Spring brings badly needed return to normalcy
One year ago, we were in the middle of a two-week state-mandated Stay at Home order required to “flatten the curve” and preserve our finite medical capacity. The day before the Governor’s Stay at Home order, the Board of County Commissioners issued our first message related to COVID-19. In this message, we identified the first and foremost role of government as safeguarding our citizens’ rights. We highlighted our trust that Elbert County residents would make good decisions for themselves, their families and their neighbors. We then turned our focus to ensuring that critical functions of government continued.
We would like to thank you all for working together as our communities weathered the storm of COVID. Our numbers show just how successful our county has been. On a per-capita basis, Elbert County’s total number of cases is one-third lower than the state average. Our hospitalization numbers were 20% lower, our deaths are nearly 60% lower, and our number of identified outbreaks is only 15% of the state average. These numbers are clear evidence that our trust in our citizens has been well-founded.
During this past year, almost all county services remained largely available. We halted the rental of fairgrounds buildings and reserved campground spaces for critical workers temporarily working in the area for a brief period. Having the only drive-through DMV in the state allowed us to continue all Clerk & Recorder and Treasurer Office services unabated. Our county administrative offices remained opened and staffed throughout, though, for some time, services were available only by appointment - nothing stopped. This was not the case in many counties and state offices. Many of which still are operating remotely with doors locked and no face-to-face contacts. Our staff should be rightfully proud of the success of their efforts to continue to serve you.
So what lies ahead? It has been announced that on Apr 16th, the state orders will expire and counties will be able to choose their own path forward. We will choose to continue to follow the state “Dial” restrictions regarding personal and business activities or chart our own course. As your Commissioners, that is a simple decision. Elbert County will follow its own path - the path that has brought us through this trying year with numbers much better than the state averages. We aim to return to normalcy and work to ensure that our citizens never again have to suffer the arguably unnecessary restrictions on freedoms this past year has brought. We trust each of you and recognize the role of government is to serve, not dictate.