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The original item was published from 3/13/2020 11:15:00 AM to 3/13/2020 11:43:58 AM.

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Posted on: March 13, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Updates from EMA and City of Athens regarding COVID-19

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March 13, 2020, EMA press briefing with local officials

On March 13, EMA held a media briefing for entities in Athens and Limestone County to share information about guidelines they are following related to Coronavirus 2019 as well as the flu. Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Limestone County Commission, Athens City Schools, Limestone County Schools, Athens State University, Athens-Limestone Hospital and EMA spoke.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks and Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly have signed EMA’s Limestone County Pandemic Standard Operating Guide, which provides protocols for the entities will utilize. A copy is available online at

City of Athens Statement for Limestone County Pandemic Response Media Briefing at Limestone County EMA on March 13, 2020

From Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks

City of Athens and Limestone County officials have been meeting with our local EMA to stay abreast of concerns related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 as well as various strains of the flu. Our objective is to be prepared and to collectively provide accurate information. Our local EMA is in constant contact with the Department of Public Health, and the City of Athens will share information as EMA provides it.

In addition, I am meeting with City departments heads and cleaning staff to share information EMA provided us from the Department of Public Health related to:
• Best practices for prevention.
• Awareness of symptoms.
• Overview of our Limestone County Pandemic Response Standard Operating Guide.

As a precaution, Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson has already instructed his dispatchers to ask callers questions in order to maintain the health and safety of our officers. If you call police dispatch, you may be asked if you have or recently had a fever, if you have traveled outside of the United States, if you have been diagnosed with an illness such as the flu or if you have been in contact with someone who has the Coronavirus 2019. This information will help our officers prepare accordingly to limit exposure. Chief Johnson said this will not delay response to calls.

The City will continue to work with EMA and its local Task Force to provide updates as needed.

In addition, as president of the Alabama League of Municipalities, I have been asked to serve on Gov. Kay Ivey’s Task Force regarding protective measures and will take part in a weekly briefing, or more if needed. That will begin Monday morning, March 16.

Information from other entities present at the March 13 briefing

David Pryor said the hospital is taking precautions such as limiting visitor visits with patients, suspending job shadowing and suspending visits from medial sales reps as well as other precautions.

Athens Supt. Trey Holladay said he he has gone over the system’s plan with teachers, and Athens has the capability through its one-on-one system to provide education should schools close or if a student cannot attend.

Athens State will have spring break next week, and Mike McCoy said the university is constantly monitoring the situation.

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