//3/18 Valdosta-Lowndes COVID-19 Update

3/18 Valdosta-Lowndes COVID-19 Update

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Valdosta-Lowndes County, Ga. – City of Valdosta and Lowndes County officials are actively monitoring the COVID -19 pandemic, working closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health South Health District and other agencies.

The City of Valdosta and Lowndes County are taking action steps to upgrade our protocols to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. First, we continue to ask that city residents avoid coming to city buildings for non-essential reasons. This would include in-person meetings, paying bills, and general inquires. Bills can be paid online via the city website.  While all Lowndes County offices also remain open, citizens are encouraged to call offices to see if business can be handled by phone, prior to conducting business in person.

The City of Valdosta has chosen to cancel several upcoming City-hosted public events due to the threat of COVID19. The Municipal Court will also be closed for the next thirty days. Court staff will be available by phone and email to answer any questions from the community.

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, All Mathis City Auditorium events will be postponed for at least 30 days. Renters should contact the facility staff at (229) 333-1816, for more information.

The Southern Judicial Circuit, which includes Lowndes County, has suspended jury trials and gathering of the grand jury.  Any other court functions should be considered business as usual. Those with court related responsibilities are expected to appear unless otherwise notified by a proper authority.  Those supervised by Lowndes County Probation should contact their probation officer for approval to report by phone.  DUI Court participants and those supervised through ankle monitoring are still required to report in person.

Lowndes County has suspended rentals of the 4-H Camp in Lake Park and the Lowndes County Civic Center, located on Highway 84 East.  Renters should contact Lowndes County Public Works at 229-671-2700, for more information.

If you, or someone you know, has COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider for direction on what to do next. This will prevent those who have the virus from walking into a crowded doctor’s office or emergency room and infect the patients, doctors, nurses, and staff. 

The City Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Fire/EMS Department, and vital Public Works and Utilities staff will continue to operate as normal. If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.  Do not call 911 with questions related to COVID-19.  Governor Kemp has requested assistance in advertising a state-wide hotline (1-844-442-2681), for those seeking more information.  Call your health care provider FIRST if you have any concerns over your health and possible exposure to COVID-19. We ask that residents please be aware that this situation is developing rapidly. Lowndes County, City of Valdosta, and Public Safety personnel will continue to monitor this situation closely and provide updates if anything changes.  For up to date information regarding health and safety protocols, please visit www.southhealthdistrict.com.

“Please help us by sharing information only from trusted sources such as the Georgia Department of Public Health South Health District, Local Governments, CDC, and World Health Organization. The Coronavirus has been in the news a lot and we want to keep everyone informed on the latest developments and facts,” said Mayor Scott James Matheson.

“We are constantly getting questions from our citizens asking how they can help. As a community we must work together to take preventive steps identified by the CDC,” said County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter. “During this time it is also crucial to remember to keep supporting our local small businesses. Our local industries, businesses, retailers, restaurants, etc. need our support now more than ever.”

We encourage residents to take the following preventative measures to keep you and others safe and healthy:

• Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.

• Frequently wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.

• Refrain from shaking hands or hugging.

• Use hand sanitizer regularly, after shaking hands or touching surfaces, when hand washing is not available.

• Keep hands away from face – In particular, refrain from touching eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue to cough or sneeze, and discard it in a lined trash can.

• Wipe/disinfect surfaces – door knobs, hand rails, doors, sinks, desk tops, steering wheels, phones, keyboards, tablets, etc.

• Practice “social distancing”