SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Mayor Van Johnson held a press conference Monday morning to provide updates and discuss local response to the coronavirus outbreak in Savannah.
Watch the full press conference below.
Johnson said this week, he has requested that the state start releasing confirmed case information by zip code, rather than by county only, to provide a more accurate understanding of where COVID-19 is present and spreading.
“This information will provide us a much better snapshot, a much better idea of the number of confirmed cases in Savannah proper and any concentration of these confirmed cases,” said Johnson.
The mayor said this week he has been pleased to see an increased number of people wearing face masks and coverings in public. He shouted out members of the community who have been making face masks for neighbors who do not have them.
Johnson also said that Savannah officials are still working to enforce social distancing. Over the weekend, the Savannah Police Department began using five drones to monitor Savannah. Two of them use prerecorded messages to remind the public to practice social distancing.
“We are going to use whatever methods are at our disposal,” said Johnson. “That happens to include drones, that happens to include horses, that includes police officers on scooters, and bikes to be able to engage people where they are.”
City Manager Pat Monahan signed an administrative order to implement hazard pay for most city employees from April 12 to May 29, Johnson announced. City employees still working on site, not including the mayor and city council, will receive an extra $2.50 an hour, which is about $100 a week.
Last week, Johnson suspended some city sanitation services, including yard pick-up. Tuesday, the mayor said the City is working to get a plan in place so yard debris can be picked up soon.
Johnson also said the City is working the Savannah Homeless Authority to come up with a solution for Savannah’s homeless population, including finding shelter and meals, during the pandemic.
Monahan said Tuesday they would begin handing out 400 pre-packaged meals daily. In the next phase of their plan Monahan said they want to create a tent community with 200 cots and restrooms.
“That will be reinbursed by FEMA, so atleast 70 percent plus the 12 percent that the state of Georgia will reimburse,” said Monahan. “The city’s out of pocket expense will be minimal.”
Johnson will hold press conferences every Tuesday at 10 a.m. to provide COVID-19 updates for the City of Savannah. WSAV will bring you them live each week on air and online.
Alex Bozarjian will have more tonight on News 3.