We know that you need accurate and up-to-date information about the effects of the coronavirus in the state and our region. The Forsyth County News is making this article available free to non-subscribers as a public service. Please consider supporting our work by subscribing to the Forsyth County News.
Forsyth County officials have declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.
Commission Chairwoman Laura Semanson signed the declaration on Wednesday, March 18, which "calls for all available resources of the county to be used as necessary to cope with the impact of COVID-19 on Forsyth County."
“The intention of the state of emergency for Forsyth County is for us to be able to be more reactive, more responsive and to be able to act nimbly and quickly and be able to shift our resources, whether they be personnel or finances to be able to address the problems as they present,” Semanson said in a video announcing the declaration. “We are still going to be conducting the business of the county. We will simply be limiting the opportunities for this virus to spread within our buildings at this point.”
Starting Wednesday, all county government buildings will be closed to the public except meetings and work sessions for the Board of Commissioners at the County Administration Building, 110 E. Main Street.
Along with Semanson, Forsyth County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Grimes, Sheriff Ron Freeman and Fire Chief Barry Head were featured in the video announcement.
Freeman said he and other county leaders had been in deep conversations about the response but said none of them were panicked and the county was well-prepared for the state of emergency.
“I think what's important for you to understand is the state of emergency declaration is simply giving us some additional authorities,” he said. “It gives me the authority to protect you against price-gouging. We're not shutting businesses, we're not restricting movement. It is simply a change in the normal course of business of how your government works to allow us to respond to any needs that our community has concerning this current crisis.”
Freeman also stressed that the declaration would not impact 911 response times and urged members of the community to work together during the outbreak.
“This a chance to be Forsyth County and be an example to others,” Freeman said. “This is a chance for us to take care of each other, take care of those who we don’t need getting out, to practice good examples for the rest of the community and rest of the state. We'll get through this the Forsyth County way, the way we always do, taking care of each other.”
Grimes said his department was in daily contact with local, state and federal agencies to make sure county leaders and residents have the most up-to-date information possible.
“We will continue to be posting information to the county's website and social media pages, and we will continue to ensure our resources are used efficiently and effectively to support all of our local agencies, including our local healthcare systems,” he said.
More information on county closures, postponements and cancellations is available at Forsythco.com/COVID-19.