Tri-county leaders address coronavirus concerns, preparations

Local News

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Tri-county leaders met on Tuesday to address the on-going coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Lowcountry.

Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties have declared a state of emergency, along with the state of South Carolina, and are currently operating to OPCON 2.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, county officials continue to encourage social distancing. “We do not want Charleston to be a hot spot. We want to at all costs avoid becoming the next Italy. We do that by limiting exposure,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. “It will be short term pain but the long-term gain will be great.”

Charleston County has opened its Citizens Information Line to assist those in the community who may have questions about COVID-19. The information line will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Citizens can call 843-746-3900 and Spanish speaking residents can call 843-764-3909.

Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey said trash collection, including curbside recycling, the landfill and convenience centers, will continue in the county until further notice.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie said critical services will continue in the town but is limited exposure to the community by implementing those social distancing guidelines and is planning to help businesses who may be impacted by slow business or closures.

“We are good as a town on keeping our operational team going,” he said. “We are limiting exposure to the community by limiting large gatherings. We are going to be implanting programs to sustain businesses through this.”

Dorchester County Chairman Baily said Dorchester county went into a state of emergency Monday night that will last until April 13th.

He said government offices remain open but are closed to the public. “Protecting the public is all of our number one concern,” said Bailey.

“It’s going to take us all together working as a team to get over this and we will get over this,” he said. “I have been told as of today we have no COVID-19 cases in Dorchester County. But I am sure it is coming.”

During the press conference, the Charleston County School District said the preparation and pickup of educational materials is on the way for students.

Parents are encouraged to contact their school for hours of operations and said the meal program was up and running.

The district said parents can bring students to school to connect to WiFi outside of the school as one option for getting lessons completed.

Sheriff Al Cannon spoke on visitation to the detention center and said visitation would not be allowed per the governor’s declaration, but said there are video booths that families can use to chat with inmates between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Those who wish to speak to juveniles can do so at the main detention center.

Sheriff Cannon said the detention center is prepared to open64 beds for those who show symptoms of the virus if need-be.

County leaders said there are no current plans to impose a curfew. However, they said the situation is fluid and could change depending on the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

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