The Douglas County Fire & EMS Department — using C.A.R.E.S. Act funding approved by the Board of Commissioners — has purchased decontamination tools to help in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Fire Chief Roderick Jolivette said that his department has purchased decontamination machines for each of the county’s fire stations.
Jolivette said the total cost was a little over $15,000, which came out of the county’s C.A.R.E.S. Act budget.
The decontamination sanitized electrostatic foggers are used to sanitize the equipment and fire stations.
“This safety initiative will keep emergency vehicles in zone, cut fuel costs and allow personnel to receive Insurance Service Office (ISO) company training, which improves our public protection classification,” Jolivette said.
Prior to the purchase of the foggers for each station, Jolivette said firefighters and paramedics would have to go to headquarters in downtown Douglasville to decontaminate their equipment after each use.
He said that would take the truck out of service and imapct the department’s response time for an emergency.
Jolivette said the upfront purchase will save money, time and potential lives in the long run.
“Now, emergency response time can be cut down because firefighters can decontaminate their equipment at their fire station and fuel costs from driving back and fourth can be saved,” he said.
Since taking office in January, Jolivette has been making improvements to the fire department through SPLOST funding.
Last month, the BOC approved over $800,000 for improvements to department for training and equipment.
By a 4-0 vote, the BOC approved the funds during a 30-minute meeting that had no public comments.
Commissioner Ann Jones Guider, who previously served on the public safety committee, was not present at the meeting because of the death of her husband.
In all, the county approved a total of $878,172.29 for training, facility upgrade and equipment.
“It was very important that this got approved,” Jolivette said after the funds were improved. “Getting this will make the community safer. We will move forward to make this department better.”
The big ticket item that received funding was the authorization to accept a bid for $794,000 for the construction of a metal building at the Fire Department Training Complex, which was the big ticket item.
The county will utilize $676,000 from 2002 SPLOST funds and another $125,000 of 2016 SPLOST funds.
Jolivette said the building will be used to store equipment that is now left outdoors.
“Some of that equipment is taking a beating from the weather,” he said. “It will help reduce maintenance costs and in the long run save us money from replacing it. We will get more life out of the equipment.”
Four former Douglas County players are playing in this season’s version of March Madness.
Former Lithia Springs High standout Demeara Hinds is the lone participant in the NCAA Div. I Tournament and former New Manchester forward Makaila Cange is playing in the Div. II tournament.
Two other former county players helped their team to the WNIT.
Hinds and her Wake Forest teammates will take on Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Amari Robinson, a two-time region player of the year, helped Clemson earn a berth into the WNIT. The sophomore starting forward is a former standout at Douglas County High, where she graduated as the county’s all-time female scoring leader during the modern era.
Arsula Clark, a starting guard for Tulane, helped the Green Wave to a WNIT berth.
Clark was a former standout at Douglas County High, where she teamed with Robinson to lead the team to a semifinals appearance.
Former New Manchester High standout Makaila Cange has led Lander College in South Carolina to the Div. II Elite Eight.
The 6-foot-2 Hinds played in 15 games this season for the Demon Deacons as a freshman.
She scored 11 points and had 19 rebounds as a reserve. Hinds had a career-high four points against N.C. State in a conference game.
Wake Forest is a No. 9 seed and Oklahoma State is an No. 8 seed as the teams square off at 1 p.m.
The winner will advance to the second round to take on the No. 1 Stanford against No. 16 Utah Valley winner.
The Demon Deacons are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988, when freshman center Jenny Mitchell (now coach Jen Hoover) scored the winning basket in a first-round victory over Villanova.
As a senior at Lithia Springs, Hinds averaged 13.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots in 29 games. She finished her career with 1,110 points and 1,032 rebounds in 105 games. She was named the Region 6-AAAAA Player of the Year. She became the first Lithia Springs female player to sign a scholarship with a Power 5 Conference school.
Clemson played Ohio in Charlotte while Tulane took on Illinois State in Memphis. Both games were Friday.
For a second straight season, Robinson was named to the ACC All-Academic Team. As a sophomore, she averaged 8.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
As a senior, Clark averaged 11.7 points in 24 starts as the team’s third-leading scorer.
The 5-foot-11 Cange was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year after averaging 17.5 points and 13.1 rebounds in 20 games this season.
The No. 5-ranked and second-seeded Lander team defeated North Georgia in the NCAA South Region championship game in Dahlonega Monday to advance to the Elite Eight for the second time in program history.
Cange had a double-double for the Bearcats with 18 points and 13 rebounds. She is ranked second in the nation in field goal percentage at 65.6% coming into the game. The PBC Player of the Year made eight of 11 shots. It was her 15th double-double in 20 games this season.
Cobb & Douglas Public Health Deputy Director Lisa Crossman said that 15,500 Douglas County residents have received at least their first vaccine shot.
During a presentation at the Douglas County Board of Commissioners virtual meeting earlier this week, Crossman said that the county had provided 21,000 shots between all providers.
“We are capable and ready to do more,” Crossman said. “We are like kids at Christmas waiting on the side of the road for those deliveries every week.”
With funding from the BOC, Crossman said that CDPH purchased an ultra cold freezer, which is required for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. She said the county is switching over to Pfizer.
“There was a lot of competition throughout the state for Moderna,” Crossman said.
Crossman said CDPH is looking to get more vaccines from the state in the coming weeks.
“We are ready,” Crossman said. “I say bring it on.”
Of the 21,000 shots, there has been 13,000 people that received their first shot and 9,000 have gotten their second shot, according to Crossman.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the country will reach his goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days this weekend, 58 days into his administration.
“That’s weeks ahead of schedule,” Biden said in a brief address from the White House.
Since the vaccination process has started, CDPH has used all three vaccines, but are moving towards strictly giving the Pfizer shot.
Crossman said that they use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when CDPH does outreach events in the community.
The biggest concern, according to Crossman, is the slow sign-up process from county residents.
Crossman said that it usually takes about 30 minutes for a vaccine site to fill its openings.
However, she said that the latest round of sign-ups took about a day and a half to reach capacity.
“We want the vaccines in the county to go to Douglas County residents,” Crossman said. “As with all the sites, others around the state are welcomed.”
On Thursday, Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones and Douglasville Mayor Rochelle Robinson received their vaccine shots at Arbor Place Mall.
“Mayor Robinson and I partnered to receive our COVID-19 vaccine shot to encourage members of the community who are eligible to get vaccinated and that the vaccine is safe,” Jones said in a news release. “Vaccinations are so important right now and we want to boost participation from city and county residents to register and get vaccinated.”
In June, Robinson confirmed in a social media post that she had contracted the virus.
She said she felt ill for a few days, but has fully recovered.
As of Friday, 165 county residents had died from the virus since the pandemic started last March.
“I was pleased to get the COVID-19 vaccine when my eligibility came up,” Robinson said in the news release. “I was nervous like many others, but being with Madame Chair, who I affectionately call my ‘Big Sister’ I knew everything would be well.”
To schedule a vaccine, residents can visit https://www.cobbanddouglaspublichealth.com/covid-vaccine/ or go directly to the state DPH site to make an appointment at Arbor Place Mall/Sears Parking lot: https://gta-vras. powerappsportals.us/