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Sumter County declares state of emergency over coronavirus

The county has become the latest region to issue a declaration to better combat the spread of the virus.

SUMTER, S.C. — The Sumter County Council has declared a state of emergency in an effort to deal with the coronavirus.

RELATED: Live updates: Coronavirus in South Carolina

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The county held a meeting Wednesday to discuss their response and voted unanimously to approve an ordinance about the state of emergency. The measure allows Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon to take actions to protect the health and safety of citizens. 

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Here's what the order will do:

  • Utilize all available resources of county government as reasonably necessary to cope with the COVID-19 emergency: and
  • Transfer the direction, personnel or functions of county departments and agencies or units thereof for purposes of facilitating or performing emergency services as necessary or desirable; and
  • Contract, requisition and compensate for goods and services from public and private sources; and
  • Prescribe routes, modes of transportation and destinations in connection with evacuations or relocations, if any: and
  • Suspend or limit nonemergency activities and prohibit public assemblies; and
  • Any and all other actions deemed necessary by the Administrator for the preservation of the health, safety and welfare of citizens, residents, and visitors of Sumter County, South Carolina.

The county also suspended action on all other codes and ordinances until the end of April.

The emergency declaration will remain in force until emergency conditions associated with COVID-19 have subsided and the emergency activities of Sumter County are no longer necessary, or until 61 days passes. 

After the meeting, Mixon said he in a statement he appreciates the working relationship he has with County Council.

“We may have some difficult days ahead but I know the citizens of Sumter County are resilient and patient and we will all have to pull together until we are through this emergency,” he said.

What is the Coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. DHEC is working with CDC to identify all those who might have been in contact with these individuals. These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

People can help to prevent the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. And, always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • stay home when you’re sick.
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and put it in the trash immediately.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • get the influenza vaccine.

For general questions about COVID-19 residents should visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.

For residents concerned about their own personal health or are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your personal doctor or healthcare provider. DHEC has launched its Care Line. If residents have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call volume has been high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.