A coalition of local governments and community leaders has launched a new initiative to encourage people to wear masks and social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, even as local health officials acknowledge good news and bad news about the virus here.
The initiative is called “hALL In.” It encourages businesses, nonprofit groups, churches, individuals and others to pledge to follow COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Georgia. It wants people to follow the Three Ws: wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands.
“Hall County has an amazing and unique community that prides itself on always striving to be exceptional, so we should never allow ourselves to settle for being average or below average,” Rob Fowler, the volunteer leader of the initiative, said. “The coalition members believe the only way we’ll make progress in stopping the spread of this virus is by working together as one.”
The hALL In initiative was announced Friday during a video briefing by Northeast Georgia Health System officials for members of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
Carol Burrell, CEO of the health system, said the region did not see the same spike in cases following Labor Day that it saw following the July Fourth holiday.
“We are encouraged that we are not seeing the spike that we saw after the July Fourth holiday,” Burrell said. “So we are encouraged about that and are hopeful and would like to believe that it is a result of all of our collection efforts around education.”
But Dr. John Delzell warned that this news does not mean the pandemic is over.
“We’ve had a nice, steady decrease over the last week or so,” he said. “But we’re still running in a range that’s quite a bit higher than we’d like to see and quite a bit higher than the rest of the state.”
Delzell said the system is running at about 90 percent of hospital bed capacity, which is said is concerning, especially with flu season approaching.
That is where officials believe the hALL in initiative can pay off. Details about the program can be found on the hALL in website.
To take the hALL in pledge, click the “Take the Pledge” button on the website’s home page. It will take you to an online form, where you will enter your organization name, your organization’s website and category, as well as your name, title, email address and phone number, and whether you take the hALL in pledge .
Although the initiative was announced by officials with Hall County government, they stressed hALL in is a community effort, not a governmental one.
“We want this to be all types of organizations, nonprofit sector, churches, schools, Katie Crumley, Hall County spokeswoman, said. “So many different folks have been involved and we hope will continue to be involved.”
The website also has a list of frequently asked questions about COVID, prevention techniques and news releases. Links are also available to resources from the national and state government.