DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester County government is officially closing all non-essential services beginning at 5:00 p.m.
County Council made the decision during an emergency virtual meeting on Wednesday with county government officials and mayors of various jurisdictions in the county.
Dorchester County Emergency Operations Director Mario Formisano addressed council and said they are staying prepared for personal equipment shortfalls for medical employees in the county.
Formisano said they would normally only be working with government agencies, but they are assisting the private sector and are working on a non-congregant shelter plan for people who may get coronavirus or are exposed to it with nowhere to stay.
This would include homeless people as well as families where one family member may be exposed to the virus.
“They are potentially going to need a place to be housed at most 14 days,” he said.
Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight addresses council and said 12 people are sick right now between the sheriff’s office and the jail. As of now, nobody has tested positive for coronavirus.
Sheriff Knight said his office is now in enforcement mode of the governor’s stay at home or work order, but they are not writing tickets to people on the first offense at this time.
“The problem is we’re here to serve and protect the people. As you know, we’re like fire and EMS, we are in a real bad situation- we got to stay healthy in order to do that,” said Sheriff Knight.
The county will close to all non-essential county functions as of 5:00 p.m. Wednesday. Things like law enforcement, animal control, and the register of deeds office will remain open.
County officials say they have several procedures in place to prevent to spread of COVID-19 in those departments.