SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah Mayor Van Johnson expressed concern in his weekly media briefing as local COVID-19 cases continue to climb.
Johnson says in the absence of a vaccine, we have to face the hard facts. For the first time since August, Chatham County’s COVID-19 tests are coming back positive at a rate just shy of 10%.
According to the Coastal Health District, anything beyond 10% is considered the red zone.
Case numbers are on a similar trajectory as they were prior to our last surge in June and July. Johnson says it’s critical we do everything we can to slow the spread.
He thinks a statewide mask mandate could do the trick but says Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp doesn’t seem to be on board.
“We have to do what we can, so I’ll be asking every week until he does it,” said Johnson.
In the meantime, Johnson says no city event permits will be issued through the end of February 2021. This means the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade will be canceled, and Johnson says the ban could extend beyond that.
“We will assess our status at the beginning of the year, and we will make additional decisions at that time as it relates to going forward, beyond that, to include St. Patrick’s Day,” Johnson said.
The mayor says a COVID-19 vaccine could make all the difference.
As hospitals prepare for the delivery of the drug, Johnson says the city will do its part when the time comes.
“Testing is going on at the Savannah Civic Center and we could easily turn that into some form of vaccine place,” said Johnson.
“We also have a variety of public spaces that we could help utilize for that, so I think we are as locked and loaded and as ready, as well,” he added.
Johnson is again encouraging people to consider virtual options for holiday celebrations. He says if you plan to travel make sure you do it as safely as possible.