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Extra precautions urged after coronavirus strikes Burke County church

Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 12:59 PM EDT
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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Officials were able to trace the latest Burke County coronavirus cases to Palmer Grove Church.

But these aren't the first cases the county has seen, so the Burke County Sheriff’s Office is asking people to take extra precautions to slow the spread.

Authorities are asking anyone who's been to the church since March 8 to self-quarantine for two weeks.

They’re also asking the community to do their part to stop the spread of coronavirus in the county.

As the coronavirus spreads, the sheriff’s agency is asking everyone to stay inside if possible.

“Frankly, if you can stay home, we’d prefer that you stay home, but I know that’s just not possible for everybody. … A lot of people have to be at work. I get that. But we really do need people to maintain social distancing and take it very seriously,” said Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

The agency is changing some of its policies, as well.

Deputies now have a variety of safety equipment from N-95 masks to gloves. Also, many calls that are non-urgent and not in progress are being handled over the phone.

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Agency staffers have also started grocery shopping for seniors.

Deputies and volunteers will get up to 15 essential items for any senior in need.

Right now, all restaurants in the county are drive thru/take-out only.

Waynesboro has already shut down all non-essential business, and county officials are meeting Wednesday to see what other steps might need to be taken.

What you should do

Several positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified at Palmer Grove Baptist Church, 3261 Old Waynesboro Road between Hephzibah and Waynesboro.

In an effort to protect the congregation and the community, authorities have this message for anyone who attended church there from March 8-29 — including a revival from March 9-11:

• Monitor for fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or vomiting or diarrhea for 14 days from the last time you attended a service at the location.

•Avoid public places including work, school and family gatherings for the 14-day period.

• If you exhibit any of the above symptoms, contact your primary-care provider, urgent care center or federally qualified health center by phone and tell them you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Your symptoms may need monitoring more closely, or you may need testing for COVID-19.

If you have general questions regarding COVID-19, call 311. Current and up-to-date information can be found at:

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