At Wednesday’s Washington Court House City Council meeting, precautions were taken to ensure that social distancing was being followed by local officials and city manager Joe Denen gave a speech pertaining to COVID-19.
The meeting was closed to in-person attendance except for the seven council members, city law director, recording secretary and city manager, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those who were present were spread out in the council chambers rather than sitting in their usual locations next to one another. The meeting was broadcast live on YouTube so community members who wanted to view the meeting could do so.
During his speech, Denen first thanked Leigh Cannon, deputy health commissioner of Fayette County Public Health (FCPH), and all of the staff of FCPH “for their continued dedication.”
He also thanked Julie Bolender, president of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.
“She has been incredibly helpful and excellent in her role at the Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “The business community in Washington Court House has been highly organized around reacting to the COVID-19 challenge.”
He then thanked city employees “for their excellent cooperation and dedication in our current circumstances.”
Denen said he asked Cannon what she wanted him to reinforce with local citizens at this time.
“Everyone knows what to do — social distancing,” Denen said. “Especially think about how you can limit travel. Wash your hands and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cover coughs and sneezes. We must improve our attention to these simple actions that slow the spread of the virus.”
The following is the remainder of Denen’s speech:
“At no time in the past has anything I have said in this room been more important than pleading with everyone to observe social distancing and hygiene and to do it now. We control our actions, within our grasp in every moment of the day we have the opportunity via our attention to simple changes in our behavior to make a difference.
“We all know that personal protective equipment is in short supply. We know the hospital and EMS can be easily overwhelmed by a sudden spike in virus infections. We have a duty to our families, friends and community to change our behavior in simple ways.
“Many in our community are enduring profound economic uncertainty and hardship. If all of us don’t make an effort to slow the spread of the virus, all of our efforts, our inconveniences, the financial costs and most importantly, the human costs will have been in vain.
“The seriousness of our situation cannot be understated.
“Locally, I have confidence in Fayette Public Health, the hospital, EMS, fire, police — all of our loved services. I worry about the danger they face. I think about how few their number and how meager their supplies.
“At this point in the story of our community, only you can save them from perils and experiences no person should be asked to endure. For your safety and their safety, please redouble your efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
“Not all is bleak. We have our strengths, community, cooperation, organization and compassion. Beyond our small corner of the world the collective medical resources of the entire earth focus upon fighting the disease. And in that great struggle, you have your part to play. You may think hand washing and the like is trivial, but you must do it. Your life and scores of other lives, our financial future depends on you.
“Forget for a moment the television, the politics, the media. Go to a mirror and look at yourself. Say, ‘I can do this, I am not a prisoner of fear. I know what to do. I can get on with the job.’”