Superintendent Speaks on the Omicron Covid-19 Variant

Bobcat's Corner, Community

GCS Faculty, Students, Parents & Community,
As I am sure you are all aware, the Omicron Covid-19 variant is quickly spreading throughout our country, our state and our community. There are still many unknowns concerning the Omicron variant and I encourage all of you to take every precaution to keep you and your families safe.
On December 30th, 2021, the Georgia Department of Public Health released a new Administrative Order for Public Health Control Measures containing updated quarantine guidance for schools. This guidance is summarized below.
Tested positive, when to discontinue isolation:
• Had Symptoms:
o At least 5 days* have passed since symptoms first appeared and
o At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
o Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved
• No symptoms
o At least 5 days* have passed since the positive laboratory test and the person remains asymptomatic
o Note, if you later develop symptoms, you should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.
* If leaving isolation earlier than 10 days, you should continue to wear a mask around others for the remainder of the 10 days since your symptoms started, if symptomatic, or the remainder of the 10 days since your positive test, if asymptomatic. After 10 days, please continue to follow local masking recommendations or ordinances.
Contact to a case
• Not vaccinated for COVID-19 OR greater than 6 months out from completion of a 2 dose vaccine series or 2 months out from a 1-dose vaccine, without a booster dose:
o The recommended time period for quarantine is 10 days, but you may leave quarantine any day after 5 full days have passed since your most recent exposure occurred if you do not experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days.
o It is recommended that you seek testing on day 5 after your most recent exposure, if possible. If a positive test is returned, please follow DPH guidance for isolation.
• Vaccinated individuals who meet the following criteria:
o It has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) but less than 6 months since the completion of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series,
o It has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) but less than 2 months since receiving a 1-dose vaccine,
o It has been more than 6 months since completion of a 2-dose vaccine series or 2 months since a 1-dose vaccine, but they have received a booster,
 NOT required to quarantine BUT should seek testing 5 days after exposure and wear a mask around other for 10 days after exposure.
If your child is vaccinated, it is your responsibility to let us know so we can verify through the GRITS system.
As you can see, the new guidance can be very confusing. If your child is exposed at school, there will be several factors that are used to determine your child’s quarantine status. Our staff are more than willing to work with you to answer any questions you may have. Although we have very little discretion regarding the guidelines, we are here for you to offer information that may help you navigate the situation in a manner that is best for your child.
Again, I would like to HIGHLY encourage everyone to take necessary precautions to stay safe at home, work, school and in public. Thank you.
Dr. Brian Ridley
Superintendent, Gilmer County Schools

COVID-19 vaccine moving off-site at some health department locations

Community, News
Labor Day vaccines health departments covid

GAINESVILLE – In anticipation of the upcoming flu season and to prepare for the approval of the COVID-19 booster dose for the general population, District 2 Health Departments will be re-opening some of its off-site COVID-19 mass vaccination sites.

Approval for the booster dose is still pending; however, starting Monday, September 20, Forsyth and Hall County will move to their designated off-site locations to begin administering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.  The district will not administer booster doses until approval and guidance is granted by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and FDA.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will await recommendations from the CDC and ACIP before releasing a plan to administer booster doses of Pfizer COVID vaccine in Georgia. The FDA’s discussion and review of data about the need for COVID vaccine boosters is a first step in the process; the same questions will be considered by ACIP during meetings currently scheduled for Sept. 22-23. When CDC/ACIP provide recommendations and guidelines for booster shots, DPH has the inventory to quickly ramp up access to Pfizer COVID vaccine statewide.

“We anticipate an increase in traffic in our health departments with the administration of both the COVID booster dose and flu vaccine,” said Dr. Zachary Taylor, District 2 Public Health Director. “By moving our COVID-19 operation off-site, we will alleviate the influx of people inside our waiting rooms.”

Forsyth County Health Department will operate its COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Northside Forsyth Hospital, Suite 360, located at 1200 Northside Forsyth Dr. Cumming, GA 30041.

Hall County will operate its mass vaccine site from the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, located at 1855 Calvary Church Rd., Gainesville, GA 30507.

The hours of operation for both sites are Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Appointments are not required. If an individual prefers to schedule an appointment, they may do so using the VRAS scheduling system via the District 2 Public Health website.  Hours of operation and locations may change due to demand. Reference the schedule of locations and hours posted on the public health website to ensure the vaccine site in your county is operational.

For more information on the COVID-19 booster dose visit the CDC website to learn more.

Gilmer Schools responding to COVID case increases

News
2020-201 Calendar, graduation, Renovations, Financial Distinction, return, testing, resignation, Virtual, inspections, School, COVID

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – “Gilmer Schools have seen an explosion of positive COVID cases and quarantines throughout this week.” Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Ridley read a statement during the Gilmer County Board of Education this week on Thursday night, August 19, 2021, during their Regular Scheduled meeting.

Gilmer Superintendent Dr. Brian Ridley, COVID

Gilmer Superintendent Dr. Brian Ridley

As of that meeting, the total cases in Gilmer’s school system surpassed a district wide 900 students in quarantine and 100 positive cases in students and staff.

That explosion also culminated in the cancellation of the season opening varsity football game against Pickens on Friday, August 20, 2021. The school system stated, “Decisions such as these are not taken lightly, and we must prioritize the safety and well being of all student-athletes and spectators for both teams.”

Dr. Ridley said in a letter to parents about COVID restrictions earlier this week that the school system would be mandating masks and face coverings starting on Monday, August 23, 2021. He stated, “I feel it is imperative that we act now in an effort to keep our students safe and our schools open.”

In efforts to notify and share the information well in advance, that letter was sent out. However, at the Thursday meeting, Dr. Ridley also informed citizens that while working with the Department of Health, new guidelines will be coming next week in implementation. He confirmed that he would be discussing these with the press on Monday to inform citizens more about those changes as the school looks to continue implementing DPH guidelines into the schools.

As of now, Monday will see masking on school buses only with strong encouragement to wear masks throughout the day. Dr. Ridley also urged others to consider using masks and getting vaccinated against the virus. During his statement in the meeting, Dr. Ridley stated, “Students and staff who are fully vaccinated or masked during exposure will not be subject to quarantine.”

Additionally, the Board of Education also approved COVID leave time for staff that have exposures and positive tests. Superintendent Ridley stated that the official numbers will be updated on their website tomorrow, August 20, 2021.

COVIDWith the announcement of new COVID guidelines made and implementation on the way, the school system is currently working on the “logistics of implementing this new guidance as early as Monday or Tuesday of next week.”

Gilmer is continuing with quarantining for 10 days and requirements to be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications with an improvement of symptoms.

Additionally, Dr. Ridley previously told FYN that virtual academy was not being implemented for the start of school, but Gilmer does have the option if the need arises. He did not mention virtual academy at the meeting.

As the Superintendent shares more information on the changing guidelines FYN will continue to share new articles with the updated information.

Ask The Doc! Breast Implant Lymphoma and Throat Cancer

Lifestyle
ask the doc

This morning, the doctors discuss Breast Implant Lymphoma. How common is it? Did the Surgeon make a mistake? The Doctors also touch on Throat Cancer of the Epiglottis. Is the treatment plan correct? The doctors also discuss Covid-19 and the vaccine. What’s True And What’s False? Which of the Vaccines is the most effective?

 

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston provides breakfast to local health workers giving vaccinations

News

Sheree Bradburn, on behalf of Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, was up bright and early serving breakfast to our local health workers. The Gilmer County health department will be providing vàccinations at the Piedmont Community center.. Bradburn told us, “Ralston is down at the Capitol fighting for us and I want to pitch in right here at home.”

The efforts of public health and Piedmont mountainside is a great example of public/private partnerships that work. This is what our taxpayers and community want to see and the kind of services they deserve.

We can all support the vaccination efforts in our own ways, whether dropping off meals or providing childcare to workers, whatever. Let’s look for ways to pitch in and make vaccination efforts a success. The sooner we do it the sooner we can get back to normal.

(Pictured here L-R Sheree Bradburn and Krystal Sumner, RN BSN)

FYN spoke with Krystal Sumner, RN BSN, County Nurse Manager, Gilmer County Health Department who gave us the following information.

Gilmer Health Department has administered over 7,500 COVID-19 Vaccines and North Georgia Health District has administered over 70,000 vaccines.

Gilmer Health Department has partnered with Dalton State College utilizing nursing student to assist in the vaccination process. We are also very appreciative of Piedmont for allowing us to use the Piedmont Community Center for a vaccine site. This space allows us to vaccinate one person every minute at our clinic.

Anyone interested in the COVID-19 vaccine may call 1-888-881-1474 or go to www.NGHD.org and click on the COVID-19 19 Information Banner. This will inform the person where vaccine is available and how to make an appointment.

We would like to thank the office of Speaker Ralston for their time and appreciation.

Ask The Doc! Types Of Breast Cancer And The Flu Season

Community
ask the doc

This week, the doctors discuss the different types of breast cancer. They also touch on a question from a viewer regarding the treatment of their husband’s heart tumors. Is he getting the right treatment? What happened to Flu Season? What’s the latest on Covid-19? All this and more on Ask The Doc!

 

Ask The Doc: Long Term Effects of Surviving Cancer

Just For Fun, Lifestyle
ask the doc, Surface time

This week, Dr. Whaley and Dr. Raymond Tidman discuss some questions sent in by viewers. They touch on the long term effects of Cancer and some possible complications of surviving cancer. They also discuss how to know when you’re cured of cancer. Is there anyway to prevent future complications for cancer survivors? The doctors also discuss the current numbers of cancer survivors compared to in the past.

 

Ask The Doc! Gastric Bypass Complications And Sarcomas

Lifestyle
Ask The Doc! Recovery Process Of Covid-19

This morning, the Doctors discuss Gastric Bypass Surgery and its complications. When is this surgery needed? What are its complications? They also answer a question regarding a Sarcoma. Dr. Whaley discusses why you shouldn’t google medical information. They also discuss the latest vaccine news. Who should be receiving the vaccine?

 

Ask the Doc! Cologuards and the Lance Armstrong Shot

Community
ask the doc

Dr. William Whaley has returned for the new year and is ready to answer your questions about colonoscopies vs the Cologuard test and the other about Myelodysplasia and the Lance Armstrong shot.

 

 

Ask The Doc! Fighting Off Covid-19

Community, Lifestyle
Ask The Doc! Recovery Process Of Covid-19

This morning, The doctors address a comment left on one of the Ask The Doc Segments. What drugs are good for fighting off Covid-19 or do we just wait on a vaccine? The Doctors also address the President and first lady testing positive for Covid-19. What do the Doctors have to say about testing positive with no symptoms? When could he have contracted the virus? How long has he had it? All this and more on Ask The Doc!

 

Ask The Doc! College And Covid-19

Lifestyle
Ask The Doc! Recovery Process Of Covid-19

This morning, the doctors discuss how colleges are dealing with Covid-19. When a Student tests positive, the colleges continue classes and give the infected student their own quarantined dorm. Is this the approach we should be taking with everything? Should we worry over the numbers? Hear Doctor Whaley and Doctor Tidman’s point of view on this right here on Ask the Doc!

 

BOC applying for CARES Act Grant funding

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – A Special Called meeting saw approval for an application for a grant funding by Gilmer’s Board of Commissioners that could mean extra help for local departments’ needs for supplies and equipment outside of their normal budget.

Some information on the CARES Act funding was delivered to the Commissioners during their meeting by Fire Rescue who have already submitted requests to utilize the additional funds if approved.

Commission Chairman Charlie Paris said in the meeting that the approval was to sign a contract for a registration number to allow the county to apply for the grant.

According to a release from the Georgia Municipal Association, the funds are to be used for “necessary expenditures” related to COVID-19.

Additionally, the Governor’s Office stats that once the application and certification process is concluded, a 30 percent advance could be available immediately. Also, a funding breakdown document from the Governor’s Office indicates that 30 percent advance could total $456,775 with a total possible $1,522,585. But, again, funding terms dictate that this must be used for COVID-19 costs or response, which means Gilmer could not use this in normal budget needs.

However, Paris did note that he assumed other departments besides public safety could have certain eligibility after Public Works Director Jim Smith commented on the subject. He noted that much of the road department was working understaffed for close to six weeks. Paris said the county will be applying for reimbursement on other departments and certain payroll issues due to the COVID-19 virus.

The county is looking for a quick turnaround, and brought to special meeting, as it was noted that there is a deadline at the end of August which is also noted in the Governors letter. The county will be moving quickly to make this deadline in order to receive the extra funding.

 

The Governor’s Letter included in information given to the BOC by Public Safety during their meeting:

Governor’s Letter Page 1

Governor’s Letter Page 2

BOE deciding details of return to school

Board of Education, News
return

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer has begun discussions of its return to school in August with details available to push back the starting date for students as well as offering an option for their return and will be making final decisions on details tonight.

Debates have arisen among board members for restrictions and requirements for the return. The school system is set to have part of its students attending a “virtual academy” while others will be attending class in person. Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs spoke this week saying that families could choose how to attend.

Committing to one or the other means dedicating to that form for a semester for high school or 9-week period for Grades K-8, according to Chief Academic Officer Lottie Mitchell.

Another major change coming at the beginning of the year will be moving back classes by four days. This push back, said Downs, is focused on allowing extra time to train and prepare staff for their changes in the coming school year through cleanings, classes, and training for lessons whether face-to-face or through the virtual academy. This will also push the first day of school to a Friday as Dr. Downs said in their July Work-session, “Our staff just seems to prefer to start on Friday so that we learn from Friday, especially when changes are being made.”

She went on to explain that the Friday start also allows teachers to meet students and go through classes and then have two days to make any last minute changes they feel are necessary. Taking the weekend to regroup allows teachers to work in classrooms or perform alterations to plans after that day without having to try and push through a week before they have any large portion of time to achieve this.

Although the board gave approval for this change through board polling, this change of days must be ratified as other decisions are approved tonight, Thursday, June 23, 2020. Yet, Dr. Downs cautioned the board and citizens saying that even this close to class, new information is still coming in requiring new changes from the state. A new state order could completely change the plans that the school system has made.

RETURNING IN-PERSON

Returning to class in-person will see changes for students as they see separations by glass or Plexiglas in certain areas supporting social distancing, some hallways in schools will be one way traffic and some will only walk on one side of the hallway in a direction, increasing use of hand sanitizer and hand washing, and reducing numbers of students in a room among others.

return

Part of the Boards In-Person plans come from guidelines and plans handed down the Georgia Department of Education.

The school system, currently, will make decisions on closing schools and when that is needed.

As for usage of masks, situations like school buses will not allow for social distancing needs. As such, the current plans are to require masks for students on buses along with assigned seats. They will also strongly recommend mask usage in classes. To that end, the school system will be giving masks to students and they are also planning on obtaining disposal masks for bus drivers to hand out if a student forgets or loses his or her mask.

The board is also installing water bottle fillers in some schools to combat water fountain usage.

To support the health of staff and students as they return, the board has purchased 5,000 masks, ten additional no-touch thermometers in addition to the ones that nurses already have, 250 gallons of hand sanitizer, and other items like bottles, spray bottles, towels, cleaning equipment, disposal gowns, and face shields.

The board also confirmed updates with their janitorial service, ABM, as for cleaning and requirements for the new needs for cleaning.

Board Member Tom Ocobock questioned the school systems response for students in class who may test positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Downs responded saying that they would not be put into the same virtual academy style as those who opt into it. Instead it will be more similar to distance learning they did in the Spring or make-up studies as with normal years dealing with sickness. Additionally, the school will be utilizing online plannings used in Google Classroom allowing a seamless transition to distance learning and then back into class when they are cleared.

In such a case, Dr. Downs assured the board that the systems had methods in place for contact tracing as well should the need arise.

The board also touched on some other ideas that may or may not be utilized such as rotating using the lunchroom for some while others might eat in classrooms.

RETURNING VIRTUALLY

Virtual Academy will be an all new program different from the springs distance learning for students. The new program works through Edgenuity (Grades 6-12) and Odysseyware (Grades K-5). The school system has already began pilots with the program in recent years.

While the program has options for Edgenuity teachers to be used, Mitchell said the Gilmer would use their own Gilmer County Teachers as facilitators for the program and to follow up with students as they guide them along.

return

Details and comparisons between Edgenuity for higher grades and Odysseyware for lower grades was given during the boards July work session.

These facilitators will be able to track student progress and log-ins during the return to class for attendance recording through their Chromebooks as well as viewing students’ notes taken. Additionally, teachers can add, remove, or reorder lessons and features for students as needed.

With Odysseyware, a Teacher Authoring Tool creates lessons, projects, or assessments from scratch and embed media and links within assignments personalizing the lessons as they need.

For those with special needs who return virtually, teachers can adjust grade weights & passing thresholds, read text aloud at different speeds, allow additional attempts on assignments and assessments, adjust the time for assessments, customize course content for remediation, acceleration, and support, and allow students to test out of mastered content.

These options for Virtual Academies are also time flexible as Mitchell said students who may decide or need to get a job can work around the hours and log on at anytime during the day. Dr. Downs said at this time they are considering implementation plans as they might have a teacher teach several lessons in person and then one period of virtual. Additionally, students who fall behind in the Virtual Academy may be asked to return to school in person to recover their grades. Students attending virtual academy will sign contracts to be fully aware of the expectations and responsibilities of the program.

Yet, these plans are still being discussed and should see updates tonight as the board continues weighing options and citizen response. One detail yet unsettled among the board is how to handle students in virtual academy wishing to participate in extracurricular activities. Board Member Ronald Watkins noted his displeasure with everything coming down to last minute decisions, but Dr. Downs explained that they are still getting changes from the Department of Education and are trying to add in final alterations as needed.

Continuing the separation between those attending in-person and those attending online, Dr. Downs said that those opting to go online are not going to get the same experiences as those in class, but the board is attempting to feel its way through the new program accommodating those students whenever and however possible.

For citizens wishing to know more or asking questions, Dr. Downs published a video covering parent concerns as well as the board is now keeping a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet upon their website.

County details cleaning and costs from Restoration 1

News
Cleaning

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County is amidst recovery from contact and exposures of employees to the COVID-19 virus in the courthouse, with cleaning concluded and new people getting tested daily for the issue.

Cleaning

Cut outs from the invoice show totals for the courthouse and road department offices cleaned on July 10, 2020.

New details have come from last Friday’s, July 10, 2020, cleaning of the facility as the invoice from Restoration 1 out of Dawsonville shows.

 

In addition to cleaning the courthouse, the county also cleaned the Road Department office. With both the courthouse and the office together, the cleaning costs totaled $$6,007.81 according to the invoice documents. This came at $5,550.56 for the courthouse facility and $457.25 for the Road Department.

According to the Gilmer County BOC’s Finance Officer, Sandi Holden, payment for the cleaning is coming from the county’s contingency fund, a fund created by the previous commission for, as they said, unseen emergencies.

Additionally, Holden did affirm that the county moved forward with the Road Department in addition to the courthouse as “a spouse of one of the employees tested positive for COVID-19.”

cleaning

Gilmer’s Courthouse went through cleaning and sanitizing for COVID-19 on July 10, 2020.

As Public Health works toward Contact Tracing and local facilities are returning to operations, officials are still seeing spikes and increases in total cases as they sit at 257 cases in Gilmer County today.

Georgia’s Public Health Department in the North Georgia Health District is also increasing responses to the virus as they add a whole new testing day for the county. According to Public Information Officer and Risk Communicator Jennifer King, “we just added a new testing day in Gilmer County to our districtwide COVID-19 test schedule… they will now also test on Wednesdays”

This means testing will occur on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, according to King who added, “Please see these two links on our website where I maintain the latest information about testing: Weekly Schedules  and North Georgia Locations for Free COVID-19 Testing.

Public Health following contact tracing with cases in Gilmer County

News
GIlmer Health Department, Public Health

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Public Health, and specifically the North Georgia Health District, is following with the recent spike in cases in Gilmer County and the citizens who have recently been at risk of exposure and those who have tested positive, including one in the courthouse.

In a recent press release, Jennifer King, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s North Georgia Health District Public Information Officer and Risk Communicator, stated, “Public Health continues to track the virus through contact tracing, which means people who test positive for COVID-19 identify others they may have exposed to the virus so that public health contact tracers can determine if those contacts need to be quarantined and tested.”

order, Public Health

Gilmer County’s Courthouse, left, and Fannin County’s Courthouse, right, are reopening today, July 13, 2020, under an order from Judge Brenda Weaver.

With guidelines in place, the Courthouses of Gilmer and Fannin County are reopening today, but Public Health is continuing to monitor and look for cases of other exposures whether connected to large gathering or simply contact with a loved one or friend who may be positive in Gilmer or surrounding counties.

According to the statement, Gilmer Branch’s County Nurse Manager, Krystal Sumner, said, “Even residents who are asymptomatic can receive the free testing we offer. Knowing who is carrying the virus helps public health get ahead of transmission and prevent the virus from spreading further. By taking this step and the other recommended protective measures, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 together.”

Gilmer has seen reactions and cancellations in the county due to the recent spike in numbers including Graduation and Superior Courts. Others in the county are returning to previously lessened restrictions in meetings and gatherings.

While the statement says that officials are “concerned the main cause could be the attendance of large gatherings in the county,” they do not specifically point to any one gathering. FYN has reached out today to the Department with questions on what causes or sources their contact tracing numbers point to and is currently awaiting a reply.

For more information from the Department of Public Health, see their full press release from the past weekend below:

Ellijay, GA. – COVID-19 cases took a sharp increase in Gilmer County this past week, and public health officials are concerned the main cause could be the attendance of large gatherings in the county. Anyone who recently attended events such as church revivals or other local large gatherings in the county is encouraged to get tested for COVID-19.

Free COVID-19 testing is provided by the Gilmer County Health Department on Mondays and Fridays at the ETC Pavilion in Ellijay. Residents are to call 1-888-881-1474 to register and make an appointment.

On June 11, the total number of positive cases in the county was 166, including one death. Since then, one additional death occurred, and positive cases increased weekly by five to ten until reaching a total of 190 on July 2.

Most concerning, however, was a sudden spike in numbers so that as of July 9, there were 216 positive cases of COVID-19 in Gilmer County, and today, public health is reporting an additional ten cases in the county.

“That is an increase of 36 cases in just over a week,” said Dr. Zachary Taylor, Health Director of North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health, which includes Gilmer County. “Considering the protective measures and proactive precautions against coronavirus that have been readily available and promoted by the CDC and public health, transmission of this virus should be decreasing in our communities, certainly not increasing.”

Health officials strongly urge residents to prevent further spread of the virus by always wearing a mask in public, frequently washing hands or using a hand sanitizer, avoiding large crowds, social distancing away from others by at least six feet, avoiding physical contact when in public by not shaking hands or giving hugs, and staying home and calling a doctor if COVID-19 symptoms appear or if close contact occurred to someone who tested positive for the virus within the past 14 days.

Meanwhile, public health continues to track the virus through contact tracing, which means people who test positive for COVID-19 identify others they may have exposed to the virus so that public health contact tracers can determine if those contacts need to be quarantined and tested.

Additionally, the Gilmer County Health Department is collaborating with the Gilmer County Public Safety and Emergency Management Agency, Gilmer County Family Connections, Gilmer County Schools and several local churches, businesses, and other community partners to educate residents on how to take protective measures against COVID-19. They have utilized several methods and venues to share bilingual materials with the public and have even provided free face masks.

County nurse manager, Krystal Sumner, said, “Even residents who are asymptomatic can receive the free testing we offer. Knowing who is carrying the virus helps public health get ahead of transmission and prevent the virus from spreading further. By taking this step and the other recommended protective measures, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 together.”

Learn more about free COVID-19 testing in North Georgia and the latest updates on how to stop the spread at bit.ly/COVID19-Updates-NorthGA.

Gilmer and Fannin Courthouses reopening today

News
reopening

UPDATE – Gilmer Traffic Courts cancelled as office operates without Judge

While Gilmer’s Probate Office has reopened without its Judge, many operations are continuing as normal through the clerks and under guidance of the Chief Clerk Tracey Teague. Almost every operation in the courthouse is continuing back on track according to Teague who stated that the office is cancelling this week’s traffic court.

As Chief Clerk, Teague is trained and able to fill in on many operations that would normally require Judge Chastain this week, however, this time as she “fills in” for the Judge does not extend to the court system. Despite that, she did affirm that any permits or applications that citizens may need from the office can be done as usual in this time.

 

Original Post

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer and Fannin Counties will both have their courthouses reopening today after an order from Chief Judge Brenda Weaver.

Judicial Order, Brenda Weaver, Chief Judge, Judge, reopening

Superior Court Chief Judge Brenda Weaver

The order came over the weekend acknowledging the cleanings and steps taken against the virus spread. With those cleanings done and employees continuing to remain quarantined, the offices are set to resume normal functions today, July 13, 2020.

The order states, “Having found that the deep cleanings have occurred and that the employees have been tested and are quarantining according to Department of Health Guidelines, it is hereby ordered that the Fannin Courthouse and the Gilmer Courthouse will re-open all offices and proceed with regular business hours beginning Monday, July 13, 2020.”

In addition, the Probate Office of Gilmer County has also confirmed that it, too, will be reopening to resume normal operations. Probate Judge Scott Chastain was one of those in the courthouse with exposures and he also followed guidelines reporting a positive test.

The county has been taking steps to increase safety and social distancing in the offices as some are asking people to only allow a certain number of citizens in offices at a time. Restrictions like these are likely to continue as they return to operations.

Despite the return to operations, however, there are continuing cancellations and reschedulings going on. Just as last week in Gilmer County, while the courthouse is open, some offices may stay closed. Additionally, these individual offices are releasing notices such as the District Attorney’s office. The Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office released a statement notifying citizens of cancellations of Superior Court this week.

They said, “Due to the potential infection and continued transmission of the Coronavirus/COVID-19, court cancellations are as follows:

1. Gilmer Superior Court on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 – Civil and Criminal NJ; and

2. Fannin Superior Court on Thursday, July 16, 2020 – Civil and Criminal NJ.

Fannin County is also confirming the reopening of the courthouse, but is urging citizens to contact individual offices and departments for “access protocols.”

As both entities attempt to return to operations, Public Health officials are also paying closer attention to the area. Spikes and increases are causing for many to urge testing for citizens who may think they have been exposed.

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