To the Citizens of Norcross:
The enduring values we possess as a city guide us as we face the difficult challenge of responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on Wednesday.
Our hearts, thoughts and solemn prayers go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. Please know that we all are vigilantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation and have precautions in place to ensure a healthy visit to our city and city administrative buildings as needed to conduct business. In addition, we are working closely with and attending Emergency Management meetings at Gwinnett County. Several city events for March and April have been cancelled along with non-essential training and conferences.
Our community development department and our economic development department are implementing new processes aimed at remote access to local permitting and business plan review as to implement social distancing guidelines. In addition, staggered vpn access from home by employees will be assigned as needed.
Our General Government Clerks will continue to accept walk-ins and will utilize the drive up window with added frequent and periodic cleaning of all counter surfaces until the calculated risks outweighs the value of these services.
Court services will be suspended for two weeks excluding one week skype access already in place with Gwinnett County.
The Public Works Department has created a staggered schedule for the Norcross Power employees. The other crews are being separated as much as possible to mitigate exposure. Code enforcement will be staggered in addition to social distancing.
Our HR department has provided guidelines for addressing potential illnesses within the scope of city employees present during the workday or returning to work from international travel.
Our police department will operate, patrol and enforce as per sworn officers. In the words of our Police Chief, ”Crime knows no restrictions, it takes no hiatus. And because of that, I need all my good folks in uniform at the ready every minute of every day. They are our front line. They will never stop interacting with the public.” We are grateful for their service and will strongly support minimizing their presence at non-essential meetings and gatherings during this national crisis.
As of the time of this release, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our city. However, there are confirmed cases in numerous locations throughout the state and at least 2 confirmed cases in Gwinnett County. Unfortunately, our state and federal officials have warned that we will see more cases.
Again, I have to reiterate, residents who are experiencing symptoms of the virus (including fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or other flu-like symptoms) are urged to call their medical care provider. The medical care provider will provide guidance on how to proceed. If residents are experiencing symptoms that warrant an emergency response they should call 9-1-1.
The CDC reminds the public to practice proper hygiene:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and remember to throw the tissue into the trash.
- Avoid contact with any individual exhibiting signs of illness.
- Stay home if you are sick.
In addition, take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others:
- When you go out in public, limit close contact with others and wash hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid any non-essential travel.
We strongly urge all employees and residents to take necessary precautions to prevent the community spread of COVID-19. We cannot overemphasize the importance of limiting social contact while the CDC advisories are in place. Taking the necessary precautions and remaining mindful of restricting person-to-person contact should be foremost during this health emergency. Because the situation is changing rapidly, we encourage you to carefully monitor the CDC, W.H.O. and the State of Georgia websites previously published. China and other countries are now seeing a decline in new cases. So can we! Working together, we can get past this crisis and return stronger and more resilient than before.
We will keep you updated as this situation changes.
Craig Newton, Mayor