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3/19/2020 10:11:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
County board stops short of declaring emergency
In a March 18 meeting
LAWRENCEVILLE - The Lawrence County Board put off declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic during the March 18 regular monthly meeting, but could approve the measure at a moment's notice.

Amy Marley, Lawrence County Health Department administrator, told the board that the measure didn't have to be taken immediately. However, she said, declaring the state of emergency would likely help Lawrence County procure funding, should the situation become dire.

"We don't have to do it right now," said Marley, who attended the meeting with Lawrence County E-911 director Janelle Adams. "We can wait until a positive case comes, and then we have to move into a different mode."

Marley said that as of Wednesday afternoon, there had been no positive tests for the virus within Lawrence County. She noted, though, that only a handful of people - perhaps less than 10 - had even been tested.

"With the limited testing that we have, more than likely, we have it in the county," she said. "We just don't have the ability to test for it right now."

Marley noted that in the afternoon of March 18 her department was notified by state officials that restrictions on those who could be tested were tightened. When that happened, she said, she was only allowed to test patients who had been hospitalized or were in congregate settings.

"The possibility of us testing is getting slimmer and slimmer," she said.

In addition, the turn-around time for getting tests returned is becoming longer.

"When we first started, if I put it through a state lab I could get it back in 24 hours," she said. "If I pushed it through a commercial lab it was three or four days. I'm now up to a six-to-eight day window."

In a related move, the county board approved a measure to restrict access to the Lawrence County Courthouse.

According to Lawrence County Sheriff Russell Adams, only the north emergency entrance to the building will now be open. Upon arrival, visitors will undergo screening, including having their temperature taken by a deputy. At that point, whoever they wish to visit will be contacted.

In other business:

• The board approved the $400 annual fee for the Lawrenceville Rotary Club to place 20 flags around the courthouse on holidays.

• The board approved spending $544,393 on a bridge project over Indian Creek. Allendale Gravel was awarded the bid.

• Rob Andrews was appointed to a three-year term on the Christy Fire Protection District, starting May 1.

• The courthouse will be closed on April 10, to observe Good Friday.

• The next meeting of the Lawrence County Board is scheduled for 4 p.m., April 15.



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