Coronavirus impacts Greene County

As of press time on Wednesday morning, Alabama was reporting 283 cases, with Jefferson County leading the state with 99 cases. No deaths are reported yet in Alabama.
The virus is now infecting people in 28 of Alabama’s 67 counties. Interestingly, there are no confirmed cases reported yet in Greene County and in 11 of the 12 rural counties of the Alabama ‘Black Belt’, Pickens County reported its first case this morning. This may be because it is very difficult to get a test to confirm the virus.
The coronavirus is most prevalent in urban communities of the state like Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Mobile. There is no guarantee that it has not already or will not spread to rural areas and communities around the state.
New protocols require that testing be restricted to those with virus symptoms, referred by a doctor, heath care workers who may have been exposed, the elderly, living in nursing homes and others who can prove exposure to someone with the coronavirus.
The coronavirus led to the closing of the four operating electronic bingo establishments in Greene County on March 16, 2020 because attendance in these places exceeded the state’s health department rules for safety and distance.
Luther Winn, CEO of Greenetrack said, “We are following state health department guidance and will not reopen bingo or simulcasting until we are allowed. We have paid our staff last week and this week. We hope the Congressional stimulus package or unemployment will help us in the coming period.”
Asked if electronic bingo will pay monthly fees to charities, county and municipal agencies, the hospital and school board, Winn said, “the revenues are not available to continue these fee payments, until we can re-open. All resources are going to employees and continued security.”
In speaking with representatives of the charities at other bingo establishments, they said they agreed with Winn’s assessment and statements. They said once bingo reopens there may be a way to help restore the lost funds, from the per machine assessments, over time.
The City of Eutaw has closed the Carver School and Community Center and the National Guard Armory to all community activities. City Hall is operating with a reduced staff. The regular City Council meeting held on the fourth Tuesday of the month has been cancelled.
Mayor Raymond Steele said, “The City employees are continuing to work to assure basic water, sewer and street repair services to the residents. We have been continuing to improve our water services and get our meters and billing system updated. We are working with people who received very high bills to find leaks and negotiate suitable payment plans. Residents with problems should bring them to the attention of the Mayor and water department.”
Many small businesses have closed or reduced hours and those businesses like fast food, the drug store and banks that have drive-through windows are using them in preference to allowing people into stores.
The Greene County Health System including the Hospital, Nursing Home and Physicians Clinic are still open. The staff is taking temperatures and administering a survey to all who come. No visitors are allowed in the Nursing Home to protect residents although cell phones have been provided for voice and ‘facetime’ visits with residents. If you are sick and showing symptoms of the virus, you are asked to call ahead to make an appointment with the medical staff at the Greene County Physicians Clinic, so the proper precautions can be taken to protect staff and other patients.