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Troup leaders cautiously optimistic about current state of COVID-19

Troup County leaders seemed cautiously optimistic Friday morning while talking about the current state of COVID-19 in Troup County.

LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton, West Point Mayor Steve Tramell, Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz and Troup County Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Crews hosted another roundtable discussion Friday morning.

Thornton said there’s a sense the county is reaching a tipping point when it comes to new COVID-19 cases now that it isn’t seeing dramatic increases in confirmed cases. However, he was quick to point out that cases are still increasing — it’s just the number of new cases aren’t rising at high levels.

As of 11:30 a.m. on Friday, the Georgia Department of Public Health District 4 reported 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases and four deaths in Troup County.

“You’re already starting to see discussion at the federal and even at the state level about when can we reopen, and when can we get back to a sense of normalcy,” Thornton said. “I can tell you that everybody I’ve talked to wants that desperately to happen, but we just don’t want to do it too soon. We don’t want to get to a point where we overreact.”

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled a three-phase approach for how the country would reopen. It was based on the severity level of states, and he left it into the hands of governors to make decisions.

“I guess we’re waiting to hear from the state in terms of where they stand with these guidelines,” Stankiewicz said.

Crews said he’s looking forward to seeing what Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has to say about the federal guidelines, but in the meantime, Troup County residents need to continue following social distancing protocols.

“I, too, like the mayor feel we are at kind of a tipping point,” Crews said. “But we’ve gotten to this point, hopefully by making some quick moves, and by the fact that our citizens are out there cooperating.”

Tramell said that even though it seems Troup County has started to see fewer new cases each day, it doesn’t mean people need to relax.

“I’m afraid that people are going to get lax, and we don’t want to see that happening,” he said. “I’d like to see more masks. I’d like to see everybody in a mask.”

Stankiewicz said the only way he feels residents can genuinely start to feel comfortable is with universal testing.