Keith Sanders said the city of Sandy Springs is doing what it can to prepare for the coronavirus, especially since it has infected two Fulton County residents.
“We are using every best practice that is being utilized across the nation with this concern,” its fire chief said. “We feel like we have the adequate resources in place. …
“We’re working hand in hand with the city manager (Andrea Surratt) and have meetings throughout the week with department heads ensuring we have sufficient operations in place to make sure we have continuity of operations as we continue to go down this road.”
Sanders and Mayor Rusty Paul talked about the city’s preparedness for the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of 3,131 individuals and sickened 92,312 worldwide, according to livescience.com.
While most of the cases have occurred in China and other parts of Asia, a growing concern is the number of U.S. residents infected with the coronavirus, including 10 individuals who died in Washington state and Georgia’s first set of individuals who have been infected.
A Fulton 56-year-old father and 15-year-old son, who is homeschooled, contracted it after the father traveled to Italy. Both are confined to their home until they are cured of the virus.
Sanders said the city has had daily meetings or calls with the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency’s director and a doctor who serves as Sandy Springs’ medical advisor.
“We are using every best practice that is being utilized across the nation with this concern,” he said. “We feel like we have the adequate resources in place. … We’re working hand in hand with the city manager and have meetings throughout the week with department heads ensuring we have sufficient operations in place to make sure we have continuity of operations as we continue to go down this road.”
Sanders said his department also has a conference call each Friday with Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and a former Fulton health director, plus the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal officials.
“We’ll monitor as we go,” he said. “We feel comfortable with what we’re doing and will expand as we need to expand the resources.”
Paul said the city is “on top of it.”
“I had the opportunity to be on the radio with the governor (Brian Kemp) when he was addressing what the state’s doing and had a brief Q&A with him,” he said. “We’re very fortunate the state’s providing resources. … Then, obviously, the fact that we have the (CDC) is located here in the metro area gives us a lot of resources. We’re doing what we can to put protocols in place. … But it is serious. There are still a lot of unknowns with this disease. We need to do everything we can to manage ourselves through it.”
“… We are putting a lot of info out on our website and through social media. … We’ll let you know what we know when we know it.”
Other local municipalities are preparing for possibly more metro Atlantans getting infected and what to do to avoid it.
According to a news release, Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore has asked the council staff director and municipal clerk to “develop standard operating procedures in response to potential procedural disruptions that could occur as result of the virus and other emergency incidences.” She did so both in speaking to the committee on council at its March 2 meeting and in a letter distributed to council members at their regular meeting later that day.
Those procedures include remote meetings, including public comments and voting on legislation; telecommuting for council staff; notice of regular and special called meetings, work sessions and public hearings and a communications strategy for staff and the public when it comes to off-site procedures.
Moore said she wants the council to remain “active and accessible” despite the city’s concerns over the virus.