Greene County Commission and affiliated county agencies declare Coronavirus Emergency

Shown L to R: Commissioner Tennyson Smith, Iris Sermon of E911, Commissioner Lester Brown, Lorenzo French of Eutaw Housing Authority, Commissioner Allen Turner, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, Dr. Marcia Pugh of Greene County Health Services, Commissioner Roshanda Summerville, Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele, LaTasha Johnson and Joe Lee Powell of the Eutaw City Council, Commissioner Corey Cockrell and Anita Lewis of the Housing Authority of Greene County.

The Greene County Commission held an emergency meeting last night at the William M. Branch Courthouse to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Greene County. The Commission was concerned to bring its response to the virus in compliance with Federal and state directives to manage the crisis.
The Commission heard reports from county agencies and related county services on their responses to the pandemic.
At the end of the meeting, the County Commission approved a resolution giving Allen Turner, Chairperson of the Commission, discretionary authority to close or reduce the services and hours of service of County facilities and staff for the period from March 19 to April 19, 2020.
Brenda Burke, County Administrator, announced that the Greene County Courthouse would be closed this week on Thursday and Friday (March 19 and 20, 2020) for deep cleaning. She also said all court activities, license tag renewals; driver’s license tests would be suspended until April 16, 2020, with no late fees or penalties.
She indicated that the Greene County Courthouse would reopen next week for critical business but urged residents to postpone routine business until the emergency subsidizes and conduct business by phone or email in the interim period.
“We may have to open only for limited hours and stop people at the front door to be sure that they need to come through the building,” said Commissioner Turner.
They indicated that the offices in the Courthouse would be open and have staff to respond to problems and concerns. Prior to this morning’s announcement that the Republican Primary Runoff is postponed from March 31 to July 14, Turner said the Circuit Clerk would check the mail daily for absentee ballots and other correspondence relative to the election.
Superintendent Corey Jones of the Greene County Board of Education said the schools were out this week for Spring Break and that the Governor had closed the schools through April 6. “There is a strong possibility that the schools may be closed for the rest of the semester,” said Jones.
The Superintendent indicated that the teachers were preparing lessons and educational materials for the students to work on while they were at home. He also said that the Board of Education had received a waiver from the Federal government to continue to provide school breakfasts and lunches to the students. “We are working on a plan to provide nutritious food for our children, starting next week. This will include delivery of meals to selected sites around the county where it will be easier to distribute the food or have families to pick up the food from community centers, fire stations and other locations,” said Jones.
Dr. Marcia Pugh, Administrator of the Greene County Health System said the county’s critical health facilities would remain open. “We are restricting entrance to the facility to the front door, where we have a temperature check and a short survey of health symptoms to make sure that people who may have the coronavirus are not allowed access to our other patients and nursing home residents. We are not allowing visitors into the Nursing Home as a protection for the residents, however we have cell phones available for virtual ‘face-time’ visits, said Dr. Pugh.
Dr. Pugh also indicated that if you have ‘flu-like symptoms’ call ahead to make an appointment at the Greene County Physicians Clinic. “We can refer you for testing to the drive through testing at DCH in Tuscaloosa or Bryan-Whitfield Hospital in Demopolis, to help you,” she said.
Mayor Raymond Steele said the City Hall would be open to provide essential services to the city residents. “We closed the Carver School Gym and programs, use of the National Guard Armory but City Hall will be open and our staff will be ready to main the water, sewer and other essential services,” said Steele.
Iris Sermon with Greene County 911 urged people not to panic and work on maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet from other people to prevent spreading the virus. She also gave a toll free phone number: 1-888-264-2256, to get information on testing and testing sites.
Anita Lewis, Director of the Greene County Housing Authority, said she was keeping her office open to serve the residents of Branch Heights and King Village. “My greatest concern is for the welfare of the 344 children who live in these housing developments, making sure they are safe, getting nutritious food and engaging in meaningful learning activities, without congregating in large groups to fuel spreading the virus.
Lorenzo French, Chair of the Board of the City of Eutaw Housing Authority asked for help in securing hand sanitizer, wipes and other necessary supplies for residents.
Attending this meeting it was clear that although there are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Greene County and 39 confirmed cases statewide that this is a growing problem that Greene County residents must be aware of and make plans to combat.