There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in White County, but now officials caution that soon could change. During a called meeting of the White County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning, Public Safety Director David Murphy told the commissioners that first responders in the county have had seven encounters since Saturday with patients experiencing symptoms and some of these patients are awaiting test results.
Murphy said, “While we are not immune, we are fortunate that our population is smaller and typically our community follows the guidelines of state and local officials.” According to Murphy, the most challenging thing facing White County is the number of out of town tourists traveling to local state parks and resort areas. He says tourism should slow as a result of the governor’s order on Monday closing bars and nightclubs.
Not “if” but “when”
Murphy said four weeks ago White County’s Pandemic Response Team began the process, meeting and discussing the COVID-19 crisis. He said, “I’m thankful that we have a plan in place. While it’s not perfect, it’s working.” He told the commissioners, “I’ve said it’s not a matter of ‘if’ something would happen, it’s a matter of ‘when’. This is our when.”
White County Sheriff Neal Walden, who also attended the meeting said this is serious and “I urge everybody to support the county commission board on some of the tough decisions they will have to make.”
The commissioners also discussed the fact that it’s hard to implement social distancing when you have an influx of people into the area from outside the county, as happened over the weekend. The board explored the idea of asking the forestry officials to close areas such as Yonah Mountain and Raven Cliffs where the county receives a large number of requests for assistance from people being injured or straying off the trail.