city manager said he and the mayor talked with a representative at Emory University Hospital last Tuesday morning.
“We had a good conversation,” Griffeth said. “We’re going to see if we can work that up and get that done fairly quickly. Most likely it will be two testing dates. There may be some potential for it to be a research project for Emory University Hospital to help us have a better idea of some of the census tracts of where we may be having a greater prevalence of positive tests than others so that we can maybe look at the possibility of trying to get additional education programs out there or PPE available for people in those census tract areas.”
Griffeth explained that HIPPA restrictions would prevent them from getting certain information.
“We obviously would not get the people’s names, but we will have a better idea of where in the community they live,” Griffeth said, noting that if the city were to become part of a research project such information might be easier to obtain.
The Georgia Department of Public Health put out a video last week that had been shared by officials of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA).
He said he would share the video with the mayor and city council members.
Griffeth said he also would share it through social media, website, and local churches any way city officials could get it out to the community.
The city manager said since the pandemic began in mid-March he had read several articles from Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of Emory School of Medicine & Grady Health System.
“Just this morning, I read information from Dr. Rio that said that the only ways that the disease would be slowed down is if people wash their hands, social distance, and wear a mask,” Griffeth said. “So, that’s what we’ve got to get across to people, wearing a mask when we can’t control you social distancing.”
The city manager said people can say that most of the cases have been in facilities, but some people go in and out of those facilities who go back and forth into other parts of the community.
“We will continue to work on the education piece of that,” Griffeth said.