Thanks to Gayle Barker Woody, Jackson County Commissioner

I am sharing some notes to address questions I have received from citizens during this CORONA-VIRUS crisis. This is NOT a comprehensive report on our meeting.

“What are you all doing to address the crisis?”

Well, as individual commissioners, we are each doing individual things. I think when folks ask this question – they want to know what our County Government is doing. We had a report Tuesday from the following:

1) Our acting County Manager and County Attorney, Heather Baker.
Mrs. Baker, by the way, is doing an outstanding job filling in for County Manager Don Adams. He is doing well recovering from a heart attack and by-pass surgery.
Mrs. Baker is overseeing all functions of County Government. All departments are open and serving citizens. Whenever possible, they are working remotely, and if that is not possible, they are taking all necessary precautions. Please CALL the County Department first if you require their services. (phone numbers are on the WEB site) They will let you know if you NEED to come to the Justice Center. Otherwise, they will help you over the phone.

2) Todd Dillard – Director Emergency Management Team
Mr. Dillard is doing an outstanding job coordinating our team and services. The Team has been operational since March 16 – 24/7 and is one of the reasons we have a low number of infections so far. They have addressed 398 health related calls so far. They have ordered large amounts of protective gear, including masks. They have purchased and deployed 4 new (making a total of 8 county wide) message boards which encourage following state and county directives. They can also post emergency updates as needed. The state of North Carolina evaluates each county with a “Preparedness Rating”. In 2017-18 Jackson County earned a “B” rating. In February of 2020, Jackson County earned a 100% rating – due in large part to the leadership of Todd Dillard. (that is according to Shelley Carroway, Health Director)

3) Shelley Carroway – Jackson County Department of Public Health – Director
Good data allows our county officials to make good decisions. Mrs. Carroway and her staff, including Mellissa McNight, Deputy Health Director, are working tirelessly to keep us updated and aware of current COVID-19 cases and results of testing as we move forward. She emphasized the importance of continuing the “stay home, stay safe” order. In fact, now more than ever as we reach a critical period of the outbreak “curve”. Ms. Carroway emphasized the need to keep social distancing and take it very seriously. We still have 2 known cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County, but there are test results continually coming in, so that number can change. For daily updates, go to the Health Department WEB site.

4) Chip Hall – Sheriff, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff Hall told us he is in daily communication with State officials and surrounding counties’ Sheriff Departments. He shared several recent changes to address current needs –
a) School Resource Officers have been reassigned duties in the community
b) There are increased patrols in southern Jackson County
c) There are increased patrols county wide
d) They are monitoring county businesses’ compliance with directives and orders
e) No fines have currently been assessed. So far, businesses are responding to officers’ concerns about non-compliance
f) No need for curfew at this time. The volume of traffic drops after 8:00pm when businesses close. This will continue to be evaluated.
g) The State of North Carolina does not recommend road closures. Jackson County has US Highways as well as State highways and our local roads. Essential traffic uses these roads throughout our county.

If you have questions about the above information, please email me at gaylewoody@jacksonnc.org. I do not reply to Facebook messages. It is all I can do to keep up with email and texts.

Thank you to ALL our public servants who are serving us so well during these difficult days.

May each of us do our part as well. Stay well and safe.
Gayle