EMA directors in Middle Georgia respond to COVID-19

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — As the pandemic grows, so do emergency responses in Middle Georgia with Wilcox County confirming its first case of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, there are 3929 cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The majority of counties in Middle Georgia have cases of coronavirus at this point. Wilcox County notified the public of their first confirmed case.

Wilcox declared a state of emergency and began enforcing a curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. The emergency declaration discourages any gatherings of more than 10 people and standing closer than 6 feet together.

Larry Brown — the EMA director for Wilcox County — says informing people is easy. However, getting people to listen and abide by county regulations is a more daunting task.

Brown said, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Our sheriffs are working closely with me as well as our commissioners, our mayors, and our city council trying to get the word out to everybody. That’s really all we can do.”

EMA directors in surrounding counties are taking to social media to help caution their citizens.

Christopher Stoner, the EMA director for Houston County, made a Facebook post on Monday about seeing a lack of social distancing. He made a trip out to a local shopping center for groceries and took a photo of a long line outside of a hardware store. The post went on to talk about the importance of protecting each other amid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Stoner said “We want to limit things to get everything back to normal as fast as we can. Without the community stepping up and doing their part, that’s never going to happen.”

The Houston EMA director went on to say he wants the people of his county to only travel outside of their homes for essential goods, such as food or medicine.

EMA Directors all around Middle Georgia are encouraging people to practice social distancing, and not to be in groups of more than 10 people at a time. Georgia Department of Health is encouraging people to stay home if they can and to stay informed by frequently checking the GA DPH website.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.