Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information from the CDC on Preventing the Transmission of COVID-19

Visit the CDC webpage "How to Protect Yourself and Others" to find out what steps you can take to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. 

CDC recommendations include:

  • Washing hands often
  • Avoiding close contact/social distancing
  • Wearing a cloth face cover in public
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces


Click Button Below for Info on Reporting Businesses Violating COVID-19 Regulations

Link to Info on Reporting Businesses Violating COVID-19 Regulations

Oconee County Parks & Recreation Phase II Re-Opening Begins June 1


OCPRD Phase II Reopening Regulations


The Oconee County Parks & Recreation Department will begin Phase II of its re-opening on Monday, June 1.

All park patrons must comply with social distancing requirements, max gathering limits and other COVID-19 best practices. 

Phase II – June 1 

  • Walking paths, trails and dog park remain open.
  • All indoor park facilities, to include gymnasiums, fitness center, indoor track, restrooms and meeting rooms remain closed.
  • Playgrounds remain closed to the public.
  • Outdoor athletic facilities open for recreational use; open for instruction and organized practices; no game activity permitted. Must follow reservation and payment policies.
  • HCM Disc Golf course open.
  • Outdoor picnic pavilion open.
  • Outdoor park facilities open daily until sunset.
  • No rentals, events or programs for groups over 25.
  • Social distancing requirements must be met and no gatherings over 25.

 All reopening plans and dates are subject to change pending patron compliance and any new established guidelines.



COVID-19 Safety Protocols in Oconee County Government Facilities

Infographic on Enhanced Safety Protocols for COVID-19

Oconee County COVID-19 Update May 27

On May 27, Chairman John Daniell participated in a conference call with area healthcare providers and hospitals. Below is a joint statement that was issued following the conference call:

This afternoon, we held another conference call with our two local hospitals and other local healthcare providers and want to share the latest updates in the fight against COVID-19.

As has been reported on social media over the last couple of days, there has been a slight uptick locally of in-patient positive COVID-19 cases - which can be largely attributed to nursing homes and transfers from other facilities. Other providers have not seen significant differences in their numbers. For the latest number of cases and deaths by county, please visit dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report.

This information serves as another reminder that we must be especially careful and take extra precautions with our most vulnerable populations. The state is actively assisting nursing home facilities through the National Guard, Department of Public Health and all other available resources.

In order to help protect those most vulnerable, we must continue to be smart - wash our hands, social distance, wear a mask when unable to social distance and disinfect commonly used surfaces and areas.

Please know that our hospitals and healthcare facilities are safe to visit to take care of other medical conditions. It’s critical that individuals feel comfortable seeing their healthcare providers - which are taking all precautions to ensure a safe environment for everyone.

As a reminder, testing remains available to anyone regardless of symptoms. To schedule a test, please call the Northeast Health District’s hotline at 706-340-0996. The UGA/AU Mobile Clinic continues to do great work, having tested hundreds of individuals covering areas of the community where there are potential cases - particularly in underserved communities. The Mobile Clinic hotline is 706-308-4092.

We continue to remain in regular communication with each other and our healthcare providers and stand ready to assist in anyway as we continue to move forward as a community.

Mayor Kelly Girtz
Mayor Dodd Ferrelle
Chairman John Daniell
Senator Bill Cowsert
Senator Frank Ginn
Representative Spencer Frye
Representative Houston Gaines
Representative Marcus Wiedower



05/13/20 Enhanced Safety Protocols in Effect at Oconee County Courthouse and Annex for May 14 Re-opening

Temperature checks required, masks encouraged

Oconee County Government offices in the Oconee County Courthouse and Government Annex will re-open to the public in a limited capacity on Thursday, May 14. In order to maintain a safe environment that will limit the potential for transmission of COVID-19 for both visitors and employees, the following measures will be taken:

  • Buildings will open to the public at 8:30 a.m. daily
  • All Courthouse visitors will be scanned with a thermometer and will not be allowed entry if they have a fever
  • All visitors are strongly urged to wear masks
  • A limited number of visitors to the Tax Commissioner’s Office and the Office of the Clerk of Courts will be allowed at one time; individuals may be required to wait outside until room is available
  • Staff members will provide directions to visitors before they enter the courthouse
  • Six feet of separation between individuals will be required inside buildings with several areas taped to indicate appropriate standing locations
  • Expect delays in entering the buildings due to these enhanced safety protocols
  • We request your patience as we work to protect the public and staff
  • We strongly suggest continuing to conduct all county business online or by mail or telephone

Visitors to the courthouse and annex are advised to call ahead to the department or office they will be visiting as some services may require appointments and service hours and procedures may have changed for some offices. Department phone numbers may be found online here: https://www.oconeecounty.com/DocumentCenter/View/4121/Department--Phone-Numbers?bidId.

Tax Commissioner’s Office

The Tax Commissioner’s Office will open on May 14 with limited access, and longer wait times are anticipated. For the protections of visitors and staff, the following additional protocols will be in place:

  • Only the person(s) conducting business should enter the building - please plan accordingly.
  • In-person customer service hours will be approximately as follows:
    • Morning 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
    • Afternoon 2:45 p.m. until 4:15 p.m.
    • Closed daily for lunch from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    • For service before lunch time, please arrive before 12:30 p.m.
  • If you are processing tag renewals only, please consider using the drop box, renewing online, or mailing your renewal. Once processed, your decals will be mailed to you. Please include a phone number with your renewal.
  • The Tax Commissioner’s Office is also able to process handicap placards by drop box and mail

Board of Elections

The Board of Elections office remains closed to the public until Monday, May 18. A dropbox has been placed in front of the Elections office to drop off absentee ballots.

Water Resources

The Oconee County Water Resources office will re-open to the public on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

  • Customers are encouraged to continue to use the dropbox provided at the front of the annex building (checked several times per day) or any of the other methods of remote payment when possible
  • Customers who choose to pay in person will form a line in the building foyer; only one customer at a time may enter the office for payments

Residential Service Applications and Final Service Forms
The Water Resources Department continues to offer these services online. Applications and Final Service forms are available at https://www.oconeecounty.com/492/Forms. Once the form is completed and submitted, the customer will receive two emails. The first email is a confirmation that the application submitted successfully. The second email is from the CSR staff with further instructions. For customers who choose to fill out applications and final service forms at our office, there is a table set up in our lobby.

Oconee County Parks & Recreations (OCPRD) - Phased Reopening of County Park Facilities

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, OCPRD walking paths/trails and dog park have remained open for citizens complying with social distancing guidelines. Park facilities that were closed include the community center, soccer/softball/baseball fields, basketball/tennis/volleyball courts, and disc golf course.

Oconee County Parks and Recreation will begin a phased in approach in re-opening park facilities with the first phase beginning Thursday, May 14. The county will continue monitoring health guidelines and park usage to determine implementation of the second phase of reopening.

All park patrons must comply with social distancing requirements, max gathering limits, and other COVID-19 best practices.

Phase I – May 14

  • Walking paths, trails, and dog park will remain open
  • All indoor park facilities, including gymnasiums, fitness center, indoor track, restrooms, and meeting rooms will remain closed
  • Playgrounds will remain closed to the public
  • Outdoor athletic facilities will be open for recreational use; however, no organized activity or instruction will be permitted
  • HCM Disc Golf course will reopen
  • Outdoor picnic pavilion use will be allowed in accordance with guidelines
  • Outdoor park facilities will be open daily until sunset
  • No rentals, events, or programs for groups of 10 or more will be allowed
  • Social distancing requirements must be met and no gatherings of 10 or more will be allowed

All Parks & Recreation reopening plans and dates are subject to change pending patron compliance and any new established guidelines.

For more information and updates about Oconee County Government, visit www.oconeecounty.com.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update May 11

On Saturday, May 9, Chairman John Daniell participated in a conference call with area healthcare providers and hospitals. Below is a joint statement that was issued following the conference call on May 9:

We’ve just completed another conference call update with our local hospitals, healthcare providers and the Department of Public Health and want to share with the community the latest information.

Our area remains in a very strong position with a relatively low number of positive cases and continued decreasing hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients. Overall, our providers report good news in our fight against COVID-19.

The most significant news came from the Department of Public Health as now all individuals - regardless of symptoms - are eligible for testing. Individuals can call their primary care doctor for referral or testing or can call the Northeast Health District’s hotline at 706-340-0996. Other options include local urgent care centers or the Augusta University’s Express Care for a virtual screening: augustaexpresscare.org.

Additionally, the Department of Public Health reported that it is fully caught up on contact tracing work for individuals who have tested positive in our health district. As testing continues to ramp up, it’s likely we will see more moderate and asymptomatic cases - which will result in more contact tracing, so they are ramping up contact tracers here and across the state. Cooperation is key - it’s critical that individuals who are contacted by the Dept. of Public Health follow the guidance given whether to isolate or quarantine or otherwise.

Our hospitals and providers are beginning to ramp up surgeries and other non-COVID activity. It’s important that the community know the hospitals are taking all steps to keep these spaces safe, and individuals should feel comfortable addressing other medical conditions.

While our area remains in a good position, there are areas of the state that have seen a spike - such as Gainesville. This serves as a reminder that we must continue to be smart: wash our hands, social distance, wear a mask when unable to social distance and disinfect commonly used surfaces and areas.

Mayor Kelly Girtz
Mayor Dodd Ferrelle
Chairman John Daniell
Senator Bill Cowsert
Senator Frank Ginn
Representative Spencer Frye
Representative Houston Gaines
Representative Marcus Wiedower

As a reminder, Oconee County Government offices in the Oconee County Courthouse and Government Annex will re-open to the public in a limited capacity on Thursday, May 14. In order to maintain a safe environment that will limit the potential for transmission of COVID-19 for both visitors and employees, the following measures will be taken:

-Visitors with a fever will not be allowed to enter the courthouse or annex
-A limited number of people will be allowed in the courthouse and annex at a time; tape markers will be affixed at various places indicating where people may wait
-Six feet of separation between individuals will be required inside buildings
-Frontline county employees will wear masks
-Visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks
-Everyone is strongly encouraged to utilize online, email, and phone options to do business with the county
-The Board of Elections Office remains closed to the public at this time; a dropbox has been placed in front of the office to drop off ballots

For full details and updates on the Tax Commissioner’s Office and Parks & Recreation, please visit: https://www.oconeecounty.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=814.

05/08/20 Oconee County Courthouse and Annex to Re-open in Limited Capacity Beginning May 14

Social distancing requirements will be in effect

Oconee County Government offices in the Oconee County Courthouse and Government Annex will re-open to the public in a limited capacity on Thursday, May 14. In order to maintain a safe environment that will limit the potential for transmission of COVID-19 for both visitors and employees, the following measures will be taken:

  • Visitors with a fever will not be allowed to enter the courthouse or annex
  • A limited number of people will be allowed in the courthouse and annex at a time; tape markers will be affixed at various places indicating where people may wait
  • Six feet of separation between individuals will be required inside buildings
  • Frontline county employees will wear masks
  • Visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks
  • Everyone is strongly encouraged to utilize online, email, and phone options to do business with the county
  • The Board of Elections Office remains closed to the public at this time; a dropbox has been placed in front of the office to drop off ballots

Visitors to the courthouse and annex are advised to call ahead to the department or office they will be visiting as some services may require appointments and service hours and procedures may have changed for some offices. Department phone numbers may be found online here: https://www.oconeecounty.com/DocumentCenter/View/4121/Department--Phone-Numbers?bidId.

Tax Commissioner’s Office

The Tax Commissioner’s Office will open on May 14 with limited access - longer wait times are anticipated. For the protection of visitors and staff, the following additional protocols will be in place:

  • Only the person(s) conducting business should enter the building - please plan accordingly.
  • In-person customer service hours will be approximately as follows:
    • Morning 8:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.
    • Afternoon 2:45 p.m. until 4:15 p.m.
    • Closed daily for lunch from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • If you are processing tag renewals only, please consider using the drop box, renewing online, or mailing your renewal. Once processed, your decals will be mailed to you. Please include a phone number with your renewal.
  • The Tax Commissioner’s Office is also able to process handicap placards by drop box and mail

Oconee County Parks & Recreations (OCPRD) - Phased Reopening of County Park Facilities

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, OCPRD walking paths/trails and dog park have remained open for citizens complying with social distancing guidelines. Park facilities that were closed include the community center, soccer/softball/baseball fields, basketball/tennis/volleyball courts, and disc golf course.

Oconee County Parks and Recreation will begin a phased in approach in re-opening park facilities with the first phase beginning Thursday, May 14. The county will continue monitoring health guidelines and park usage to determine implementation of the second phase of reopening.

All park patrons must comply with social distancing requirements, max gathering limits, and other COVID-19 best practices.

Phase I – May 14

  • Walking paths, trails, and dog park will remain open
  • All indoor park facilities, including gymnasiums, fitness center, indoor track, restrooms, and meeting rooms will remain closed
  • Playgrounds will remain closed to the public
  • Outdoor athletic facilities will be open for recreational use; however, no organized activity or instruction will be permitted
  • HCM Disc Golf course will reopen
  • Outdoor picnic pavilion use will be allowed in accordance with guidelines
  • Outdoor park facilities will be open daily until sunset
  • No rentals, events, or programs for groups of 10 or more will be allowed
  • Social distancing requirements must be met and no gatherings of 10 or more will be allowed

All Parks & Recreation re-opening plans and dates are subject to change pending patron compliance and any new established guidelines.

For more information and updates about Oconee County Government, visit www.oconeecounty.com.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update May 6

The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9 hospitalizations in Oconee County as of 11:25 a.m. on May 6. Please continue to follow social distancing protocols and recommendations from the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Oconee County Government currently plans to allow limited public access to Courthouse and Annex functions by Thursday, May 14. All visitors are highly encouraged to wear masks and distancing requirements will be utilized within the buildings. This process will be phased in and is subject to change based on conditions, including emerging data and medical recommendations. Please continue to check our website www.oconeecounty.com and social media channels for updates. As a reminder, residents may continue to conduct most county business by phone, website, and email.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update May 4

The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 65 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9 hospitalizations in Oconee County as of 11:25 a.m. on May 4. Please continue to follow social distancing protocols and recommendations from the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, Governor Kemp and Dr. Toomey from the Georgia Department of Public Health are urging Georgians to wear cloth face coverings in public settings where practicing social distancing may be difficult in order to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Read the news release from Governor Kemp’s office here: https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2020-05-01/gov-kemp-dr-toomey-urge-georgians-wear-face-coverings-fight-covid-19.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update May 1

The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9 hospitalizations in Oconee County as of 10:25 a.m. on May 1. Please continue to follow social distancing protocols and recommendations from the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Kemp has extended the state of emergency for Georgia through June 12. Though the statewide shelter-in-place order expired last night at midnight, Governor Kemp urges individuals to continue to stay at home whenever possible. In addition, certain groups are required to continue to shelter in place through June 12. These groups include:

  • People aged 65 or over
  • People in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, community living arrangements, etc.
  • People with chronic lung disease
  • People with moderate to severe asthma (individuals who experience symptoms at least daily, wake up at least one night per week from symptoms, use short-acting beta agonist for symptom control, have some limitation on normal activity)
  • People with severe heart disease
  • People who are immunocompromised
  • People with class III (BMI 40 or over) or severe obesity (over 100 pounds past healthy body weight)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with liver disease
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

The news release from the Governor’s Office and full details, including guidance for businesses, may be found here https://madmimi.com/p/2327a01?pact=835347-158113064-11554464723-3098661f8e8310162588201780d9e5a11a48e32b&plusone_share=true.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 29

Thank you for continuing to follow social distancing guidelines in order to protect our entire community. The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7 hospitalizations in Oconee County as of 10:25 a.m. on April 29.

Northeast Health District COVID-19 Screening Hotline

The Northeast Health District COVID-19 Screening Hotline is 706-340-0996.

For screening by a local public health department employee, call Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Outside of these Health Department Screening Line times, you may visit http://augustaexpresscare.org for a 24/7 virtual visit for screening and referral.

The Department of Public Health lists the following criteria for COVID-19 testing:

People with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath):

  • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers
  • Persons residing in long-term care facilities or other group residential settings
  • Persons 65 years of age and older
  • Persons with underlying medical conditions
  • Household members or caregivers of any of the groups above
  • People with symptoms who are not a part of any of the groups above may also be approved for testing, as capacity allows

People without symptoms who fall into the following categories (if capacity allows):

  • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers that have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Residents of a long-term care facility or other group residential setting experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 27

Thank you for continuing to protect yourself and others by following CDC recommendations and practicing social distancing to prevent COVID-19 transmission. The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 56 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 27.

On Sunday, April 26, Chairman John Daniell participated in a conference call with area healthcare providers and hospitals. Below is a joint statement that was issued following the conference call on April 26:

We just completed another conference call update with local healthcare providers and want to relay to the community the latest updates.

Overall, our numbers remain stable, and we continue to see a decline in ICU and hospitalized patients. Patient intake is not as volatile - another positive step.

In terms of PPE and supplies, our providers report they are in a positive position and have the necessary supplies at this time. Testing continues to ramp up significantly. However, with some providers, we continue to have issues with a lag in reporting times, so we must continue to focus on that. Importantly, we are now testing patients with any symptoms and many healthcare workers and other first responders without symptoms - a huge step forward.

We want to specifically highlight the work of the UGA/AU Mobile Clinic - they are doing great work in our community and providing testing in underserved areas. The Mobile Clinic hotline is 706-308-4092, and they are working to cover areas of the community where there are potential cases - particularly in underserved communities.

Our healthcare providers will gradually begin to resume elective operations. Many of these operations are critical that have been delayed for weeks, and it’s important that these patients now be able to be seen. The hospitals are taking strict measures to ensure the health and safety of all patients.

Finally, we want to reemphasize the important of continuing to use common sense. There’s no doubt what we’ve done has made a difference. We must continue to be smart - wear a mask when in public, avoid gatherings, wash your hands, cover coughs and continue to social distance.

Much progress has been made. Together, we’ll continue to win this fight and move our community forward.

Mayor Kelly Girtz
Mayor Dodd Ferrelle
Chairman John Daniell
Senator Bill Cowsert
Senator Frank Ginn
Representative Spencer Frye
Representative Houston Gaines
Representative Marcus Wiedower

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 24

Thank you, Oconee County, for continuing your social distancing efforts. The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-reportlists 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 24.

On Thursday, April 23, Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order for Reviving a Healthy Georgia providing guidance on the reopening of certain businesses.

Governor Kemp’s Executive Order Reviving a Healthy Georgia

Oconee County Government buildings will remain closed to the public throughout the entire period of the Governor’s State of Emergency Order, which expires on May 13. Residents may conduct government business online or by phone or email during this time. Oconee County Government continues to actively monitor the evolving situation and currently plans to allow public access to government buildings, including the Courthouse, Government Annex, and Board of Elections office, beginning May 14, with enhanced cleaning protocols and social distancing measures in effect.

Governor Kemp’s Declaration of Public Health State of Emergency

Governor Kemp’s Renewal of Public Health State of Emergency

For more information on the COVID-19 response in Oconee County, visit https://www.oconeecounty.com/1142/12892/Novel-Coronavirus.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 22

Thank you for continuing to protect yourself and others by following CDC recommendations and practicing social distancing to prevent COVID-19 transmission. The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 22.

On Monday, April 20, 2020, Governor Kemp issued an Executive Order Providing Flexibility for Healthcare Practices, Moving Certain Businesses to Minimum Operations, and Providing for Emergency Response.

Included in this order are the following provisions:

  • Medical practices, dental practices, orthodontics practices, optometry practices, physical therapists, ambulatory surgical centers, physicians performing elective surgeries, healthcare institutions, medical facilities and any and all other healthcare-related practices and services that have ceased operations should begin treating patients in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service guidelines, and provisions of the Executive Order.
  • On April 24, all gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, estheticians, hair designers, massage therapists may begin in-person Minimum Basic Operations as defined by the Executive Order.

Click below to read the Governor’s Executive Order:

Governor Kemp’s Executive Order April 20, 2020

As a reminder, the Shelter in Place Order is still active and will expire on April 30 at 11:59 p.m.

For more information on the COVID-19 response in Oconee County, visit https://www.oconeecounty.com/1142/12892/Novel-Coronavirus.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 20

Please continue to protect our entire community by following CDC recommendations and practicing social distancing to prevent COVID-19 transmission. The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 20.

As a reminder, the statewide shelter-in-place order remains in effect until April 30. Adherence to the statewide shelter in place order is vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19. For information on reporting businesses that are not in compliance with this order, visit: https://www.oconeecounty.com/1153/Report-Businesses-Violating-COVID-19-Reg.

For guidance on grocery shopping during this time, the University of Georgia Extension Office has prepared a COVID-19 and Food Safety FAQ on Shopping and Handling Groceries: https://extension.uga.edu/content/dam/extension/topic-areas/timely-topics/emergencies-and-disasters/UGA_Grocery_COVID-19_Flyer_032020.pdf.

For more information on the COVID-19 response in Oconee County, visit https://www.oconeecounty.com/1142/12892/Novel-Coronavirus.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 17

Thank you, Oconee County, for continuing to practice social distancing. The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-reportlists 48 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 17. As a reminder, the statewide shelter-in-place order remains in effect until April 30. In addition, please remember to protect yourself and our entire community by following CDC recommendations to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 15

Oconee County businesses and residents have been working hard to follow CDC recommendations for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission, which helps protect our entire community. The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 43 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 15. Please continue to stay at home to prevent COVID-19 transmission – your social distancing efforts matter

April 13 Oconee County COVID-19 Update

The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 13.

On Saturday, April 11, Chairman John Daniell participated in a conference call with area healthcare providers and hospitals. Below is a joint statement that was issued following the conference call on April 11:

We just wrapped up another conference call update with both hospitals and other local healthcare providers. This week, we were also joined by the Department of Public Health.

Fortunately, we are seeing good news locally and cases continue to be managed. Social distancing is making a significant impact, and our providers ask us to continue to follow the guidelines put forth by our federal, state and local officials. Should a surge occur, our local providers are prepared.

While overall we are seeing a leveling in cases, there are a couple areas of concern. Across the state, we’re seeing an increase in cases in nursing homes. This could result in more hospital demand. The state is actively working with these facilities to slow the spread. Secondly, we’re seeing more rural counties with increases in cases. Again, overall, our providers feel we are well prepared at this time.

Our hospitals have the supplies necessary, but are preparing for further need. Testing remains limited due to supplies, and all are actively working to increase capability. Both hospitals have made plans to increase ICU bed capacity as necessary, but have not had to do so to date and are in a good position with available space.

We heard again from our hospitals that more homemade cloth masks would be extremely beneficial - especially of a larger size. If you’re able to create and donate these masks, please visit this website to learn specifics - piedmont.org/media/file/COVID-Cloth-Facemask.pdf. They can then be dropped off at either hospital and will be a great help.

Finally, we know there have been many questions about specifics on the publicly provided data on the number of cases by county. We asked DPH about these numbers and how we can all work together to get even more specific information out to the public. Unfortunately, there are many reasons for lags in reporting and/or changes in the data. As DPH receives information, the data is updated and/or fixed accordingly. We all believe the more information and data we can get out there, the better which is why we continue to work together and with our providers and other state and local partners.

This Easter weekend, let’s continue to keep those on the frontlines in our thoughts and prayers. And let’s maintain the great progress our community has shown by continuing to social distance. Together, we will defeat this virus and emerge stronger together.

Mayor Kelly Girtz
Mayor Dodd Ferrelle
Mayor Bob Smith
Chairman John Daniell
Senator Bill Cowsert
Senator Frank Ginn
Representative Spencer Frye
Representative Houston Gaines
Representative Marcus Wiedower

04/10/20 OCONEE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19

 As of 7 pm April 9, 2020, Georgia reports completing 41,085 COVID-19 tests. Of the tests completed, 10,885 tests confirmed COVID-19. Oconee County is showing 34 positive tests.

Governor Kemp’s executive order to Shelter in Place remains in effect through April 30, 2020. You should not be within 6 feet of any person you do not currently live with. Specific business operations closed on April 3rd will remained closed through April 30, 2020. All restaurant dining rooms will remain closed and can only offer take-out, drive-thru or delivery service.

Our local hospitals are doing great work! The hospitals are prepared for a surge. We heard from our hospitals that more homemade cloth masks would be beneficial. They can then be dropped off at either hospital and will be a great help. If you’re able to create and donate these masks, please visit this website to learn specifics:

https://www.piedmont.org/media/file/COVID-Cloth-Facemask.pdf

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners is hosting a virtual Town Hall Meeting on April 14, 2020, to discuss the 2021 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and Malcom Bridge Road improvements. For more information: https://www.oconeecounty.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=780

Parks:

All use of recreational fields and courts at Oconee Veterans Parks, Herman C. Michael Park, Bogart Sports Complex and Heritage Park, including soccer, softball, baseball, tennis courts, basketball courts, disc golf and playground is prohibited. Park walking trails will remain open provided social distancing requirements are maintained. Additionally, patrons in parks are required to adhere to national recommendations of limiting groups to a maximum of 10 people and maintaining 6 feet of separation. All other pickup recreation games in park spaces are also prohibited.

Census 2020:

The next decennial census is underway. Not only is completing the census a civic duty, it is also crucial for fair representation and distribution of federal funding.

Results from the 2020 Census will be used in reapportionment of the United States House of Representatives and state legislatures and in the allocation of more than $675 billion in federal funds across the country.

Responding to the census has gotten easier - for the first time ever, you can respond to the census online! Let’s get it done today.

Restaurants and Businesses:

We want the community to continue to support local businesses but in a responsible manner. The Tourism and Visitors Bureau has developed an evolving list of restaurants offering drive-thru/pick-up/delivery options to limit social interactions. Please see the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/107016329327480/posts/3396839740345106/?d=n

This is a tough time for all but we encourage businesses to pivot some practices to ensure community health. Additionally, we will be waiving penalties on late Occupational Tax Certificates until May 1 and deferring payment of alcohol excise taxes until September 1.

The following direct links for common transactions may be helpful:

Pay water bill: https://www.oconeecounty.com/498/View-andor-Pay-your-Bill

Renew vehicle registration: https://eservices.drives.ga.gov/_/

Pay property taxes: https://oconeecountyga.governmentwindow.com/tax.html

Pay traffic ticket: https://www.ezcourtpay.com/Tix/Default.aspx

Sign up for CodeRED notifications: https://tinyurl.com/oconeega

In response to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the Water Resources Department is temporarily halting the disconnection of water service for non-payment.

As always, you may also email or call county staff with questions; departmental and staff contact information is available on our website.

For more information about Coronavirus, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at https://dph.georgia.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.



04/08/20 Oconee County Government Workstations to Close April 10 & 17 for Deep Cleaning

Oconee County Government workstations in the Government Annex, Oconee County Courthouse, and other government facilities will be closed on Friday, April 10, and Friday, April 17, with the exception of critical staff.  Closure on these days will allow additional cleaning of the facilities, as well as allow for reduction of traffic and public exposure in support of the current stay-at-home mandate.  

Oconee County Government will continue to provide essential public safety, emergency response, and water and sewer services on these days. Non-emergency services will be limited. Please continue to visit us online at www.oconeecounty.com during this time. 

04/06/20 Oconee County COVID-19 Update

Oconee County COVID-19 Update April 6

The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report lists 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oconee County as of noon on April 6.

On Sunday, Chairman John Daniell participated in a conference call with area healthcare providers and hospitals. Below is a joint statement that was issued following the conference call:

Joint Statement issued April 5 -  statistics mentioned in the following statement are from Sunday, April 5; current statistics may be found immediately following the statement: We just completed another conference call update with our two hospitals and other healthcare providers in the area. Our providers continue to be prepared and have plans for ensuring our community has the resources it needs throughout this fight against COVID-19.

Our hospitals are regional hubs and continue to see local patients and those from around the region. As of noon today, we have 62 confirmed positive cases of Clarke County residents with 8 COVID-19 related deaths, 24 positives in Oconee, 25 positives in Barrow with 2 related deaths, and 15 confirmed positives in Jackson Co.

Testing remains limited and continues to be focused on those at most risk and our healthcare workers. Our providers have the supplies necessary at this time, but are preparing for further need as the number of cases continues to increase. Both hospitals have made plans to increase ICU bed capacity as necessary.

We heard from our hospitals that more homemade cloth masks would be beneficial. If you’re able to create and donate these masks, please visit this website to learn specifics - https://www.piedmont.org/media/file/COVID-Cloth-Facemask.pdf. They can then be dropped off at either hospital and will be a great help.

We all stand ready to assist in any way possible throughout this time of need. We remain in regular communication with each other, our healthcare providers, local businesses and workers - we are all in this fight together.

Mayor Kelly Girtz

Mayor Dodd Ferrelle

Mayor Bob Smith

Chairman John Daniell

Senator Bill Cowsert

Senator Frank Ginn

Representative Spencer Frye

Representative Houston Gaines

Representative Marcus Wiedower

*Cases as of April 6 at noon: 69 confirmed positive cases of Clarke County residents with 8 COVID-19 related deaths, 24 positives in Oconee, 27 positives in Barrow with 2 related deaths, and 17 confirmed positives in Jackson County.

04/02/20 Governor Kemp’s Executive Order to Ensure a Safe & Healthy Georgia signed April 2

Read the Executive Order and the related document regarding the order below: 

Executive Order to Ensure a Safe & Healthy Georgia (PDF)

Shelter in Place Handout (PDF)

03/31/20 Oconee County BOC Extends Local Emergency Order Through April 26 

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners is extending the Local Emergency Order currently in effect through midnight, Sunday, April 26, 2020, in order to reduce possible transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19). During this state of emergency under this order:

  • Restaurants and other eating establishments within Oconee County will cease offering dine-in and/or outdoor/patio service, and may continue to prepare and offer food to customers through delivery, takeout, and/or drive-thru service only. This is in accordance with guidance provided by the Department of Public Health: https://www.oconeecounty.com/DocumentCenter/View/9985/COVID-19-Guidance-for-Restaurants_3232020-.
  • All persons ordered by the Department of Public Health to isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place within their homes or place of residence shall comply with such executive order or administrative order. In accordance with the Governor’s executive order, the following populations are specifically included: residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, those with chronic lung disease, individuals undergoing cancer treatment, those with confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus, or those who have had contact with an individual diagnosed with Coronavirus.
  • No business, establishment, corporation, non-profit, or organization shall allow more than ten people to be gathered at a single location, unless individuals can maintain six feet of separation at all times. This applies to all businesses and organizations, including gyms.
  • All residents of Oconee County are strongly urged to remain at home unless they are engaged in necessary and vital business. We encourage all citizens to follow CDC and national taskforce recommendations on limiting groups to no more than ten people, maintaining at least six feet of separation and utilizing drive-through, pick-up, or delivery options for food.

All Oconee County Government buildings, including the Oconee County Courthouse and Annex, will remain closed to the public through April 26. All emergency services will continue to function, and non-emergency staff service is available via phone, email, and the county website.

During this time, Oconee County Government will continue to provide essential public safety, emergency response, and water and sewer services. In addition, the Clerk of Courts office will remain accessible to the public. Individuals who need to visit the Clerk of Courts office should call ahead to 706-769-3940. Upon arrival at the courthouse, individuals who have called ahead may call the Clerk of Courts office from their cell phone, and a deputy will admit them.

The public may continue to conduct county business through the website or by calling or emailing county staff. Contact information for staff and departments is available on the website. For updates on Oconee County’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.oconeecounty.com/coronavirus.

The following contact information and direct links for common transactions may be helpful:

Oconee County Website: www.oconeecounty.com

Clerk of Courts
• Telephone: 706-769-3940

Finance Department
• Telephone: 706-769-2944
• Email: financedept@oconee.ga.us

Planning & Code Enforcement
• Telephone: 706-769-3910 (Planning)
• Email: druark@oconee.ga.us (Planning)
• Telephone: 706-769-3907 (Permitting)
• Email: esmith@oconee.ga.us (Permitting)

Property Appraisal
• Telephone: 706-769-3921

Tax Commissioner
• Telephone: 706-769-3917
• Renew vehicle registration: https://eservices.drives.ga.gov/_/ 
• Pay property taxes: https://oconeecountyga.governmentwindow.com/tax.html 
• Drop box is available for payments outside the Oconee County Courthouse

Water Resources
• Telephone: 706-769-3960
• Pay water online bill: https://www.oconeecounty.com/498/View-andor-Pay-your-Bill
• Drop box is available for payments outside the Oconee County Government Annex
• In response to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the Water Resources Department is temporarily halting the disconnection of water service for non-payment

Traffic Tickets
• Pay traffic tickets¬: https://www.ezcourtpay.com/Tix/Default.aspx 

Emergency Notifications
• Sign up for CodeRED notifications: https://tinyurl.com/oconeega

Please remember to take the following steps to prevent virus transmission:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For more information about Coronavirus, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at https://dph.georgia.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

View Local Emergency Order 2.

03/21/20 Local Emergency Order No. 2

Whereas, on March 26, 2020, Oconee County issued Local Emergency Order No. 1; and

Whereas, since that date President Donald Trump has extended the Slow the Spread campaign to April 30, 2020; and

Whereas, the local school systems throughout the State of Georgia will not reopen earlier than April 27, 2020, pursuant to an order of Governor Brian Kemp; and

Whereas, the conditions set out in Local Emergency Order No. 1 have not improved;

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

Local Emergency Order No. 1 shall remain in force through April 26 at midnight.

This 31stth day of March, 2020.

03/26/20 STATEMENT FROM THE OCONEE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS REGARDING LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners has issued a Local Emergency Order under the Emergency Management Ordinance, in accordance with Governor’s Kemp’s executive order, which remains in effect through April 6. The Oconee County Emergency Order will take effect at 5 p.m., Thursday, March 26, and remain in effect until Monday, April 6, at noon. When Governor Kemp issued a state-wide state of emergency, Oconee County’s Emergency Management Ordinance was activated, placing Oconee County in a local state of emergency.

During this state of emergency under this order:

  • Restaurants and other eating establishments within Oconee County will cease offering dine-in and/or outdoor/patio service, and may continue to prepare and offer food to customers through delivery, takeout, and/or drive-thru service only. This is in accordance with guidance provided by the Department of Public Health: https://www.oconeecounty.com/DocumentCenter/View/9985/COVID-19-Guidance-for-Restaurants_3232020-.
  • All persons ordered by the Department of Public Health to isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place within their homes or place of residence shall comply with such executive order or administrative order. In accordance with the Governor’s executive order, the following populations are specifically included: residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, those with chronic lung disease, individuals undergoing cancer treatment, those with confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus, or those who have had contact with an individual diagnosed with Coronavirus.
  • No business, establishment, corporation, non-profit, or organization shall allow more than ten people to be gathered at a single location, unless individuals can maintain six feet of separation at all times. This applies to all businesses and organizations, including gyms.
  • All residents of Oconee County are strongly urged to remain at home unless they are engaged in necessary and vital business. We encourage all citizens to follow CDC and national taskforce recommendations on limiting groups to no more than ten people, maintaining at least six feet of separation and utilizing drive-through, pick-up, or delivery options for food.

We urge all residents to remain in their home except to conduct vital business. With the closure of restaurant dining areas, park recreational fields and additional businesses such as movie theaters closing, Oconee County no longer has areas of significant public gathering. We support Governor Kemp’s order and we will work to make the order successful. The restrictions on gatherings of groups larger than ten and the requirement of social distancing with a six-foot minimum will, along with the order for medically fragile individuals to shelter in place, help prevent the transmission of this virus, especially to those who are most vulnerable. We have and will continue to collaborate with other governments in the region, including Barrow, Jackson, Walton, and Gwinnett, to develop a regional strategy to combat COVID-19 and support Governor Kemp’s Executive Order.

Please continue to visit our website www.oconeecounty.com and our social media channels for updates on this evolving situation. Please also sign up for CodeRED emergency updates at: https://tinyurl.com/oconeega.

Complaints about restaurant operation can be directed to Environmental Health at 706-769-7060.

Parks:

All use of recreational fields and courts at Oconee Veterans Parks, Herman C. Michael Park, Bogart Sports Complex and Heritage Park, including soccer, softball, baseball, tennis courts, basketball courts, disc golf and playground is prohibited. Staff have posted closure signs on the facilities. Park walking trails will remain open provided social distancing requirements are maintained. Additionally, patrons in parks are required to adhere to national recommendations of limiting groups to a maximum of ten people and maintaining six feet of separation. All other pickup recreation games in park spaces are also prohibited. Failure to comply with these rules after staff enforcement may result in being banned from all Oconee County parks for a period of one year.

Restaurants and Businesses:

We want the community to continue to support local businesses, but in a responsible manner. The Tourism and Visitors Bureau has developed an evolving list of restaurants offering drive-thru/pick-up/delivery options to limit social interactions. Please see the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/107016329327480/posts/3396839740345106/?d=n

Additionally, we will be waiving penalties on late Occupational Tax Certificates until May 1 and deferring payment of alcohol excise taxes until September 1.

Solid Waste Collection Site/ Recycling Centers:

All Oconee County solid waste collection sites/recycling centers have been operating on a limited schedule since Friday, March 20. The sites will be open for self-service on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In order to limit contact between sanitation personnel and the public, attendant assistance and Pay-As-You-Throw bag sales will be unavailable at these locations. You can still purchase PAYT bags at retail locations (grocery stores and convenience stores).

Please do not leave trash or other items outside the gate when the sites are closed. Also, make sure to dispose of your items in the proper bins. Please do not mix trash with the recycling!

In order to maintain enough storage space for everyone, we ask that you limit your use to disposal of normal household items only.

The following direct links for common transactions may be helpful:

Pay water bill: https://www.oconeecounty.com/498/View-andor-Pay-your-Bill

Renew vehicle registration: https://eservices.drives.ga.gov/_/

Pay property taxes: https://oconeecountyga.governmentwindow.com/tax.html

Pay traffic ticket: https://www.ezcourtpay.com/Tix/Default.aspx

Sign up for CodeRED notifications: https://tinyurl.com/oconeega

In response to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the Water Resources Department is temporarily halting the disconnection of water service for non-payment.

As always, you may also email or call county staff with questions; departmental and staff contact information is available on our website.

For more information about Coronavirus, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at https://dph.georgia.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.



Oconee County BOC Issues Local Emergency Order

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners has issued the Local Emergency Order below in response to COVID-19:

Local Emergency Order No. 1

WHEREAS, beginning in late 2019 the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2, emerged causing a novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, which has now become a worldwide pandemic; and

WHEREAS, on March 14, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp signed an order declaring a State of Emergency for the State of Georgia which activated the Oconee County Emergency Operations Plan and enabled emergency powers under the Oconee County Emergency Management Ordinance allowing the County to quickly and appropriately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the same manner as a declaration of a local emergency; and

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, the President of the United States in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Coronavirus Guidelines for America – 15 Days to Slow the Spread; and

WHEREAS, these guidelines contain recommendations on how to protect oneself from the COVID-19 pandemic, including recommendations such as avoiding social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people for fifteen (15) days; and

WHEREAS, Oconee County has strongly encouraged all restaurants, entertainment venues, public gathering areas and similar establishments to take voluntary measures such as closing or modifying operations to help slow the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 03.23.20.01, which requires the Department of Public Health to order that certain specific higher risk populations to shelter in place for fourteen (14) days; and

WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 03.23.20.01 further orders that no business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation, or organization shall allow more than ten (10) persons to be gathered at a single location if such gathering requires persons to stand or be seated within six (6) feet of any other person; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the Oconee County Emergency Management Ordinance as activated by the Governor’s Declaration of a State of Emergency, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners is granted the ability to exercise such powers as may be deemed necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian populations during an emergency; and

WHEREAS, I believe that it is necessary to support recommendations and the Governor’s Order, where the public gathers and where social distancing recommendations cannot be maintained, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oconee County in order to help protect the health and safety of the residents and businesses of Oconee County; and

WHEREAS, Regional cooperation would be beneficial in establishing uniform guidelines across multiple counties to combat the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, Neighboring counties of Barrow, Jackson, Walton and Gwinnett have discussed enacting similar orders; and

WHEREAS, I further believe that it is necessary to require social distancing measures where businesses, corporations, non-profit entities, and other organizations continue to operate to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oconee County; and

WHEREAS, the results of previous county action and this order eliminate public gathering locations in Oconee County such as recreational fields, restaurants, and other businesses with more than ten people; and

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Chairman of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners by the Oconee County Emergency Management Ordinance and other local and state law;

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

(1) In compliance with Department of Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants and Food Service, Restaurants and other eating establishments within Oconee County cease offering dine-in and/or outdoor/patio service. Such establishments may continue to prepare and offer food to customers through delivery, takeout, and/or drive-thru service.

(2) Cafeterias or on-site dining services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other similar facilities within Oconee County following previously issued state and federal public health guidelines shall not be subject to closure requirements of this Order.

(3) The Governor’s Executive Order No. 03.23.20.01 is hereby incorporated by reference herein, such that:

a. All persons ordered by the Department of Public Health to isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place within their homes or place of residence shall comply with such executive order or administrative order. In accordance with the Governor’s executive, the following populations are specifically included:

i. Those persons who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility;

ii. Those persons who have chronic lung disease;

iii. Those persons who are currently undergoing cancer treatment; and

iv. Those persons included in any Department of Public Health Administrative Order.

b. All businesses which possess a license to operate as or otherwise meet the definition of “bar” as defined in Official Code of Georgia Section 3-1-2(2.1) shall cease operation.

c. No business, establishment, corporation, non-profit, corporation, or organization shall allow more than ten (10) persons to be gathered at a single location if such gathering requires persons to stand or to be seated within six (6) feet of any other person.

(4) The County Administrator shall be authorized to utilize personnel and resources to support compliance with and to assist in the enforcement of this Order.

(5) Given the matters set out in this Order and the nature of the declared emergency, I strongly encourage all residents of Oconee County to remain at home unless they are engaged in necessary and vital business.

(6) The provisions of this Order shall be effective beginning March 26, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and shall expire on April 6, 2020, at 12:00 p.m.


Governor Kemp Issues Executive Order to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 and Environmental Health Limits All Restaurants to Take Out, Drive Thru, or Delivery Only

Governor Kemp’s executive order, which takes effect today, March 24, at noon and will remain in effect for fourteen days, requires certain individuals to shelter in place, places limits on large gatherings, and closes all bars and nightclubs. 

In addition, the Environmental Health Office is closing all restaurant dining rooms and limiting service to take out, drive thru, or delivery only. To report violations or for more information, call the Oconee County Environmental Health Office at 706-769-7060. Do not call 911, as this will overload the emergency system. Please see the document “COVID-19 Guidance - Restaurants & Food Service” for specific guidance to restaurants available at: https://www.oconeecounty.com/…/COVID-19-Guidance-for-Restau…

The Governor’s order requires individuals in a high-risk group to self-isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place in their residence. This group includes residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, those with chronic lung disease, individuals undergoing cancer treatment, those with confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus, or those who have had contact with an individual diagnosed with Coronavirus. Oconee County also strongly encourages all individuals to follow this advice to limit social interactions.

In addition, no more than ten people may gather at any business or other establishment unless individuals are able to maintain at least six feet of separation at all times. This applies to all businesses and organizations, including gyms. All bars and nightclubs are also required to close, though Oconee County does not currently have any of these establishments within its county limits. 

The Department of Public Health has the authority to close any business or organization that does not operate in compliance with this order. 

We have been asked why a local declaration of emergency has not been enacted for Oconee County. Under our Ordinance, a declaration of emergency for the state by the governor automatically puts Oconee County in a local state of emergency.

The public may continue to conduct county business through the website www.oconeecounty.com or by calling or emailing county staff while Oconee County Government buildings remain closed to foot traffic. Contact information for staff and departments is available on the website. For updates on Oconee County’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://www.oconeecounty.com/1142/Novel-Coronavirus

Oconee County Government will continue to provide essential public safety, emergency response, and water and sewer services. Individuals who need to visit the Clerk of Courts office should call ahead to 706-769-3940. Upon arrival at the courthouse, individuals who have called ahead may call the Clerk of Courts office from their cell phone, and a deputy will admit them. 

The following contact information and direct links for common transactions may be helpful:

Oconee County Website
www.oconeecounty.com

Clerk of Courts
• Telephone: 706-769-3940
Finance Department
• Telephone: 706-769-2944
• Email: financedept@oconee.ga.us
Planning & Code Enforcement
• Telephone: 706-769-3910 (Planning)
• Email: druark@oconee.ga.us (Planning)
• Telephone: 706-769-3907 (Permitting)
• Email: esmith@oconee.ga.us (Permitting)
Tax Commissioner
• Telephone: 706-769-3917
• Renew vehicle registration: https://eservices.drives.ga.gov/_/ 
• Pay property taxes: https://oconeecountyga.governmentwindow.com/tax.html 
• Drop box is available for payments outside the Oconee County Courthouse
Water Resources
• Telephone: 706-769-3960
• Pay water online bill: https://www.oconeecounty.com/498/View-andor-Pay-your-Bill
• Drop box is available for payments outside the Oconee County Government Annex
• In response to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the Water Resources Department is temporarily halting the disconnection of water service for non-payment
Traffic Tickets
• Pay traffic tickets¬: https://www.ezcourtpay.com/Tix/Default.aspx 
Emergency Notifications
• Sign up for CodeRED notifications: https://tinyurl.com/oconeega

COVID-19 FAQ’s

What should I do if I feel sick?
If you feel sick, it is imperative that you remain at home and only leave your residence to obtain medical care. In addition, you should practice home isolation by separating yourself from others in your home. For more information on what to do if you are sick, visit https://www.cdc.gov/…/…/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include, but are not limited to: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Should I shelter in place?
Remaining in your home and limiting social contact helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community and decreases your chances of contracting this disease. If you are an individual at high risk, including residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, those with chronic lung disease, individuals undergoing cancer treatment, those with confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus, or those who have had contact with an individual diagnosed with Coronavirus, you must isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place per Governor Kemp’s executive order. 

What if I know a relative has been exposed?
If you have a friend, family member, or other close contact that has or is suspected of having Coronavirus, you should monitor your health and call your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. For more guidance on caring for someone with Coronavirus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/…/2019…/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html

How often should I go grocery shopping?
Plan to make larger, less frequent trips to the grocery store, but there is no need to stockpile vast amounts of items. Remember to practice social distancing, avoid touching your face, and follow all other current recommendations from the CDC.

Please remember to take the following steps to prevent virus transmission:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For more information about Coronavirus, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at https://dph.georgia.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

FRIDAY 3/20/20 OCONEE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19

REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE PART OF A BIGGER COMMUNITY

You may feel well and enjoy getting together with friends but remember that we are in the midst of a global pandemic. It is critical that our most vulnerable citizens are protected. We all have an obligation of personal responsibility to understand and abide by the recommendations that medical professionals are putting forward regarding social distancing, limiting groups to a maximum of 10 and staying home if you feel sick.

Parks:

Effective Immediately, all use of recreational fields and courts at Oconee Veterans Parks, Herman C. Michael Park, Bogart Sports Complex and Heritage Park, including soccer, softball, baseball, tennis courts, basketball courts, disc golf and playground is prohibited. Staff will be posting closure signs on the facilities. Park walking trails will remain open provided social distancing requirements are maintained. Additionally, patrons in parks are required to adhere to national recommendations of limiting groups to a maximum of 10 people and maintaining 6-feet of separation. All other pickup recreation games in park spaces are also prohibited. Failure to comply with these rules after staff enforcement may result in being banned from all Oconee County parks for a period of one year.

Restaurants and Businesses:

We want the community to continue to support local businesses but in a responsible manner. The Tourism and Visitors Bureau has developed an evolving list of restaurants offering drive-thru/pick-up/delivery options to limit social interactions. Please see the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/107016329327480/posts/3396839740345106/?d=n

This is a tough time for all but we encourage businesses to pivot some practices to ensure community health. Additionally, we will be waiving penalties on late Occupational Tax Certificates until May 1 and deferring payment of alcohol excise taxes until September 1.

Solid Waste Collection Sites/ Recycling Centers:

Update: All Collection Sites/Recycling Centers are operating on a normal schedule.

All Oconee County solid waste collection sites/recycling centers will operate on a limited schedule beginning Friday, March 20. The sites will be open for self-service on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In order to limit contact between sanitation personnel and the public, attendant assistance and Pay-As-You-Throw bag sales will be unavailable at these locations. You can still purchase PAYT bags at retail locations (grocery stores and convenience stores).

Please do not leave trash or other items outside the gate when the sites are closed. Also, make sure to dispose of your items in the proper bins. Please do not mix trash with the recycling!

In order to maintain enough storage space for everyone, we ask that you limit your use to disposal of normal household items only.

We are monitoring the situation, and hope to resume our regular schedule beginning Friday, April 3. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

We encourage all citizens to follow CDC and national taskforce recommendations on limiting groups to no more than 10 people, maintaining at least 6-feet of separation and utilize drive-through, pick-up or delivery options for food. Additionally, it is recommended that everyone stay at home where possible.

As situations change, we will continue to adjust, as the health of our community is our most important consideration. We encourage you to keep up to date with information on our website, which will be updated several times daily with new information.

The following direct links for common transactions may be helpful:

Pay water bill: https://www.oconeecounty.com/498/View-andor-Pay-your-Bill

Renew vehicle registration: https://eservices.drives.ga.gov/_/

Pay property taxes: https://oconeecountyga.governmentwindow.com/tax.html

Pay traffic ticket: https://www.ezcourtpay.com/Tix/Default.aspx

Sign up for CodeRED notifications: https://tinyurl.com/oconeega

In response to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the Water Resources Department is temporarily halting the disconnection of water service for non-payment.

As always, you may also email or call county staff with questions; departmental and staff contact information is available on our website.

For more information about Coronavirus, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at https://dph.georgia.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Recreational Fields and Courts at Oconee County Parks Closed

Effective Immediately, all use of recreational fields and courts at Oconee Veterans Parks, Herman C. Michael Park, Bogart Sports Complex and Heritage Park, including soccer, softball, baseball, tennis courts, basketball courts, disc golf and playground is prohibited. Staff will be posting closure signs on the facilities. Park walking trails will remain open provided social distancing requirements are maintained. Additionally, patrons in parks are required to adhere to national recommendations of limiting groups to a maximum of 10 people and maintaining 6-feet of separation. All other pickup recreation games in park spaces are also prohibited. Failure to comply with these rules after staff enforcement may result in being banned from all Oconee County parks for a period of one year.

STATEMENT FROM THE OCONEE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS REGARDING COVID-19


With the President of the United States and Governor of the State of Georgia both declaring states of emergency, Oconee has taken guidance from recommendations of the CDC to prepare and continue to react to the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic.

It is critical that our most vulnerable citizens are protected and last week we closed the Senior Center, cancelled all recreational activities and closed both gyms to the public.  Additionally, we have ramped up our meals on wheels deliveries to seniors to ensure we can continue to serve people in need.

Recognizing CDC recommendations on group gatherings, Civic Center staff began working with booked events last week on postponement and we have closed the Civic Center to all events through the end of the month.  We have cancelled all advisory board meetings for the month and as of right now are intending to hold Commissioner meetings virtually.

Similarly, recommendations from CDC regarding social distancing and interactions have been considered and at the end of the day on Tuesday, we closed all county facilities to the public, moved appropriate staff to telecommuting and developed an internal staff rotation to ensure adequate distancing while maintaining the ability to perform governmental operations through email, website and over the phone.  People not wishing to make payments online may utilize drop-boxes set up for the Tax Commissioner Office and Water Resources.

Today we were made aware of a potential exposure to an employee at the County landfill.  Although no employees are displaying symptoms at this time, all collection attendants have been sent into quarantine for two weeks.  All collection sites are undergoing a third-party sanitization and a plan is being developed to temporarily allow collection on an unattended basis. 

We encourage all citizens to follow CDC and national taskforce recommendations on limiting groups to no more than 10 people, maintaining at least 6-feet of separation and utilize drive-through, pick-up or delivery options for food.  Additionally, it is recommended that everyone stay at home where possible.  The Governor has cancelled school for several weeks, which helps reduce significant social interaction but we recommend that you continue to re-emphasize this with kids who naturally want to congregate.

We are in truly uncharted waters with this COVID-19 Pandemic and we recognize the uncertainty associated with this from a whole community perspective.  We are constantly in touch with state and regional health officials, who give guidance so that we can make the best decisions and recommendations for everyone.  As situations change, we will continue to adjust, as the health of our community is our most important consideration.  

I encourage you to keep up to date with information on our website, which will be updated several times daily with new information. 

Oconee County Solid Waste Collection Employees Under Quarantine Due to Possible COVID-19 Contact

Out of an abundance of caution, the personnel operating the Oconee County solid waste collection sites have been placed under quarantine due to possible contact with COVID-19. These employees are not exhibiting any symptoms; however, we recommend following CDC interim guidance of self-quarantine for two weeks for all who have visited the Macon Highway Collection and Recycling Site (former landfill) or the Mars Hill/Jimmy Daniel Collection Site since Wednesday, March 11. This recommendation arises from an abundance of caution regarding the rapidly spreading nature of COVID-19.

All collection sites are temporarily closed. Both the Macon Highway and Mars Hills/Jimmy Daniel Collection sites will be closed until April 1. All sites will undergo deep cleaning and sanitization. Staff is developing plans to allow for passive continued use of the sites for solid waste disposal.

Please remember to take the following steps to prevent virus transmission:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For more information about Coronavirus, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at https://dph.georgia.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

County Government Services Available Via Phone, Email, and Website;

Oconee County Government Buildings Closed to Public March 18 - April 1

In response to the evolving situation surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to reduce possible transmission, all Oconee County Government buildings, including the Oconee County Courthouse, Annex, and Board of Elections, will close to the public effective Tuesday, March 17, at 5 p.m. through April 1. All emergency services will continue to function, and non-emergency staff service is available via phone, email, and the county website. This measure is being taken to protect employees and the general community in response to the national and state declarations of emergency.

Oconee County Government will continue to provide essential public safety, emergency response, and water and sewer services. In addition, the Clerk of Courts office will remain accessible to the public. Individuals who need to visit the Clerk of Courts office should call ahead to 706-769-3940. Upon arrival at the courthouse, individuals who have called ahead may call the Clerk of Courts office from their cell phone, and a deputy will admit them. 

The public is encouraged to continue to conduct county business through the website or by calling or emailing county staff. Contact information for staff and departments is available on the website. For updates on Oconee County’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.oconeecounty.com/coronavirus

The following contact information and direct links for common transactions may be helpful:

Oconee County Website
www.oconeecounty.com

Clerk of Courts
• Telephone: 706-769-3940

Finance Department
• Telephone: 706-769-2944
• Email: financedept@oconee.ga.us

Planning & Code Enforcement
• Telephone: 706-769-3910 (Planning)
• Email: druark@oconee.ga.us (Planning)
• Telephone: 706-769-3907 (Permitting)
• Email: esmith@oconee.ga.us (Permitting)

Tax Commissioner
• Telephone: 706-769-3917
• Renew vehicle registration: https://eservices.drives.ga.gov/_/ 
• Pay property taxes: https://oconeecountyga.governmentwindow.com/tax.html 
• Drop box is available for payments outside the Oconee County Courthouse

Water Resources
• Telephone: 706-769-3960
• Pay water online bill: https://www.oconeecounty.com/498/View-andor-Pay-your-Bill
• Drop box is available for payments outside the Oconee County Government Annex
• In response to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the Water Resources Department is temporarily halting the disconnection of water service for non-payment

Traffic Tickets
• Pay traffic tickets¬: https://www.ezcourtpay.com/Tix/Default.aspx

Emergency Notifications
• Sign up for CodeRED notifications: https://tinyurl.com/oconeega

Please remember to take the following steps to prevent virus transmission:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For more information about Coronavirus, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at https://dph.georgia.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.