For information on COVID-19 and resources for Stephens County, click here.

 

Stephens County Local Resources

With the continued spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we feel it’s important to provide you with updates and resrouces to support and keep safe our community.  Our important work in Toccoa-Stephens County continues, and the SCDA staff will continue to work, be it in the office or remotely, to serve our members during this challenging time. We will limit non-essential interaction between members and are taking this situation day-by-day.

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce and Mainstreet Toccoa have provided a list of resources, restaurants serving take-out and curbside srevice, business resrources. Click on the buttons below to visit their websites.

 

 

 

Economic Resources During COVID-19 

 

 

Stay Informed

 

GLOBAL

 

FEDERAL

 

The CDC has developed interim guidance for businesses and employers:  CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers:  How to Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019.

 

STATE

 

LOCAL

 

Currently, the Georgia Department of Health has reported one hundred forty-seven (147) confirmed positive cases and three (3) reported deaths for Stephens County.

Today, June 3, 2020

The statistics for Stephens County Hospital....

Tested: 1045 Individuals

Positive Cases: 119

Negative Cases: 894

Pending Results: 32

  • Currently, the Stephens County Hospital has one (1) patients with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19.
  • The 93 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Visitor restrictions remain in place for Stephens County Hospital as they are still continuing to see cases throughout our community. This is to help keep the patients safe as they enter the facilities. Patients coming for Labor and Delivery are allowed one support person. Patients coming for outpatient surgery are allowed one support person. Patients who are admitted to the hospital are allowed one support person for end of life discussions. No visitors under the age of 16 are allowed at this time. The hospital staff appreciates your understanding as they work to ensure safety.

The statistics for the NGPG Toccoa Clinic...

Tested: 338

Positive Cases: 40

Negative Cases: 273

Pending Results: 25

I'm updating the NGPG Toccoa Clinic data only on Mondays as the numbers are not changing much on a daily basis.
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Why is the total of Stephens County Hospital's plus the NGPC Toccoa Clinic's number of cases different than the Georgia Department of Health?

A: The Stephens County Hospital and the NGPG Toccoa Clinic only provides information on cases treated at their facility. The Georgia Deparment of Health reports on all residents of Stephens County. For example, if a Stephens County resident tests positive at a hospital outside of Stephens County, the Georgia Department of Health will include the case in the Stephens County statistic, however, the Stephens County Hospital plus the NGPG Toccoa Clinic will not.

 

Q: What is the Govenernor's Shelter in Place Order?

A: Governor Brian Kemp has issued a shelter-in-place order for the state of Georgia.

The order will be effective beginning Friday, April 3 at 6 p.m. and will expire Monday, April 13, at 11:59 p.m.

This order has been extended until Monday, April 30, at 11:59 p.m.

"Building on the previous order and directives we have issued, this order is a common sense, measured step forward to stop the spread of COVID-19," the governor said in a video posted to Facebook. "This order maintains social distancing directives and requires residents and visitors to our state to shelter in place in their homes or place of residence.

 

Q: How can I work from home?

A: In complying with CDC guidelines, you may be asked to work from home. Please refer to the articles below information for remote working tools.

 

Q: I was furloughed. Where can I find another job?

A: As businesses continue to adapt to the changing landscape, we understand that serveral situations will require employers to furlough employees. If you are in need of a job, please see the resource list below. Please do not hesitate to reach out to grocery (Ingles) and market stores (Walmart) to inquire about openings as they  are currently hiring to meet the new demands.

 

Q: Are tax filing dates extended?

A: FEDERAL: The deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020Visit IRS website.

STATE: The Georgia Department of Revenue is automatically extending the 2019 income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, 2020Visit Georgia Department of Revenue website.

LOCAL: The Stephens County Tax Commissioner is not extending the filing deadline. The deadline remains April 15, 2020.

 

Q: How can I safely prepare my business for my employees in response to COVID-19?

A: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to coronavirus in the workplace.

 

Q: I'm a federal contractor. What is the National Interest Exemption?

A: Following President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) today issued a National Interest Exemption memorandum to facilitate response efforts for COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.

Read the full press release.

 

Q: What is the SBA Economic Injurt Disater Loan and Paycheck Protection Program?

A: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, allocates $349 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the current circumstances they are encountering. The CARES Act provides funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, modifies the existing Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and provides immediate loan payment relief for current SBA 7(a) borrowers.

 

For more information and a comparison chart visit the UGA SBDC's Emergency Injury Disaster Loan website.

For more information on visit and download the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist.

 

Apply for the Loan Advance here.

 

Q: What is the CARES Act?

A:  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a package of measures introduced in the U.S. Senate in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Takeaways

  • The CARES Act is an attempt at the federal level to address issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The act seeks to provide economic support to the business sector, employees, individuals, and families.
  • It also specifically addresses industries that have been impacted the most, including air transportation, health care, and education.

 

View and download the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's summary.

View and download the CARES Act Business Provisions Summary.

 

Q: I'm a manufacturer. How can I help?

A: Governor Kemp called for Georgia Manufacturers and Distributors to help with critical health care supply needs. If your business can provide, produce, distribute, store or quickly be re-purposed to create items included in the list of vital projects in the following form, we ask you to complete and submit it as soon as possible: https://www.georgia.org/covid19response

 

Q: I'm an employer. What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

A: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medial leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. 

Download these posters for distribution and posting at your company.

 

COVID-19: Daily Updates

Most weekdays we will post a summary of items which may be of value to our local industries:

COVID-19: 6/4 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Georgia WorkSource Career Coach Assistance

In a continued effort to be cautious with the COVID-19 situation, the Georgia WorkSource counselors are continuing to postpone all in-person Career Coach events until further notice. However, they would like to continue providing their services virtually. If you know someone who could use their services, have them sign-up using the following link: https://tinyurl.com/y7fblc4q for a Virtual Career Coaching session. During these sessions counselors can assist with questions related to job searchingresumes writingcareer interest or WIOA training information. This link can also be found under the “COVID-19 Resources” page on the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission website.

2. Check in on your black employees, now

This story is available as a result of a content partnership between the Atlanta Business Chronicle and The New York Times.
When a video goes viral showing violence against a black person, the shock waves are felt throughout our community. As cities erupt in protests over police brutality, people are in desperate need of support — especially from their employers. It is crucial for employers to check in with their employees and acknowledge the news events of the past few weeks. They should encourage self-care, whatever that may mean to the individuals, and make clear there will be no penalties for those who may need to take a mental health day or temporarily take on a lighter workload. Actively investing in the health of employees will also go a long way toward fostering good will and a safe work environment.
 
3. A Prayer for True Justice
O Heavenly Father, our hearts are heavy. Please give us eyes to see and ears to hear where Your Spirit is working. Help us to see every person the way You see them. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours. Let us not merely say that we love each other. Give us strength to mourn with those who mourn, to weep with those who weep. Let Your justice roll like waters. Let Your righteousness and love flow from us like rivers of living water. Purify our hearts, Lord, and fill us with genuine hunger for justice, for mercy, and for true peace. Heavenly Father, let justice and mercy start with me. Amen.

4. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred forty-seven (147) confirmed positive cases and three (3) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 1045
Positive Results: 119
Negative Results: 894
Pending Results: 32
  • The 93 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has one (1) patient hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19.
  • Visitor restrictions remain in place for Stephens County Hospital as they are still continuing to see cases throughout our community. This is to help keep patients safe as they enter the hospital's facilities. Patients coming for Labor and Delivery are allowed one support person. Patients coming for outpatient surgery are allowed one support person. Patients who are admitted to the hospital are allowed one support person for end of life discussions. No visitors under the age of 16 are allowed at this time. The hospital appreciates your understanding as they work to ensure safety.   
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 280
Positive Results: 36
Negative Results: 229
Pending Results: 15
I'm updating the NGPG Toccoa Clinic data only on Mondays as the numbers are not changing much on a daily basis.
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 6/3 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Georgia Departments of Education, Public Health release guidance for safe return to in-person instruction in fall 2020

The guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of students, staff, and families while remaining flexible, responsive, and achievable in the K-12 setting. They are guidelines, not mandates, and are adaptive to multiple scenarios. School districts should review the guidance in consultation with their local public health departments and choose which methods to adopt. Georgia's K-12 Restart Working Groups will meet through the summer and fall to build out resources for school district planning and implementation.

2. Resources Provided to Real Estate Professionals
As our country works toward opening back up, the Georgia Upstate Lakes Board of Realtors is staying up to date. Here are some links they have provided to their membership with current resources:

https://garealtor.com/wp-content/uploads/GAR-Best-Practices-for-Conducting-Real-Estate-Spring-Summer-2020.pdf

https://www.nar.realtor/coronavirus-a-guide-for-realtors

https://www.nar.realtor/covid-19-workplace-re-entry-checklist

https://www.homelight.com/blog/agent-how-coronavirus-impacts-real-estate-tracker/

3. Office Cleaning Video Resource

This is not a company endorsement, but Bishop Clean Care, Inc. is a residential and commercial cleaning company serving the Southwest Georgia community for more than 65 years. They have put together a 15:36 minute YouTude video highlighting the various ways to disinfect, sanitize, or sterilize "touch-point" surfaces in your business.
 
4. Mental Health Resource Related to COVID-19 Pandemic Disease 
As we know COVID-19 is a pandemic disease. This leads to both physical and mental problems. The physical symptoms are high temperature, vomiting, etc. The mental symptoms are feeling lonely, stressful, increased pressure level, heart rate, missing social movement, shooting peak rise in anxiety level, etc. Are these noted in seniors alone? No, these are common in seniors, children and Elders. 
 
Though the symptoms are common the relaxing measures are different for different age groups. To know the exact WHO methods of relaxation move on to the Beeboom.co article in the following link ( Protect Your Family’s Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic ). Retrieve yourself back to normal state and reduce the narrow rising tension.

5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred forty-seven (147) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 1022
Positive Results: 116
Negative Results: 885
Pending Results: 21
  • The 90 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has two (2) patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19.
  • Visitor restrictions remain in place for Stephens County Hospital as they are still continuing to see cases throughout our community. This is to help keep the patients safe as they enter the facilities. Patients coming for Labor and Delivery are allowed one support person. Patients coming for outpatient surgery are allowed one support person. Patients who are admitted to the hospital are allowed one support person for end of life discussions. No visitors under the age of 16 are allowed at this time. The hospital staff appreciates your understanding as they work to ensure safety.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 280
Positive Results: 36
Negative Results: 229
Pending Results: 15
I'm updating the NGPG Toccoa Clinic data only on Mondays as the numbers are not changing much on a daily basis.
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 6/2 - Stephens County Update
 
1. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Guidance to Stakeholders
Stephens County Hospital's Infectious Control Director Carmen Kisner has shared this information from NIOSH with us:
General Resources
CDC has developed a toolkit to guide employers as they seek to resume normal or phased business operations. The toolkit is based on CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to COVID-19 and is designed to assist employers as they implement that guidance in their workplaces. These tools will help employers in planning, preparing, and responding to COVID-19.
Industry Specific Resources
The CDC has published a new fact sheet for office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists. The fact sheet provides detailed steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients from COVID-19 exposure.
 
 
2. Moving from Just in Time to Just in Case
In pursuit of ever-greater efficiency, many businesses de-emphasized supply chain flexibility and resilience. Today’s situation calls for rebalancing priorities.
This IndustryWeek article discusses some components (Simplicity, Collaboration, Resilience, Redundancy, and Innovation) of a "Just in Case" supply chain.  

3. Kroger Provides Blueprint for Business

Kroger recently published a 57-page guide of best practices and business advice on business re-entry during COVID-19 titled “Blueprint for Businesses.” This Blueprint is part of Kroger’s initiative to share what they have learned during the pandemic, including best practices and protocols, with government leaders, retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, logistics companies and others as they take steps to develop protocols and procedures to reopen the economy safely.

Kroger developed the Blueprint with U.S. governors and other business groups that had sought its advice in plotting their own reopening. Kroger said they will continually update this Blueprint.

The Blueprint includes:
–Best practices for maintaining a safe, clean and well-stocked retail environment
–Insights, protocols and procedures from Kroger’s 35 manufacturing facilities across the country
–Tips and templates for communicating transparently with internal and external stakeholders
–Tips for remaining flexible and efficient while sourcing high-demand products
–Recommendations for managing and supporting your greatest asset through the pandemic
–Processes and best practices to help flatten the curve while maintaining a seamless supply chain for customers across the country

The Blueprint includes a downloadable booklet and other resources including audio safety recordings and social distancing signage.

4. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred forty-seven (147) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 969
Positive Results: 107
Negative Results: 826
Pending Results: 33
  • The 87 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has two (2) patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, and six (6) patients currently hospitalized awaiting results.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 338
Positive Results: 40
Negative Results: 273
Pending Results: 25
Moving forward, due to the fact that the NGPG Toccoa Clinic data are not changing much on a daily basis, they will report their numbers each Monday.
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 6/1 - Stephens County Update
 
1. COVID-19 expected to accelerate automation uptake
Leading companies in Europe expect the COVID-19 crisis will lead to accelerated uptake of automation as well as increased focus on climate change and supply chain risks, according to a survey by consultancy EY according to an article published in an FDI Intelligence article.
EY surveyed 113 business executives in April which megatrends they expect to accelerate the most in the next three years. Among the findings:
82% agreed that “the adoption of technology that automates manual human processes” will accelerate in the next three years.
57% expect their companies’ “focus on sustainability and climate change” to increase
56% of them expect “the reversal of globalisation” by way of deep supply chain restructuring.
83% of the executives surveyed expect to “move to nearshoring in low-cost areas just outside of the EU and in Africa”
77% of the surveyed said they will “transition to lean or additive manufacturing (3D printing) to deliver advantages in speed, cost, precision and material”. 

2. Americans want to spend but feel unsafe in public places
A study from Cowen reveals 76% of Americans expect their spending to either stay stable or increase from mid-May to mid-June, up from 66% the previous month. Additionally, nearly 50% say the pandemic will disrupt life for six months or longer, compared with 18% in late March, and feelings of safety in returning to public spaces dropped across every category. Full Story: ADWEEK (tiered subscription model)
 
3. Square Business Support Guide
Here are tips and guidance from Square to help you:
Health and Safety
Keeping yourself, your employees, and your customers safe is a top priority right now. There are a variety of methods you can use — like contactless payments — to protect your business and customers.
Stress Management
With the fast-changing situation and fluctuating economy, you may be facing a lot of uncertainty and stress. Prioritizing your business, customers, and employees right now is important, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. Communicating with Customers
Reaching out to customers to give updates and keep them informed on how they can interact with your business is a great way to maintain your customer relationships. Put together an email strategy to guide your approach to keeping your customers in the loop. Managing and Communicating with Employees
This time is as unpredictable for you as it is for your employees. Your first priority is to keep your team healthy. Whether that means employees are working from home or not coming into work at all, here are a few resources to help you manage them. Financial Management
Mandated business closures and travel restrictions may make your sales patterns unpredictable. To be prepared, here are some resources to help you manage and evaluate your current financial status, and discover the best way to triage a cash flow problem.

This is not an endorsement, but here are a few steps you can take to get a clear picture of your finances using Square Dashboard:

  • Generate reports: View your sales, spending, and transfers in a simple report. You can also add filters to include the components most useful to you.
  • Track spending by adding Personal and Business labels to your transactions.
  • Transfer funds in the Balance section of your account.
    • Add Money to transfer funds into your Square Balance, or initiate an outbound transfer via instant transfer (1.5% fee) or a next-business day transfer (free).
  • Make a purchase: You can instantly access the money in your Square Balance with Square Card.
Selling Online
Whether your business is experiencing a government-mandated closure or you’ve decided to temporarily close your doors, or you’re starting to consider the possibility of having to, now is the time to consider letting your customers know how to find you online. If you don’t yet have an online store, below are resources to help you get up and running. If you do, we’ve provided some helpful resources to help you maximize your efforts to sell online. Shipping
Shipping might be completely new to your business, or it might have recently ramped up due to an increase in online orders. To navigate shipping, here are a few resources to help you optimize the process. Utilizing Social Media
Social media can be a great place to build a support network and a place for your customers— and other businesses—to band together and show support online. Here are some tips to get started with Facebook or start using the social network as a primary channel for communicating with customers.

Square will continue to update this guide and their resource hub with more information and guidance to help you navigate this difficult time in the coming weeks.

4. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred thirty-nine (139) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 969
Positive Results: 107
Negative Results: 826
Pending Results: 33
  • The 87 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has two (2) patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, and six (6) patients currently hospitalized awaiting results.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 338
Positive Results: 40
Negative Results: 273
Pending Results: 25
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/29 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Governor Kemp extends public health state of emergency to July 12, 2020
Governor Kemp announced yesterday he has extended the public health state of emergency in Georgia through 11:59 PM on July 12, 2020. This extension is for the medically fragile and elderly. This declaration allows for enhanced partnerships between the private and public sectors for healthcare infrastructure, procurement of supplies, and coordination across all levels of government. The Public Health State of Emergency provides flexibility for a cohesive response across government and within communities across Georgia. 

He also announced several new guidelines for reopening businesses: 
  1. Starting June 1, gatherings of more than twenty-five people in a single location are permitted with at least six feet between each person.
  2. Starting June 1, professional sports teams and organizations which engage in practices or other in-person operations must operate by the rules or guidelines of their respective sports league. In addition, all amateur sports that continue in-person operation must follow the guidelines for non-critical infrastructure organizations.
  3. Starting June 1, schools and districts can hold summer school for students if they comply with eleven mandatory criteria (They are listed in the Executive Order.). That includes screening workers and students for illness to prevent viral spread, enhancing campus sanitation, encouraging regular handwashing and hygiene, and keeping students separated to minimize exposure.
 
2. GDOL Releases April Unemployment Rates
State unemployment rates in April ranged from 7.9% in Connecticut to 28.2% in Nevada. Georgia comes in at 11.9%. The U.S. rate is 14.7%.
 
3. The Sputtering Road to Recovery
According to this IndustryWeek article, the world has never seen an economic collapse like this. After a first-quarter GDP contraction of 5%, economists forecast a second quarter downturn surpassing 30%, or three times as deep as the previous worst quarterly contraction in U.S. history. Some say it could even be more dire. And manufacturers will be living with the outcome for years to come. Indeed, it will change the way they do business forever.

Over the past month, manufacturers have developed detailed plans to reopen their factories, with the dual goals of employee safety and restoring output.
 
4. “After COVID-19, Ways to Pivot your Business to Succeed”webinar
Please join us on a webinar for small business owners on June 1 and 2, 2020. The curriculum, developed by the UGA Small Business Development Center and offered in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, will assist small business owners in pivoting their business after COVID-19.

Topics will include:

  • Re-writing your business plan
  • Financial best practices
  • Communications strategies
  • Resources to pivot for success
Webinars are offered by region (Stephens County is in Region 2) and pre-registration is required. During the program, you will have the opportunity to connect with your regional GDEcD and DCA representative as well as your local UGA SBDC team. Register here: https://www.georgiasbdc.org/after-covid19-pivot/
 
5. 2020 Census count lags in Georgia amid coronavirus
Georgia is lagging in its count of the 2020 U.S. Census as outreach workers struggle reaching communities in isolated areas for counting amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decennial count affects the state’s share of a huge pot of federal dollars given annually for a wide range of programs like Medicaid and Medicare, food stamps, housing vouchers, highway construction, child-care services, special education and more. Please encourage your employees to participate in this vital count.
 
6. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred thirty-six (136) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 948
Positive Results: 105
Negative Results: 812
Pending Results: 31
  • The 86 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has two (2) patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, and two (2) patients currently hospitalized awaiting results.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 316
Positive Results: 38
Negative Results: 254
Pending Results: 24
 
7. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/28 - Stephens County Update
 
1. New OSHA guideline says employers must report workplace-caused Covid-19 cases
Add another line to the to-do list for employers reopening their facilities: They will be responsible for recording Covid-19 cases among employees if the exposure to coronavirus happened in the workplace.

Here are several steps employers need to take to comply with OSHA guidelines and follow CDC suggestions:

• The CDC suggests (but does not require) employers ask each employee whether he or she has had any Covid-19 symptoms in the past 14 days;

• Keep Covid-positive employee identities confidential;

• Ask each employee whether they’ve been in close contact with anyone who has Covid-19 or lives in a community where the disease has spread;

• For employees who have Covid-19, ask them how they believe they contracted the illness — at work or away from work;

• Review the employee’s work environment for potential Covid-19 exposure, including from co-workers, and

• If an employee is diagnosed with Covid-19 and likely contracted the disease at work, the employer must add it to their OSHA Form 300 log of work-related illness or injuries at their workplace.

The recording of a workplace-related Covid-19 case does not represent “a per se violation” of OSHA regulations, said Erik Eisenmann, who is the chairman of the national labor and employment practice for Husch Blackwell LLP.

Here is an article on the subject.  

2. What Will Manufacturing’s New Normal Be After COVID-19?
History teaches us that short-term measures taken in response to global crises lead to changes that last for decades. What most of us consider normal has already fundamentally shifted. Manufacturers who understand and act on this new normal will have ample opportunities for growth.
This IndustryWeek article covers these topics:
From Short-Term to Major Shift
The Pandemic’s Short-Term Effects on Manufacturers
Long-Term Effects
Revival of (Automated) Domestic Manufacturing
Decoupling of Supply Chains
Data Infrastructure as a Strategic Asset
Digitization as a Competitive Advantage
Remote Work, Collaboration and the ‘Virtual Shift’
 
3. Three Revealing Surveys as Highlighted by Barber Business Advisors
What will the world look like once the pandemic has passed? What are the top concerns of business leaders? 

In its annual survey of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Fortune Magazine asked about some of the predictions being floated these days about how things will change. Among the findings:
  1. Only 27 percent expect their workers to fully return to their usual workplaces this year.
  2. A majority believe it will be the first quarter of 2022 before overall economic activity returns to levels reached before the pandemic, and another 27% don’t expect that until the first quarter of 2023.
  3. Most say business travel at their company will never return to levels reached before the crisis.
  4. Despite the economic impact, three-fourths believe the crisis will force their companies to accelerate their technological transformation.
In another survey, the World Economic Forum, Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group asked nearly 350 senior risk professionals from large companies around the world as to their chief concerns.
  1. Two thirds said a protracted global recession was the "most worrisome" risk. The report also flagged increased inequality, a weakening of climate commitments and the misuse of technology as top risks arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deloitte’s latest CFO Signals Survey gives a sobering indication of how long it might take for conditions to return to normal. Among the findings:
  1. 60 percent of the executives surveyed do not expect operations to return to pre-crisis levels until 2021 or later.
  2. CFOs said they are primarily focused on cutting costs instead of growing revenue, as companies look to shield against the downside amid the pandemic.
  3. They overwhelmingly expect more employees to work remotely, leading to companies having smaller real estate footprints.
4. Tesla Return to Work Playbook 
I know I have included in previous daily updates various plans to reopen and return to work. Here is one prepared by Tesla.
 
5. Restart Checklist: Requalifying Your Suppliers
What are the questions you should be asking? We can’t just flick a light switch and expect a quick return to pre-Covid-19 consumer patterns and company supply chain efficiencies. Companies need to consider a range of factors before they ramp up production again, including the readiness of their suppliers, their logistics capacity, and changes in consumer-buying behavior. Before ramping up their operations, companies first need to have confidence that their own suppliers are ready to meet the demand. They can’t just issue purchase orders and expect business as usual. Here's the link to this IndustryWeek article.
 
6. The 2020 Census Count Is Lagging
According to the 2020 Census Count people, Georgia is lagging in its count of the 2020 U.S. Census as outreach workers struggle to reach people amid the coronavirus pandemic. As you know, the decennial count affects the state’s share of federal dollars given annually for a wide range of programs like Medicaid and Medicare, food stamps, housing vouchers, highway construction, child-care services, special education and more. Please encourage your employees to participate in this vital count.
 
7. Presidential & General Primaries
In the midst of this coronavirus shutdown, election officials are conducting the Presidential & General Primaries. Many voters have a choice – vote by mail or vote in person. Absentee ballot requests can be downloaded for this election any time before the end of the business day on Friday, June 5, 2020 from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website at: https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/absentee_voting_in_georgia. Then voters can fill out the request forms and mail, email or fax them to county election offices to be sent a ballot. Voters need to request absentee ballots so election officials know whether to send them a Democratic Party, Republican Party or nonpartisan ballot. Georgia is an open primary state, meaning any voter can participate in any party’s primary. Voters can return their completed absentee ballot request forms to county election officials at any time before the June 9 primary, but they should leave enough time for ballots to be mailed and returned. Voters can also deliver their ballots in person to county election offices. Ballots must be received by county election offices before polls close on Election Day to be counted. 
 
Early voting is ongoing at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Toccoa weekdays from 8 am-5 pm, through June 5, 2020 and also on Saturday May 30, 2020 from 9 am-4 pm. On primary election day, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, polls will be moved to the Stephens County Senior Center and will be open from 7 am-7 pm.
 
8. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred thirty-two (132) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 939
Positive Results: 99
Negative Results: 783
Pending Results: 57
  • The 84 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has two (2) patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, and four (4) who are hospitalized awaiting results.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 316
Positive Results: 37
Negative Results: 256
Pending Results: 23
 
9. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics. I have even posted all these daily Stephens County Updates to that webpage. If you need access to any previous update, embedded link, or attached document go to: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources.
 
COVID-19: 5/27 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Governor Kemp Has Appointed Working Groups to Plan School Reopenings
Six working groups of educators, public health officials and representatives of state agencies and nonprofits will lead the effort to safely reopen Georgia schools closed by the coronavirus pandemic. The 72 members will divide their responsibilities among working groups responsible for distance and professional learning; school meals; mental health and wellness; connectivity and devices; supplemental learning; and facilities, transportation and equipment. Schools across Georgia have been practicing distance learning since mid-March, when the governor closed the schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
 
2. How Facebook Has Adapted to Virtual Interviews—and Tips for Candidates
Not everyone is in the hiring mode yet and this link may not be of interest to everyone, and while it specifically relates to the process Facebook is using to hire and onboard candidates, there are takeaways for other companies to consider. Virtual interviewing and hiring may be in all of our futures.
 
3. Recruiting and hiring from afar, done right
Here's another article on the same subject from Deloitte Private and the Washington Business Journal. Welcome to the new reality of hiring, interviewing and onboarding in today’s social-distancing world.
 
4. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred twenty-nine  (129) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 909
Positive Results: 99
Negative Results: 783
Pending Results: 27
  • The 82 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has two (2) patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, and four (4) patients currently hospitalized awaiting results.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 307
Positive Results: 37
Negative Results: 256
Pending Results: 14
 
5. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce Services

In yesterday's update I included an item on the many services offered by our Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce. Since many of our local existing industries are already members of our nationally-accredited Chamber of Commerce and are taking advantage of the various services they offer, I did not include a link to use to join the Chamber. Here is the link to join: https://www.toccoagachamber.com/members. Our Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce is here to help! Contact President Julie Paysen, julie@toccoagachamber.com, for more details.

6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz.
 
COVID-19: 5/26 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce Services
Many of our local existing industries are already members of our nationally-accredited Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce and are taking advantage of the various services they offer. A new benefit now online is RevGenApps and Business Recovery Tools and Resources including a Getting Your Business Ready for Growth webinar. Your Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce is here to help! Contact President Julie Paysen, julie@toccoagachamber.com for more details.
 
2.  Georgia Reports Highest Unemployment Rate on Record  
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has announced an April preliminary unemployment rate of 11.9%. The number of unemployed increased from 342,601 to 581,820. April’s numbers represent the highest one-month recorded increase and also the highest total unemployment on record. Georgia’s April 2020 number of unemployed is more than 80,000 higher than the height of the Great Recession of 2009-2010.  Jobs were down 492,100 (-10.7 percent) over the month of April to 4,126,500, the lowest level since April 2014.  The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes the food services and drinking places and accommodation sectors, accounted for 206,700 of the job loss, 42 percent of the total. At this time, the GDOL career centers are remaining closed to the public. All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer phones, return emails, and assist applicants. The GDOL will open offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers. The GDOL is also continuing to work with employers to get Georgians back to work. Employers have been contacting the GDOL with job opportunities that are critical during this crisis – some in the workplace and others that can be done from home. Today, over 97,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs. Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at https://dol.georgia.gov/.
 
3. Best Practices For Reopening Manufacturing Facilities
In an effort to offer the manufacturing sectors some best practices on how companies can keep employees safe while keeping plants open, the Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, has released a new report: New Operational Practices to Consider in the Time of COVID-19

Manufacturers have been on the front lines throughout this crisis, and this guide leverages the experiences and real-world practices that manufacturers across America have put into place. The following are the sections in the report:
Facilities and Traffic Management
Shifts and Team Design
Site Access to Mitigate Exposure
Workstation Measures to Promote Social Distancing          
Leave Policies
Illness or Diagnosis Response
Essential Travel Policies
Returning Non Essential Workers
 
4. CDC Releases Resources to Assist States to Open
The CDC has released new resources to help states, localities, businesses, and community organizations operate as safely as possible. Here are some of the resources that may be of interest to counties:
Considerations for Youth Sports
 
5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred twenty-three (123) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 873
Positive Results: 95
Negative Results: 742
Pending Results: 36
  • The 81 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • Currently the hospital has two (2) patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19.
  • The hospital is also offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing through its outpatient lab by a doctor’s order. This is a blood test that may be able to show if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is not to show if you have an active infection. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or think you currently have COVID-19. The test may also not detect if you’ve been exposed in all cases because it can take at least two weeks after exposure for you to develop antibodies.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 293
Positive Results: 36
Negative Results: 243
Pending Results: 14
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/21 - Stephens County Update
 
1. GDOL Claims Conversion Program Instruction
I mentioned this in an email earlier this week, but here below is a flyer from the Georgia Department of Labor with information that will help employers who are filing partial unemployment claims for those employees who have been completely separated due to COVID-19.  
 
2. Tips from attorneys on mitigating the risk of being sued by an employee or customer after reopening
I'm not attorney and I'm not offering legal advice, but here are four tips you may want to discuss with your own legal counsel:
1) Consider the state guidelines as the floor, not the ceiling  to protect yourself from someone who says they caught coronavirus at your business.
2) Read — and understand — the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
3) Keep an "incident log," which will strengthen your case in the courtroom.
4) Make sure any incidents are reported to the right authorities, and be conscious of employee privacy.
 
3. Some Wage-and-Hour Traps to Consider
With the same disclaimer as above, here are some thoughts to consider as workers return to offices and plants:
  • Even little things may be payable: Employers must ensure their employees do not perform compensatory work off the clock.
  • Safety prep: Employers must pay for time spent on required temperature checks or donning protective gear.
  • Work breaks: Breaks of short duration, customarily five to 20 minutes, should be paid.
  • Overtime abuses: Even if an employee works overtime that was not authorized, it must still be paid.
  • Other abuses of working hours: Many companies have installed various tracking tools on their employees’ work devices to monitor their employees’ web activities throughout the day; this not only ensures that hourly employees are performing compensable work while clocked in, but it also allows companies to analyze their employees’ overall productivity and efficiency. But, before you do that, check with a lawyer about privacy concerns.
  • Furloughed workers: If salaried workers perform any work — even one 
  • minute, a single phone call, even one email — they must be paid.

    4. On the Lighter Side of Things
    A Canadian woman has come up with an ingenious way to safely hug her mother, even during the coronavirus pandemic: the "hug glove", a plastic tarp with four sleeves hanging from a clothesline.  
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 842
Positive Results: 92
Negative Results: 716
Pending Results: 34
  • Currently the hospital has no patients hospitalized at Stephens County Hospital with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, but they do have 1 patient currently hospitalized awaiting results.
  • The 74 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • The hospital is also offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing through its outpatient lab by a doctor’s order. This is a blood test that may be able to show if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is not to show if you have an active infection. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or think you currently have COVID-19. The test may also not detect if you’ve been exposed in all cases because it can take at least two weeks after exposure for you to develop antibodies.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 280
Positive Results: 36
Negative Results: 229
Pending Results: 15
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz.
 
COVID-19: 5/20 - Stephens County Update
 
1. GDOL Launches Claims Conversion Program for Employers
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler has announced the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) now has a program which will allow employer filed partial claims to be converted to individual claims. This new process will allow employees who are permanently terminated the opportunity to continue receiving benefits without interruption.

"It is our continuing goal to create workforce solutions," said GDOL Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "This program will allow employees who have been permanently laid off the opportunity to instantly convert their claim to an individual one ensuring continued benefits without having to refile their claim."

As employers reopen their businesses, many have had questions on the process for transitioning employees from unemployment back to employment. The GDOL will begin rolling out the Claims Conversion Program this week with a series of webinars explaining options for getting employees back to work. In the past, when an employer permanently laid off an employee, the employee then had to file an individual claim, a process now taking more than 30 days. With this new program, this conversion will be made immediately without the employee having to refile the claim. The Claims Conversion Program will outline the steps for employees working reduced hours, permanent layoffs, employee refusals to return to work, severance packages, and other employment challenges.

At this time, the GDOL career centers are remaining closed to the public. All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer phones, return emails, and assist applicants. The GDOL will open offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers.

The GDOL is also continuing to work with employers to get Georgians back to work. Employers have been contacting the GDOL with job opportunities that are critical during this crisis - some in the workplace and others that can be done from home. Today, over 101,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com

Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency's webpage at dol.georgia.gov.

2. COVID-19 Occupational Risk Score
Many individuals have been practicing social distancing by working from home in recent weeks. While this arrangement can be a great way to reduce one’s exposure to COVID-19, it’s a luxury that’s available to just 29% of Americans. The situation for the remaining 71% is uncertain, to say the least. A significant portion of the population has lost their jobs due to business shutdowns and mandated lockdown orders. Others employed in “essential services” have continued working as usual, but may face a higher risk of potential exposure to the virus.

This article and the infographic (attached to this email) leverages data from the Occupational Information Network to determine which occupations face the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19.
 
3. Interactive Map of Georgia Companies Producing Critical Supplies to Fight COVID-19
Georgia companies statewide have joined the fight against COVID-19 by providing critical supplies to front line workers and businesses to help ensure safe operations. We are proud of these companies and pleased to share with the public the searchable supply-specific interactive map, as well as a PDF version of the list. To view the latest PDF version of the Georgia Suppliers List, click the link below.
Georgia Suppliers List 
Select categories to filter the list of Georgia suppliers. Enter a city or zip code in the search menu to further narrow your search.
 
3. Guide to Parenting & Family Health During COVID-19
You have employees who are parents. Parents face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. Parenting is always a demanding job, and the pandemic raises the stakes even higher. Use these practical tips to guide your family through the COVID-19 crisis.

4. Unprecedented Absentee Ballot Returns

The Georgia State Election Board is reporting huge numbers of votes by absentee ballots for Georgia’s June 9 primary election. To date, over 1.4 million absentee ballots have been requested in Georgia, 1.3 million have been mailed to voters, and 360,000 have been returned. Only 36,000 absentee ballots were processed in Georgia’s last presidential primary. Please encourage your employees to vote.

5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred fourteen (114) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 811
Positive Results: 91
Negative Results: 704
Pending Results: 16
  • The 72 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered. 
  • The hospital currently has no patients hospitalized with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, but they do have 1 patient currently hospitalized who is awaiting results.
  • The hospital is also offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing through its outpatient lab by a doctor’s order. This is a blood test that may be able to show if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is not to show if you have an active infection. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or think you currently have COVID-19. The test may also not detect if you’ve been exposed in all cases because it can take at least two weeks after exposure for you to develop antibodies.  
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 280
Positive Results: 34
Negative Results: 232
Pending Results: 14
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/19 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Updated COVID-19 Guidance from the CDC
The CDC has released new, more detailed guidance on how states can safely allow businesses and schools to reopen their doors during the coronavirus pandemic. This guidance, while voluntary, is the most specific instruction yet from the federal government on how not to trigger an outbreak, as states push to reopen and most have already started to do so.

The guidelines, posted on the agency's website, include ones designed for businesses and workplaces as well as for schools and childcare programs and many other areas. 
The guidance includes various "decision tools" for specific institutions. Here are the broad areas and specific recommendations:
 

2. Updated guidance from the U.S. Small Business Administration

The SBA has released its much-anticipated instructions for how Paycheck Protection Program borrowers can see their loans forgiven.

3. Negotiation Tips from a Hostage Negotiator

The pandemic is forcing any number of difficult conversations, from landlord and vendor concessions to labor commitments. Who better to offer suggestions about how to have difficult, sensitive conversations than a hostage negotiator.

4. How to Relax and Be Confident on Zoom
A body language expert who’s worked with the likes of Google points out that body language influences how we feel and the feelings we generate in others—even during videoconferences.
 
5. Office Life Could Change When the Economy Reopens
The Robert Half HR consulting firm, through an independent research firm, surveyed 1,000 people from April 17-22, 2020: 
77% of whom said they were currently working from home,
79% of employees said their bosses need to allow them to work from home more frequently,
74% said they'd like to work remotely more than before the Covid-19 pandemic,
56% worry about being in close proximity to colleagues,
72% will rethink shaking hands with business contacts,
72% will schedule fewer in-person meetings,
61% will spend less time in common office areas,
59% will reconsider attending in-person business events,
57% will reconsider traveling for business,
73% think there will be fewer in-person social and team-building activities,
79% want their companies to clean better,
55% want to stagger employees' work schedules,
52% would require employees to wear masks,
46% would change the office layout,
63% realize their job is doable from home,
60% said their work-life balance has improved because they no longer have a commute,
43% have become more comfortable using technology,
20% said they're closer to colleagues, and 
19% are closer to their boss
 
6. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred-thirteen (113) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 780
Positive Results: 88
Negative Results: 677
Pending Results: 15
  • Currently, the Stephens County Hospital has no patients with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19, but they do have 5 patients hospitalized who are awaiting results.
  • The 64 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • The hospital is also offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing through its outpatient lab by a doctor’s order. This is a blood test that may be able to show if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is not to show if you have an active infection. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or think you currently have COVID-19. The test may also not detect if you’ve been exposed in all cases because it can take at least two weeks after exposure for you to develop antibodies.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 260
Positive Results: 34
Negative Results: 216
Pending Results: 10
 
7. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/18 - Stephens County Update
 
1. How are Manufacturers Dealing With the Coronavirus?
Recently IndustryWeek asked its audience to tell them about how they are being impacted by and addressing the coronavirus. Their idea was to collect specific tactics and practices manufacturing leadership is using to maintain safety and productivity, to share ideas that perhaps other facilities had not considered, and to remind everyone that we are all learning as we go. They conducted the survey from April 13-20 via email and social media requests. After light cleaning of the data from approximately 465 completed surveys, here, and attached below, is what they learned.
 
Here's the takeaway paragraph from the survey: "It is fair to say that IndustryWeek was at least a little surprised at the optimism of the answers—many manufacturers still working, fewer supply chain disruptions than we anticipated, and a very high percentage of respondents happy with the efforts being made by their companies. We also recognize however, that this survey is a snapshot in time, and events continue to unfold without warning. As one respondent noted: 'It's amazing to think that you have complete control but to find you have absolutely none.' We’ll do this survey again and track how sentiments and actions have changed."
 
2. A Regimen for Reentry
This is a lengthy article in The New Yorker, but it relates how health-care workers who have been on the job throughout the pandemic have successfully navigated this situation. Here's a takeaway from the article: "These lessons point toward an approach that we might think of as a combination therapy—like a drug cocktail. Its elements are all familiar: hygiene measures (wash your hands, even ten times a day), screening (for a new fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion or a runny nose), distancing (no large gatherings, limit time together, maintain separation), and masks (the basic logic is: I protect you; you protect me,). Each has flaws. Skip one, and the treatment won’t work. But, when taken together, and taken seriously, they shut down the virus." 
 
3. Thriving Industries & Companies
With all that's going on, have you wondered which industries are growing the fastest? Gazelle.ai did! And they put it all together for us in one data-driven infographic. Despite it all, there are numerous opportunities all around us. Here's advice to help you think creatively!  
 
4. How to collaborate and stay connected even when working from home
Our friends at Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) offer this advice.
 
5. You can get a gym-worthy core workout with paper plates!
Is your favorite gym closed? Here are five everyday household items that will turbocharge your living room exercise routine.
6. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of one hundred-seven (107) confirmed positive cases and two (2) reported deaths for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 759
Positive Results: 86
Negative Results: 661
Pending Results: 21
  • The 63 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • The hospital is also offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing through its outpatient lab by a doctor’s order. This is a blood test that may be able to show if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is not to show if you have an active infection. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or think you currently have COVID-19. The test may also not detect if you’ve been exposed in all cases because it can take at least two weeks after exposure for you to develop antibodies.  
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 250
Positive Results: 33
Negative Results: 198
Pending Results: 19
 
7. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/15 - Stephens County Update
1. Latest Executive Order from Governor Kemp
I previously shared a link to this recent order, but here are a few of the key aspects:
  • Governor Kemp extended the executive order keeping live performance venues, bars, and nightclubs closed through May 31, 2020. The continued closure of government-operated public swimming pools was not extended in this order. 
  • Regarding the safe reopening of state agencies such as GDEcD, the Department of Administrative Services is taking the lead.
  • Guidance will be issued to employees, contractors and constituents – and more detailed announcements will be made in the coming days on how the state will be phasing into limited, in-person operations at state agencies.
  • All Georgians must continue to follow social distancing, and gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned unless a space of least six feet can be maintained between each person.
  • The gatherings ban applies to all non-critical infrastructure businesses, local governments, and organizations of all types, including social groups, informal get-togethers, and recreational sports, just to name a few.
  • The list of requirements for non-critical infrastructure has been extended to also include a 22nd provision regarding those establishments that use volunteers. The list has been updated in Category 3 here.
  • Georgians and visitors are encouraged to wear face coverings in public, per CDC recommendations.
  • Do not put off health care appointments. Please follow a regular screening and vaccination schedule to stay healthy.
  • Additionally, COVID-19 testing is available for all Georgians, regardless of whether you have coronavirus symptoms. Anyone can call their local health department to get scheduled for testing. They can also download the Augusta University ExpressCare app, visit augustahealth.org, or call (706) 721-1852.
Additional details on the executive order:
  • This new executive order will increase the number of people allowed in a single classroom of a childcare facility from 10 to 20 people so long as staff-to-children ratios set by the Department of Early Care and Learning are also maintained.
  • New guidance was issued as part of the order for childcare facilities and summer day camps, which may begin on May 14, provided they follow 32 requirements.
  • Overnight summer camps are still prohibited at this time.
  • Some new provisions have been issued for gyms and fitness centers (classes are allowed, subject to strict social distancing and sanitation rules).
  • Restaurants may now allow 10 patrons per 300 square feet of space (a change from 10 patrons per 500 square feet) and increase the party size from six to 10 people per table.
Details on these changes and new requirements can be found on the FAQ page prepared by the state and is updated regularly.
 
More COVID-19 information:
  • To streamline contact tracing across the state, the Georgia Department of Public Health is rolling out a new online monitoring tool to assist with contact tracing. The Healthy Georgia Collaborative allows Georgians to identify contacts and monitor symptoms and will help map and isolate the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state.
  • If you are contacted by DPH staff, you are strongly encouraged to participate in the contact tracing program.
  • Governor Kemp has also announced a donation by AT&T to the Georgia Department of Education, Foundation for Public Education to deploy 448 Wi-Fi Rangers to 36 school districts, filling the internet connectivity gap for thousands of students in rural areas, and tripling the number of Wi-Fi buses in the state. For more information, click here.
2. Here's an updated listing of Georgia PPE suppliers
This list can be found on the GDEcD web site.
 
3. Digital Meeting Etiquette
The growing COVID-19 pandemic is changing our world and the way we conduct business on a day-to-day basis. Webinars and digital meetings are quickly becoming the norm, but for those who are new to this type of technology and meetings, it can be a bit of an adjustment. Whether you’re using Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, it helps to know proper webinar etiquette and best practices to make webinars and digital meetings run more smoothly. Check out this article.
 
4. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of ninety-four (94) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 759
Positive Results: 85
Negative Results: 651
Pending Results: 23
  • The 62 patients that have been treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • The hospital is also offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing through its outpatient lab by a doctor’s order. This is a blood test that may be able to show if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is not to show if you have an active infection. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or think you currently have COVID-19. The test may also not detect if you’ve been exposed in all cases because it can take at least two weeks after exposure for you to develop antibodies.  
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 242
Positive Results: 33
Negative Results: 195
Pending Results: 14
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 

COVID-19: 5/14 - Stephens County Update

1. Return-To-Work Checklist Considerations For Covid-19 
As state and local governments around the country begin relaxing social distancing restrictions, employers are faced with a new set of unprecedented challenges. In addition to navigating a labyrinth of inconsistent requirements imposed by local and state authorities, employers must be prepared to implement additional measures to keep employees and customers safe while staying legally compliant. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the Burr & Forman article and the PowerPoint pdf attached to this email outlines some considerations that all businesses should take into account when planning to return-to-work. 
 
Pay special attention to page 14 on the PowerPoint pdf and the section on Required Leave. It discusses the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which includes two provisions offering relief to employees needing time off for reasons related to COVID-19 namely the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). 
 
These attachments also make the point that pre-existing labor laws are not suspended, so pay close attention to current OSHA, NLRA, Title VII/ADEA/Equal Pay Act, and Non-COVID FMLA laws.
 
(Burr & Forman’s experienced legal team serves as trusted business advisors and legal counsel to clients in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.)
 
Including this information on this email does not constitute an endorsement of this particular service or firm. Please continue to follow the guidance of your own advisors.
 
2. Georgia Department of Public Health Expands Reporting

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has added more reports and data to the COVID-19 Daily Status Report including positive case and death graphs by county, a daily long term care report, the GEMA daily report, a CSV file of the data, a What’s New feature and a guide to understanding the data.

3. Presidential Summation of Federal COVID-19 Response

I came across this five-page summation of federal responses to COVID-19 from President Donald Trump’s office. It lists the various programs from federal agencies such as HHS, SBA, USDT, HUD, DOL, DoED, USDA, DOT, VA, DOS, and DOJ.

4. Losing your motivation to exercise as the pandemic drags on? Here’s how to get it back.
I won't link to the Washington Post article as it is behind a paywall, but here are the main points: Be kind to yourself, give yourself some grace. Set new goals that account for your circumstances and priorities. Stay accountable, keep a chart and check a box for every day you work out. Look forward; don't focus on how you feel now, but on how energized you'll be after you exercise.
 
5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of ninety-four med positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 741
Positive Results: 81
Negative Results: 625
Pending Results: 35
  • There are currently no patients hospitalized at Stephens County Hospital with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19
  • The 59 patients that were treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered. 
  • SCH is now offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing through its outpatient lab by a doctor’s order. This is a blood test that may be able to show if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is not to show if you have an active infection. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or think you currently have COVID-19. The test may also not detect if you’ve been exposed in all cases because it can take at least two weeks after exposure for you to develop antibodies.
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 231
Positive Results: 33
Negative Results: 189
Pending Results: 9
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 

COVID-19: 5/13 - Stephens County Update

1. Gov. Kemp keeps bars, nightclubs closed until month’s end; issues new restaurant rules
Georgia bars and nightclubs will have to remain closed and businesses will have to continue to follow state safety guidelines until at least the end of the month, Gov. Brian Kemp announced in a news conference yesterday.

Kemp signed a new executive order outlining the rules and guidelines as the state continues to reopen. In his new order, Kemp is expanding the number of people allowed in restaurants. He’s allowing more children to be in daycare classes and the reopening of summer day camps beginning May 14, if they follow CDC guidelines.  

Kemp also urged Georgians who test positive for COVID-19 to participate in a contact tracing program. Anyone who tests positive will get a call from the Department of Public Health. They want patients to help them track this virus so state officials can get ahead of it.
 
2. Georgia Chief Justice extends statewide state of emergency through June 12
Georgia’s chief justice Harold Melton has again extended the statewide judicial emergency through June 12 in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, continuing his bar of jury trial and grand juries in most instances. The latest extension is needed because “most court facilities are not prepared to comply with social distancing and other public health requirements to safeguard the health of litigants, lawyers, judges, court personnel, and the public during extensive in-court proceedings or proceedings involving a large number of people.” He added “that most courts have continued some non-essential court operations, in particular by using technology to conduct proceedings remotely.”
 
3. Goodwill of North Georgia to reopen all of its stores

Goodwill of North Georgia is ready to get back to work — and help others do the same. Goodwill has been closed for nearly eight weeks because of the Covid-19 pandemic. On May 6, it reopened 21 of its 65 stores, as well as four of its 13 career centers. On May 13, It will open the remaining locations.

To prepare for workers and customers, staff conducted deep cleanings at all of the facilities. That plan also included using an "eco-friendly misting process endorsed by federal health authorities" on all merchandise and throughout its locations. As part of Goodwill's gradual reopening, it's asking consumers not to bring donations yet.

4. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of ninety-three (93) confirm for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 713
Positive Results: 81
Negative Results: 619
Pending Results: 13

Additional Stephens County Hospital (SCH) Updates

  • SCH currently has no patients hospitalized at Stephens County Hospital with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19
  • 56 patients treated for COVID-19 at Stephens County Hospital or Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Clinics have now fully recovered.
  • The drive-through testing site at SCH will be discontinued. This is largely due to the declining number of people coming through this testing site. If you had previously planned on using this testing site, contact WorkWell Occupational Medicine & Immediate Care Clinic at 706-282-5815 to arrange testing which can be done Monday – Friday. Testing is also available at Stephens County Hospital Physician Group Internal Medicine for patients of that practice and at Currahee Pediatrics for pediatric patients of that practice.
  • Contact Carmen Kisner, RN, the Stephens County Infection Control Director, at 706-282-4497 if you would like to schedule testing at your place of business. There is no cost to obtain the test. If you have insurance, the hospital will submit charges to your insurance with no out-of-pocket cost and if you don’t have insurance, the government is reimbursing the hospital for the cost, so don’t worry about inability to pay for COVID-19 assessments, testing, or treatment.
     
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 224
Positive Results: 31
Negative Results: 182
Pending Results: 9
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 

COVID-19: 5/12 - Stephens County Update

1.Gov. Kemp asks all Georgians, even those with no symptoms, to be screened for Covid-19
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has released new guidelines that includes prioritizing testing of people with no symptoms and the state is following the recommendation, said Governor Kemp. Kemp also said the state is now working on lab capacity after the recent surge in testing strained resources and slowed processing of the tests.
The Stephens County Hospital has the capacity to do these recommended screens. Carmen Kisner, RN, the Stephens County Infection Control Director, is the point of contact (706-282-4497). There is no cost to obtain the test. If you have insurance, the hospital will submit charges to your insurance with no out-of-pocket cost and if you don’t have insurance, the government is reimbursing the hospital for the cost, so don’t worry about inability to pay for COVID-19
assessments, testing, or treatment.
The hospital can come to your place of business and conduct the tests.
 
2. Contact Tracers
The Georgia Department of Public Health is now hiring temporary “contact tracers” to call those who have tested positive for Covid-19, find out who they have been in contact with and then call those people to guide them on testing and quarantine protocols. The contact tracing is key in identifying everyone in a community who may be infected, Toomey said.  
To halt the spread of covid-19 as states reopen, the country needs a network of contact tracers — people who are trained to track and notify possibly infected individuals and map their exposures to others. “Contact tracers are … part detective, part therapist and part social worker,” said one epidemiologist. To address the need, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health designed an online course. Here's how you can take it and help fight the spread.
 
3. Employer Filed Partial Claims Information from GDOL
The Georgia Department of Labor has provided the following guidelines as you and your employees return to work.

GDOL encourages employers to work with their employees on plans to return to work. When business operations resume to normal operations as it was prior to the COVID-19 crisis, employers should discontinue submitting employer-filed partial claims for any employee who returns to their regular normal work schedule and is earning more than the weekly benefit amount (WBA) plus $300.

However, GDOL understands some businesses will gradually return to full operation and many of their employees will be brought back to work on reduced hours. In these cases, the employees are eligible to continue to receive unemployment benefits. Employers are strongly encouraged to continue to submit weekly employer filed partial claims during this period.

Examples
For example, if you bring your employees back to work gradually and Employee A is working 30 hours a week at $15 an hour, you would report his/her earnings for the week as $450. If Employee A is receiving $250 per week from the GDOL in regular state unemployment benefits, you would add the $300 exemption amount and the $250 weekly benefit amount from the GDOL yielding $550. Since they earned $450 from the employer for the week and that is less than the $550, Employee A would still be eligible for $100 in state benefits and the additional $600 per week in federal benefits.

If Employee B is working 30 hours a week at $30 an hour, you would report his/her earnings for the week at $900. If Employee B is receiving $325 per week from the GDOL, you would add the $300 exemption amount and the $325 weekly benefit amount yielding $625. Since they are earning more from the employer at $900 than the allowed amount of $625 to receive benefits, Employee B would not be eligible for state benefits or the additional $600 per week in federal benefits.

If a decision is made to permanently lay off employees, GDOL strongly encourages employers to continue to submit weekly employer filed partial claims on their behalf until further instructions are provided by the GDOL. The GDOL is currently developing a process where employers will be able to identify on the employer filed partial claim spreadsheet those employees permanently laid off. This transition will keep individual claimants from having to refile his/her claim starting the process over again. The claimant will be notified to begin requesting their own weekly unemployment payments.
 
4. Tax professionals break down other CARES Act options
If a company doesn’t qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program loan or has yet to receive approval from a bank, there are other options outlined in coronavirus legislation designed to free up cash for organizations of all sizes. Check out this article that covers the Employee Retention Credit, Payroll Tax Deferral Program, Net Operating Loss Carryover Provisions, and Qualified Improvement Property Depreciation. 
 
5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of ninety-two (92) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 689
Positive Results: 81
Negative Results: 601
Pending Results: 7
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 222
Positive Results: 31
Negative Results: 184
Pending Results: 7
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 

COVID-19: 5/11 - Stephens County Update

1. Want To Reopen Your Building? Here's A Post-Pandemic Shopping List To Get Ready.
Office space will be reinvented in a post-pandemic environment, but the immediate needs of office occupants will be more straightforward: equipment necessary to provide safe environments for workers returning to offices over the next weeks and months. The supplies office owners and property managers say they need or want varies from the basics — sanitizing stations, better air filtration and social distancing signage — to the high-tech. But how much will outfitting these buildings cost, and which products make sense to buy together? Which are necessities and which are luxuries? Bisnow Commercial Real Estate News set out to create a sort of shopping list of such equipment — not comprehensive, but a starting point showing what options are available and a rough guide to their cost. The products and companies mentioned are examples meant to illustrate our new reality, and are not meant as endorsements or recommendations. Here is the link to the article.

2. More Reopening Advice

As more businesses across the country reopen, the volume of resources for best practices on how to do that continues to grow.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore has released a toolkit to help businesses figure out how to reopen safely following weeks of shutdown.

Design firm Mackenzie of Portland, Oregon, has developed a guide that promotes such ideas as limiting visitor access to workspaces, creating one-way traffic flows at entrances and shutting down every other restroom sink when they’re less than six feet apart.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. has produced a 60-page pdf called SAFE Retail that includes tips — and even ready-to-print signs — that could help other retailers get back to work.

An article dated May 8, 2020 in the Atlanta Business Chronicle suggested these six things to consider before reopening: 1. Review your contracts and agreements, 2. Create a planning team, 3. Decide on procedures for screening and social distancing, 4. Create proper signage and waivers, 5. Decide how to bring employees back to work, and 6. Document your policies.

3. How to Reinvent Your Company Events

Some companies are starting to plan for their next in-person gathering, whenever that may be. Needless to say, event planners — and public health professionals — have plenty of advice for next steps. Read on for what they say. As you might imagine, WHO has published additional guidance: Key Planning Recommendations for Mass Gatherings.
 
4. Toccoa Falls College Announces Plans for Fall Semester

Toccoa Falls College President, Dr. Bob Myers encourages new freshman and transfer students that TFC plans to be “back in business” for Fall 2020!

TFC joined many other schools in moving courses fully online in March after the COVID-19 outbreak. The majority of students returned to their homes where virtual instruction was utilized to complete the Spring semester.

Toccoa Falls College is beginning to strategize what life will look like for new and returning students. The safety of TFC students, faculty, and staff is the top priority moving forward into this unprecedented season. Details and safety updates based on the ever-changing health crisis will be released throughout the summer.

TFC Admissions plans to re-open for prospective student visits June 1st with safety precautions in place. Until then feel free to check out the TFC Virtual Campus Tour at tfc.edu/virtual.

4. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of ninety-one (91) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 663
Positive Results: 80
Negative Results: 563
Pending Results: 20
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 215
Positive Results: 29
Negative Results: 176
Pending Results: 10
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 

COVID-19: 5/8 - Stephens County Update

1. Stephens County Hospital Update
The hospital is continuing its drive-through testing site which is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9 AM to 3 PM. So far, they’ve tested 94 people through that drive-through testing site which opened last Wednesday. They will continue to offer that service for the community. You’ll need a doctor’s order to be tested, and you can get that from your primary care provider, or from the hospital's WorkWell Immediate Care Clinic. There is no cost to obtain an order from our WorkWell clinic or from any of our primary care providers and there is no cost to be tested, but you do need to have that doctor’s order when you arrive at the testing site. If you have insurance, we will submit charges to your insurance with no out-of-pocket cost and if you don’t have insurance, the government is reimbursing us for the cost, so don’t worry about inability to pay for COVID-19 assessments, testing, or treatment.
 
2. Recordkeeping Requirements for COVID-19 Cases
OSHA has released a recordkeeping resource for businesses to track and record employees who contract COVID-19. 

READ MORE >>>  

3. Department of Insurance Guidelines for COVID-19 Job and Insurance Coverage Loss
This bulletin from the Georgia Office of Insurance is intended to direct Georgians who lose their jobs towards resources that may provide health insurance coverage.

4. Internet Access Resources Updated

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has updated its broadband resources website. It includes a map of free public WIFI locations and listing of companies and the free services or discounts they’re offering. This may be of particular interest to employees and their at-home and mobile situations! Here's the link: https://broadband.georgia.gov/options-internet-mobile-phone

5. Tips for Tracking Your Temperature

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield provides the following information. People who develop COVID-19 can experience a wide range of symptoms. One of the main symptoms is fever, or having a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. For those exposed or those with loved ones at highest risk for severe illness for COVID-19, tracking your temperature each day can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among loved ones, coworkers and communities. The earlier you become aware of a fever, the quicker you can isolate yourself from others and talk to a doctor.

Who should track their temperature?
There are certain circumstances where tracking your temperature is important to help keep those around you safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you track your temperature if:
  1. You are an essential worker. If you are required to go to work because you are considered an essential employee or work in an essential industry, your employer may take your temperature before you start each shift. You should also regularly watch for symptoms at home, which includes taking your temperature each day.
  2. You have been in contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19. This includes contact in the 48 hours before their symptoms first began. You should isolate yourself for 14 days, take your temperature twice a day to monitor for fever and self-monitor for other symptoms, including coughing or shortness of breath.
Thermometer options
There are a variety of thermometer types, including digital, liquid-in-glass (mercury), noncontact (touchless infrared) and disposable dot matrix or phase-change (single use). When you use a thermometer to take your body temperature at home, be sure to follow the specific instructions for using and cleaning that thermometer.

To track your temperature and symptoms over several days, you can use this log from the CDC. Mobile apps like Body Temperature Recorder are also popular.

Suggestions for accuracy
For an accurate temperature reading:
  1. Wait 30 minutes after eating, drinking or exercising before taking your temperature.
  2. Wait six hours after taking fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, before taking your temperature.
  3. If you use a liquid-in-glass thermometer, hold the tip under your tongue near the back of your mouth. Do not bite down.
If you want to learn what to do if you develop a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, visit the CDC.
 
6. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of ninety-one (91) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 657
Positive Results: 75
Negative Results: 547
Pending Results: 35
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 211
Positive Results: 29
Negative Results: 165
Pending Results: 17
 
7. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/7 - Stephens County Update
 
1. SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Residents of Georgia
Several of our existing industries were impacted by the April 12-13, 2020 severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds. Stephens County E-911 Director Danielle Rhodes has informed us that “following the Presidential disaster declaration for several counties in South Carolina affected by severe storms, tornadoes and straight-line winds on April 12-13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced businesses and residents in the declared area can now apply for low-interest disaster loans.” Several Georgia counties (Burke, Effingham, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun, Richmond, Screven and Stephensare also eligible for SBA assistance. SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center/Business Recovery Center (VDLOC/VBRC) to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ and there are virtual customer support representatives available to assist applicants with completing the online application. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
 
2. Layoffs Can Bring Litigation

Dismissing an employee is rarely easy. Doing it during a pandemic adds to the challenge for an employer because of potential legal ramifications from any missteps.

“The risk of making mistakes in this environment is much higher than when employers have more time to roll out reductions in force,” said Brett Painter, a partner in the employment and labor group at Denver-based law firm Davis Graham & Stubbs, speaking to the Denver Business Journal.

Companies are making a host of snap decisions in hopes of staying afloat. It’s when those decisions don’t give employees their just due that executives can run into trouble.

Among the counsel from attorneys to make sure you proceed correctly:

  • Document why layoffs are needed.
  • Don’t forget about Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices.
  • Talk to employees if they don’t want to return to work and you receive a PPP loan.
  • Consider how to rehire employees.
  • Address employee health concerns.
  • Don’t forget about union rules.
3. Burger, Fries and Social Distancing

If you haven’t yet ventured to your favorite restaurant, what might it look like when it reopens? Here are some of the safety-first measures being implemented by Ohio-based Piada Italian Street Food, which has 40 restaurants in seven states, by way of example:

  • Employees get a health-check questionnaire before clocking in.
  • 20-minute timers alert employees to re-clean the dining room.
  • No paper menus or self-serve utensil and beverage stations.
  • Chair legs zip tied to tables so spacing can’t be modified.

“The things that we have in place are going to be the minimum requirements for every state,” Executive Chef Matt Harding told Columbus Business First. “We built our platform for reopening on a platform of trust. So if we’re going to choose something, we’re going to choose it so the guests will choose to trust us more.”

Another example of what you might see can be found in Milwaukee, where Adam Pawlak’s Egg & Flour Pasta Bar has turned to partitions as a measure to promote safety. Plastic dividers are being installed between tables and between the dining area and kitchen of the open-concept restaurant.

4. Also in the Headlines:

• Three of every five businesses in and around Buffalo, New York, say they will postpone investments because of the economic damage of the coronavirus, adding that some of those decisions may be permanent. The input comes from a survey of 1,800 companies by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and 20 local chambers and economic development organizations.

• Trying to stave off the devaluation of your business? Here are checklists for both financial and nonfinancial steps you can take.  

5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of ninty-one (91) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 612
Positive Results: 66
Negative Results: 502
Pending Results: 44
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 202
Positive Results: 28
Negative Results: 158
Pending Results: 16
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics. I have even posted all these daily Stephens County Updates to that webpage. If you need access to any previous update, embedded link, or attached document go to: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources.
 
COVID-19: 5/6 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Business Impact of COVID-19 Toccoa-Stephens County
Today is the last day this survey is open!
Everyone is scrambling to manage their business in response to COVID-19. All of us are overwhelmed with a flood of information that can change quickly.  Numbers are critically important to tell the collective story of the COVID-19 virus impact on our local business community. Our numbers help detail the reality for decision makers. Leaders locally, regionally, and nationally are acting on assumptions. With your help, we can give them real numbers.
Take the Survey Now.
As a business executive, we would very much appreciate your input. It will take about seven (7) minutes to complete the survey. Your responses are absolutely confidential. Responses will only be reported in aggregate. The aggregate results of this survey will be used to inform local and state elected officials, government agencies, and others of the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 virus here. This survey will be open until Wednesday, May 6, 2020 and then will be conducted again in a couple of weeks as things are changing quickly. Thank you for your support!
Take the Survey Now.
 
2. Perspectives from Washington, D.C.
As you might expect, I'm trying to monitor a variety of agencies and entities to gather information that might be pertinent to businesses and industries in Toccoa-Stephens County. Tomorrow morning I will be on a call with a federal team of experts to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. This call will provide updates on a variety of topics related to COVID-19, including an overview of stimulus packages to date, health, hospitals, agriculture, SBA specifics and a Republican/ Democrat perspective on future stimulus packages. If you have any questions for this team of experts, please email them to me by close of business today. I'll submit them and hopefully get an answer which I'll share with you.
 
3. Reopening Costs Add Up

Reopening plans continue to take shape across the country — whether it’s on a statewide basis or at an individual-company level (Starbucks).

What’s unquestioned is that reopenings will be costly. Businesses will need to undergo deep and daily cleanings, which won't be a minimal expense. Companies will have to ask what their post-pandemic business will look like from a financial perspective and what capital will be needed to reopen despite revenue not matching expenses. 

4. Also in the Headlines:

• Labor and employment lawyers from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in St. Louis outlined in a teleconference for clients 12 things to know and do when reopening your workplace.

• A consultant and venture-investment business executive says to forget the “new normal” everyone is talking about. Instead, Jonathan Aberman of Amplifier Ventures writes, “We need to accept that we live in the What’s Next Economy.”

5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of eighty-eight (88) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 612
Positive Results: 66
Negative Results: 502
Pending Results: 44
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 192
Positive Results: 26
Negative Results: 148
Pending Results: 18
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
COVID-19: 5/5 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Business Impact of COVID-19 Toccoa-Stephens County
Everyone is scrambling to manage their business in response to COVID-19. All of us are overwhelmed with a flood of information that can change quickly.  Numbers are critically important to tell the collective story of the COVID-19 virus impact on our local business community. Our numbers help detail the reality for decision makers. Leaders locally, regionally, and nationally are acting on assumptions. With your help, we can give them real numbers.
Take the Survey Now.
As a business executive, we would very much appreciate your input. It will take about seven (7) minutes to complete the survey. Your responses are absolutely confidential. Responses will only be reported in aggregate. The aggregate results of this survey will be used to inform local and state elected officials, government agencies, and others of the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 virus here. This survey will be open until Wednesday, May 6, 2020 and then will be conducted again in a couple of weeks as things are changing quickly. Thank you for your support!
Take the Survey Now.
 
2. A “Now, Next, Later” Approach for Dealing with Pandemic Challenges
The coronavirus pandemic is driving companies to focus on near-term survival and long-term supply chain changes. 
Read the whole Area Development magazine story here.


3. List of Georgia PPE Suppliers Now Available
Many Georgia companies have joined the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by providing critical health care supplies to those on the front lines of this fight: health care workers, first responders and law enforcement, food service industry employees, logistics workers, and reopening small businesses. The Georgia Department of Economic Development has assembled this list of providers and is making it accessible to the public. To view the latest version of the Georgia Suppliers List, click here.

4. Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton Extends Judicial State of Emergency to June 12

I know this is not specifically manufacturing related, but it does give a sense of what is going on in the mind of others as we try to come out of the various shut down orders. Chief Justice Harold Melton announced yesterday he will extend the Statewide Judicial Emergency through June 12, 2020.  Under the new extension order, all criminal and jury trials will continue to be suspended and courts will be barred from summoning and impaneling new trial and grand juries. The Supreme Court of Georgia also provided references related to the operations of courts during the pandemic.

5. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of eighty-eight (88) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 569
Positive Results: 64
Negative Results: 477
Pending Results: 28
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 189
Positive Results: 26
Negative Results: 148
Pending Results: 15
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz.
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics. I have even posted all these daily Stephens County Updates to that webpage. If you need access to any previous update, embedded link, or attached document go to: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources
 
COVID-19: 5/4 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Business Impact of COVID-19 Toccoa-Stephens County
Everyone is scrambling to manage their business in response to COVID-19. All of us are overwhelmed with a flood of information that can change quickly.  Numbers are critically important to tell the collective story of the COVID-19 virus impact on our local business community. Our numbers help detail the reality for decision makers. Leaders locally, regionally, and nationally are acting on assumptions. With your help, we can give them real numbers.
Take the Survey Now.
As a business executive, we would very much appreciate your input. It will take about seven (7) minutes to complete the survey. Your responses are absolutely confidential. Responses will only be reported in aggregate. The aggregate results of this survey will be used to inform local and state elected officials, government agencies, and others of the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 virus here. This survey will be open until Wednesday, May 6, 2020 and then will be conducted again in a couple of weeks as things are changing quickly. Thank you for your support!
Take the Survey Now.
 
2.  What Manufacturers are Saying – and Doing
IndustryWeek conducted a survey to collect specific tactics and practices manufacturing leadership is using to maintain safety and productivity. Here is what they discovered.
 
3. It's Time to Myth-Bust Some Coronavirus Talking Points

If there’s anything that spreads even faster than the coronavirus, it's bad information. Here is a series of true or false questions divided by category.
Click on the boxes to reveal the answers.

4. Georgians Urged to Wear Face Coverings to Fight COVID-19

Governor Brian Kemp and Dr. Kathleen Toomey issued a press release last Friday urging Georgians to wear a face covering in public settings, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

5. Helping with Seniors' Mental Health
This is the most helpful page on the subject of the mental health of our senior citizens that I've seen.
 
6. What Businesses Need to Know about COVID-19 Posters
Do you need some artful posters in English and Spanish to hang in your break rooms or team meeting areas? Please find them attached. 
 
6. More COVID-19 Posters
And speaking of posters, Canon Copiers and local Canon dealer Duplicating Products have developed seven COVID-19 posters: Avoid Close Contact; Clean and Disinfect; Clean Your Hands Often; Cover Coughs; Prevent the Spread; Stay Home; and Wear a Facemask. Here is a link to a Dropbox with the PDF files.
 
7. Stephens County Update

The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of eighty-seven (87) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 515
Positive Results: 61
Negative Results: 428
Pending Results: 26
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 174
Positive Results: 26
Negative Results: 123
Pending Results: 25
 
8. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics. I have even posted all these daily Stephens County Updates to that webpage. If you need access to any previous update, embedded link, or attached document go to: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources

If you’re reading this because someone forwarded it to you, welcome! Send me your email address and I'll send it directly to you so you can stay one step ahead in this unprecedented time.
 
COVID-19: 5/1 - Stephens County Update
 
1. Statewide Shelter-In-Place Order Expired Last Night at Midnight
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced April 30 that the state’s shelter-in-place order for most Georgians will expire April 30, 2020 at midnight, although he is urging residents to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Businesses able to reopen will be required to follow safety guidelines, including social distancing and sanitization rules through May 13, 2020 to keep customers and employees safe. Those rules vary by business type for a measured, health-driven approach.

Additionally, he has formally extended the Public Health State of Emergency through June 12, 2020 to continue enhanced testing across Georgia, ramp up contact tracing, and maintain effective emergency response operations in every region of the state.

image.png
 
2. Business Impact of COVID-19 Toccoa-Stephens County
Everyone is scrambling to manage their business in response to COVID-19. All of us are overwhelmed with a flood of information that can change quickly.  Numbers are critically important to tell the collective story of the COVID-19 virus impact on our local business community. Our numbers help detail the reality for decision makers. Leaders locally, regionally, and nationally are acting on assumptions. With your help, we can give them real numbers.
Take the Survey Now.
As a business executive, we would very much appreciate your input. It will take about seven (7) minutes to complete the survey. Your responses are absolutely confidential. Responses will only be reported in aggregate. The aggregate results of this survey will be used to inform local and state elected officials, government agencies, and others of the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 virus here. This survey will be open until Wednesday, May 6, 2020 and then will be conducted again in a couple of weeks as things are changing quickly. Thank you for your support!
Take the Survey Now.
 
3. Return to Business and Post-Pandemic Checklist
Getting started with your return-to-business plan involves a comprehensive understanding of your business and how it fits into the new legal landscape. The foundation of a successful plan contemplates the people involved (both your workforce and the leaders of your business functions from HR to communications), the place of work (including health and safety and continuing requirements around social distancing), and elements of business (such as stimulus, taxes, insurance and more). This checklist provides a roadmap to navigating those issues, with three overarching themes:

Past experience should inform future decisions. Tackling the shutdown and reacting to the pandemic was brand new for all of us, but it also gave us tools to prepare for the nation’s reopening—leveraging lessons learned during the pandemic will position you for a smoother transition back to work.
Plan, plan, then plan again. Guidance is constantly changing (as are local, state, and national directives), so implement appropriate social distancing and health and safety measures now, but stay flexible, knowing that you will need to revisit and retweak your return to work plan many times over the coming days, weeks, and months.
This is a NEW normal. Return to business is not a return to normal—and may never be. How has the pandemic impacted your business goals, and what is the impact of that on who you want to return to work and when?

This planning checklist covers the following topics:
Selecting Employees to Return to Work        
Finding Your Workplace’s New Normal  
What Logistical Concerns Must Be Addressed Before Bringing Your People Back?
When an Employee says “No”: Refusals to Return to Work and Requests to Continue Telework  
Benefits and Executive Compensation
Customers, Vendors, and Visitors            
Planning for Future Outbreaks  
Physical Space Coordination      
Social Distancing At Work            
Business Travel
Keeping Clean and Safe: OSHA and Beyond        
Covering Up: PPE            
What to Do When OSHA, the Police, or a Public Health Official Stops By
Economic Stimulus Loan and Forgiveness Programs        
Taxes, Including Credits and Deferrals    
Insurance Policies and Claims    
Contracts, Including Supply Chain and Vendor Commitments      
Credit and Liquidity        
Corporate Governance
Workouts and Distressed Situations      
 
Seyfarth Shaw LLP is an international law firm with more than 900 lawyers across 16 offices. Seyfarth provides advisory, litigation, and transactional legal services to clients worldwide.
 
4. Georgia Suppliers of Critical Items to Fight COVID-19
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) has collected information from Georgia companies that are producing essential medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The product information and addresses were submitted by private companies to GDEcD, and this list does not constitute an endorsement of any particular company or product by the State or by GDEcD. GDEcD does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of this information, or as to the quality or quantity of the products offered by these companies. Buyers are encouraged to contact the companies directly, for product specifications, delivery options, and other information required for executing a purchase. Here is the link to the Georgia PPE suppliers list.

5. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of seventy-nine (79) confirmed positive cases and one (1) reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 476
Positive Results: 56
Negative Results: 385
Pending Results: 35
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 167
Positive Results: 26
Negative Results: 118
Pending Results: 23
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 
COVID-19: 4/30 — Stephens County Update
 
1. Advice for Business Restarts
If you’re thinking about reopening your business, the following resources could be worth a look:
From the EEOC: What you should know about Covid-19 and the ADA, Rehabilitation Act and other EEO laws.
From maintenance and disaster-response professionals: Best practices to keep workplaces clean and sanitized.
From attorneys: What employers should know about testing for coronavirus.
 
2. Preparing for the Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Maintenance Operations “Thaw” Webinar by IndustryWeek
Join this webinar to help tackle questions like: What have you learned from operating during COVID-19? What do your short-, mid- and long-term plans in the aftermath look like? What can you do to set yourself up for a successful transition to the “new normal”? IndustryWeek will share tools you can implement now to report on and analyze your work, improve operations to maximize staff efficiency and optimize workflow.
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT
Duration: 1 Hour
Event Type: Live Webinar
Cost: Free  
 
3. Federal Coronavirus Relief Action
U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler's Office has prepared a summary of the CARES Act and various other federal programs. Here is a link to that website. Additionally, Field Representative Davis Warnell welcomes questions and comments. He may be reached at Davis_Warnell@loeffler.senate.gov or 706-834-2322.

4. The April 2020 Safety Theme Flyer 
This month's safety flyer is entitled Home Safety for Today and Every Day. Please find it attached to this email.
 
5. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of seventy-three (73) confirmed positive cases and one reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 472
Positive Results: 54
Negative Results: 333
Pending Results: 85
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 157
Positive Results: 24
Negative Results: 105
Pending Results: 28
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
COVID-19: 4/29 — Stephens County Update
 
1. Stephens County Hospital Drive Thru Testing Site
A drive thru testing site will open today on the Stephens County Hospital (SCH) campus. A doctor's order will be required for testing to be performed. Individuals will be tested in their car, and they should plan to bring a photo ID and insurance card. There will be no copays collected and the hospital will not balance bill any patient. SCH will file insurance for those that have it, but insurance is not required to be tested. SCH will test anyone with a physician's order and is hoping to be able to provide better access to testing in this community especially to those who may not be able to travel to Hall County which is the closest state run testing site. 
 
SCH is planning to host drive thru testing from 9 am to 3 pm, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday weather permitting. They plan to do this for a couple of weeks then reassess the need at that point. Hours and days may be adjusted depending on the need identified.

Results are back anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. Most of the time they are getting them in 24 to 36 hours. They are using an outside lab and turn around times are dependent on their volumes. If there are any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to reach out to Carmen Kisner, the Director of Infection Control at carmen.kisner@stephenscountyhospital.com, or 706-282-4497. She will be helping with testing today and Friday so her availability will be limited. 
 
2. Georgia Logistics Market Snapshot
The Georgia Centers of Innovation (COI) are the state’s leading resource for facilitating business innovation. Through the assistance of the five centers (Aerospace, Energy Technology, Information Technology, Logistics, and Manufacturing), Georgia companies translate new ideas and technologies into commercially viable products and services to better compete in the global marketplace. The Center for Logistics prepares a monthly snapshot that includes data for the U.S. MARKET: Gross Domestic Product, U.S. Trade Deficit, Import Volumes, Import & Export Price Index, Unemployment Rate, Labor Force Participation Rate, Leading Economic Index, Housing Starts, Light Vehicle Sales, Personal Income, Retail Sales, E-Commerce, Consumer Confidence, Consumer & Producer Price Index, Small Business Optimism Index, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization, Manufacturing & Trade Sales, Manufacturing & Trade Inventory, Purchasing Managers Index, Purchasing Managers Index in the Southeast, and U.S. Market News MULTIMODAL: Dow Jones Transportation Index, NASDAQ Transportation Index, DOT Freight Transportation Service Index, Cass Freight Index, Shippers Conditions Index, North American Transborder Freight, and Multimodal News Clips RAIL: U.S. Freight Rail Traffic, U.S. Intermodal Rail Traffic, Railroad Fuel Price Index, Class 1 Railroad Employment, and Railroad News Clips TRUCKING: Truck Tonnage Index, Truckload Freight, Refrigerated Trucking, Trucking Conditions Index, Diesel Prices, Trucking Employment, Trucking Earnings and Hours, U.S. Truck & Trailer Orders (Class 8), and Trucking News Clip AIR FREIGHT: Air Cargo Traffic, Air Freight Price Index, Jet Fuel Prices, and Air Freight News Clips OCEAN FREIGHT: Import Volumes by Ocean, Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, Port of Savannah, Port of Brunswick, and Ocean Freight Business News WAREHOUSING & DISTRIBUTION: Industrial Vacancy, Warehouse Rent Rates, Industrial Absorption, Warehouse Employment, Warehouse Earnings and Hours, and W&D Business News. I have linked here to the April 2020 report. If you like it, you can subscribe to it for free.
 
3. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of seventy-three (73) confirmed positive cases and one reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 240
Positive Results: 28
Negative Results: 149
Pending Results: 63
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 113
Positive Results: 18
Negative Results: 86
Pending Results: 9
 
4. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 
 

COVID-19: 4/28 - Stephens County Update

1. Remarks from Governor Kemp’s April 27, 2020 Press Conference

If you missed Governor Kemp’s press conference yesterday, the remarks are now available here.

 

2. Georgia Department of Public Health Launches New Dashboard

The Georgia Department of Public Health has released a new dashboard to track COVID-19.   The testing data on the dashboard will continue to be updated twice daily. You can view the dashboard here. I share the local Stephens County numbers in this email below.

 
3. COVID-19 Resources and Links
Here's a compilation of federal government resources and links for small and midsized businesses, from emergency financial relief to counseling services as published in the New York Business Journal. Let me know if you have any trouble accessing this article. I'll send you a pdf copy of the article.
 
4. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of seventy-three (73) confirmed positive cases and one reported death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 405
Positive Results: 46
Negative Results: 297
Pending Results: 46
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 139
Positive Results: 21
Negative Results: 104
Pending Results: 14
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 
 
COVID-19: 4/27 - Stephens County Update
1. Minimum Basic Operations to Reopen Georgia for Business
 
image.png


2. Are You Compliant with COVID-19 Leave Laws?
April 1 is the deadline for implementing federal requirements. 

Here is an article from employment attorneys that covers the details, but you will want to discuss with your own advisors. 
 
3. What Will Manufacturing’s New Normal Be After COVID-19?
History teaches us that short-term measures taken in response to global crises lead to changes that last for decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has already accelerated a number of consumer trends like online learning, working from home, streaming services, video communication and consumer goods and service deliveries—in what some are calling the “shut-in economy.” Once a critical mass of consumers get used to these behaviors, they will likely remain embedded in our daily lives for years to come. Check out this article from IndustryWeek.
 
4. Need A Free Robot to Clean During COVID-19 ?
Brain Corp has launched a $1.6 million robot relief program to support essential businesses. Learn more here. Companies can apply for the robots using this application form.
 
5. Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening Your Workplace

The attached comprehensive 34-page guide from Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, offers some great advice.

6. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of seventy (70) positive cases and one death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 266
Positive Results: 31
Negative Results: 204
Pending Results: 31
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 125
Positive Results: 21
Negative Results: 101
Pending Results: 3
 
7. Live Hope Give Hope During the COVID-19 
Here attached are some suggestions for how to be a good neighbor, encourage others, and serve your community during the coronavirus quarantine. There is so much you can do from home! 
 
8. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/24 - Stephens County Update

1. Georgia Governor Relaxes Shelter-in-Place Order
Since the Shelter-in-Place order is being eased, I thought it would be good to encourage everyone to use the OSHA “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” as a guide for reopening (and staying open). Below are some of the top-level guidelines to follow. The complete list of guidelines is available here.
Temperature Checks, Screening Questions (Such as: Have you had a cough? Have you had a fever? Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the past 14 days? Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?), Limit Number of Visitors, Maintain Social Distancing, Use of Personal Protective Equipment & Best Practices, and Disinfection.
 
2. Webinar - Georgia Returning to Work

Below is a link to a free webinar from the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Georgia Tech with excellent information on how to return to work safely, efficiently, and profitably.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/904706061540673795

The GaMEP website:www.gamep.org/coronavirus has additional information and resources. Here also is the contact information for the webinar presenters:

Ed Oneal- ed.oneal@mau.com

Lindsay Stevens- lindsay.stevens@mau.com

Tradd Rodgers- tradd.rodgers@mau.com

3. Here’s what you need to know about PPP loan forgiveness
What likely attracted so many business owners to the Paycheck Protection Program is the high margin of forgivability IF they spend the funds the way the program wants, being that at least 75% of the loan is spent on payroll costs. The other 25% can be used for mortgage, utilities and other overhead costs. It cannot be used as a substitute for revenue.
To receive forgiveness on the loan, the business owner will need to apply through a lender. But even if the business owner were to spend 100% of the loan on payroll, something could still go wrong with submitting the required documentation to receive forgiveness, according to Thomas Rutledge, member at the law firm Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC.
Here are Rutledge’s recommendations for making sure small business owners qualify for loan forgiveness in eight weeks:
Start gathering documents now. The date a business owner receives PPP funds is the beginning of the eight week period by which the loan will be judged for forgiveness.
Be aware of the use of funds. Make sure that the use of funds is permissible and accounts for how much was spent, as well as when and why.
Track your employment. Companies that see a reduction in workforce during the eight-week period will need to account for that, which could impact the loan’s forgiveness.
There's more advice here.
 
4. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of forty-eight (48) positive cases and one death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 240
Positive Results: 28
Negative Results: 149
Pending Results: 63
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 113
Positive Results: 18
Negative Results: 86
Pending Results: 9
 
5. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/23 — Stephens County Update

1. Overview of the Requirements of Governor Kemp’s Shelter in Place Executive Order

Here is an overview of the requirements of Governor Brian Kemp’s Shelter in Place Executive Orders. For the most part, recipients of this daily update from SCDA are Essential Industries or provide essential products/services, but this information is good to know: Shelter in Place Requirements.
 
2. Masks Available from Lanier Clothes
Lanier Clothes has produced cotton masks for one of its retail customers and has extras to sell if any of you need masks for your employees. There are 2 masks per pack at $3.00/ pack, Minimum 10 packs. Please let Lisa Mote, Account Executive, 706-491-5716, lmote@lanierclothes.com know if you have any questions.
 
3. County to Use Drop-off Ballot Box for June 9, 2020 Primary Election
The Stephens County Elections Office has chosen to utilize a drop-off box for absentee ballots during the primary election scheduled for June 9, 2020. County elections superintendent Eureka Gober said the box will be similar to post office drop-off boxes but designed to indicate it is for the election. Gober said there will be just one drop-off box for the absentee ballots and that it will be located outside near the Government Building in downtown Toccoa because there are security cameras set up there that can monitor it. She said the security cameras are required for any drop-off boxes. Gober said that requests for absentee ballots have increased and the elections office is expecting more than 300 absentee ballots for the June 9 primary whereas the typical amount is some 80-85 absentees. She said that the absentee ballot mailings were scheduled to begin Wednesday, April 22. Residents must register by May 11 to vote in the primary elections. Early voting runs from May 18 through June 5, Monday-Friday, with one mandatory Saturday on May 30. The date of the election primary has been twice delayed by the secretary of state's office due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
 
4. 2020 Election Town Hall Forum
Due to the Shelter in Place order issued by Governor Kemp on March 23, 2020, public events such as the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce Candidate Town Hall Forum cannot be held in person. However, the Chamber is working with WNEG and The Toccoa Record to provide citizens a way to ask questions of the various candidates ahead of the June 9, 2020 elections. 
 
Because the Chamber is committed to making sure citizens in Stephens County know the candidates and what they stand for, they are soliciting questions for the candidates to be submitted to julie@visittoccoa.com. Questions should be directed toward the elected position, rather than the individual candidate, as each question will be posed to all of the candidates for that particular race. As a reminder, there are several races on the ballot, but only two that have opposition: the Sheriff and State Senate District 50 (John Wilkinson’s former seat).  
 
Responses to each question will be broadcast on WNEG and published in The Toccoa Record. Let your voice be heard! Submit your questions today. Deadline for receipt is Friday, May 1, 2020.
 
5. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of forty-two (41) positive cases and one death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 175
Positive Results: 24
Negative Results: 135
Pending Results: 16
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 102
Positive Results: 17
Negative Results: 75
Pending Results: 10
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 
 

COVID-19: 4/22 — Stephens County Update


1. Senate Passes Supplemental Funding Bill for PPP, Small Business Relief

The U.S. Senate has approved legislation providing much-needed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a tapped out employment retention incentive established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, along with additional financial support for small businesses, hospitals and testing. After an initial run of $349 billion, this new bill will provide another $310 billion for applying, eligible PPP businesses. To ensure businesses without previous banking relationships, such as nail salons and small restaurants, are able to capture the program funding, the bill earmarks $60 billion of the funding for those companies.
 
In addition to the PPP funding, the new legislation will also provide funding for the following support and relief efforts:
$60 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
$75 billion for hospitals
$25 billion for expanded testing efforts

Initial efforts by lawmakers for increased food assistance program support and funding for State and Local governments did not make the final legislation approved by the Senate.

The bill will now head over to the House of Representatives, which are expected to approve by recorded vote on Thursday. That official session is also expected to see the House vote to change chamber rules allowing for remote voting on legislation related to coronavirus relief. Once approved by the House, the legislation is expected to be signed by President Trump.

For additional information on these programs, along with economic recovery efforts ongoing around the world, visit the clearinghouse website:HickeyandAssociates.com/IncentivesSummary
 
2. Updated Summary of Shelter in Place Executive Order

The Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) has updated its summary of Governor Kemp’s Executive Order to include this week's easing of the restrictions. You can find the current version here.  

3. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber COVID-19 Business Survey
If you have a few minutes, we'd love for you to reply to this survey: Toccoa-Stephens County Business Survey
 
4. Georgia Company Now Manufacturing Face Shields
Carmen Kisner, the Director of Infection Control at the Stephens County Hospital shared this information with me. A company in Norcross, Georgia has shifted their normal operations to manufacture face shields with two goals in mind:

#1 - Donate to those in need in our local community to help fight the COVID-19 virus.

#2 - What can we do to keep our staff of 180 employed and focused on our company mission “to inspire servant leaders to uplift their communities”

Here is a video that our Gasket Guy brand developed to share with its network of Gasket Guys.  WATCH OUR VIDEO HERE

Their goal is to manufacture over 200,000 face shields before the end of May.  

  1. We are looking to donate face shields to anyone that is on the front line who is in need or cannot financially afford to protect themselves or their team here in our community.

  2. We know many people are trying to keep the economy running but need to remain safe.  For those companies that are looking to purchase face shields, we can supply these face shields for $4 or less a shield.  Our minimum order qty is 12 and we sell them in packages of 12 and 48. Every dollar spent supports our team and also allows us to donate more face shields.

 If you know anyone that may need face shields or safety barriers please forward them this email or have them reach out to me Dave Brautigan via email dave@mixtapeventures.com  or my cell at 404-886-5628.  

I have included below some info and pictures of what we are doing.  

  • Our disposable face shields are approximately 13” x 8“  

  • We use antimicrobial foam

  • We sourced all the materials in the USA

  • They are all manufactured in Norcross, GA

  • We package them in quantities of 12 or 48

  • We typically fulfill orders in less than 3 days

A little more about MixTape Ventures  

We operate a group of companies that look long term and have a mission to inspire servant leaders to uplift their communities. Many of our companies are focused on the food service industry, specifically refrigeration gaskets and cutting boards.  We also own a small college restaurant and a company that produces personalized soaps, candles, and other engravable gifts. You know us by many different names, but we all have the same core values and mission. We have been headquartered in Norcross, GA for the last 20 years.

Below are a few of our brands.  If you are in need of anything they have to offer please support them as the revenue generated supports our team and our ability to make these face shield donations.

CoolerGaskets.com - refrigeration gaskets

Gasket Guy - Our network of 100+ locally owned gasket installers

CuttingBoard.com - The website for everything cutting boards (wood, plastic, serving trays, etc)

Carved Solutions - Recently featured by Oprah and Good Morning America, they make personalized soaps, candles, and cutting boards

Rocky Mountain Pizza  - Great pizza located in Atlanta, GA  - we can be found on Uber Eats, Door Dash, Zifty, Grub Hub, and Post Mates.

Restaurant Dynamics - If you have a facility that needs refrigeration equipment fixed, they’ve got you covered.

 We also have partitions and other products that can help encourage distancing and keep people safe at https://www.cuttingboardcompany.com/personal-protection-equipment/
 Thanks and be safe and stay positive!
Dave Brautigan
CEO
 
 
Cell: 404.886.5628
Office: 678.636.2500
Fax: 678.636.2516
 
5. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of forty-one (41) positive cases and one death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 165
Positive Results: 22
Negative Results: 126
Pending Results: 17
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 102
Positive Results: 17
Negative Results: 77
Pending Results: 8
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/21 — Stephens County Update


1. Georgia Governor Kemp to ease some of the Shelter in Place restrictions starting April 24
Gov. Brian Kemp will lift some of the restrictions he put in place earlier this month to combat the spread of the coronavirus, saying that his shelter-in-place order and social distancing measures were starting to slow the outbreak. (Read the Atlanta Journal Constitution story here.)
 

Included in the Executive Order:

Medical practices, dental practices, orthodontics practices, optometry practices, physical therapists, ambulatory surgical centers, physicians performing elective surgeries, healthcare institutions, medical facilities and any and all other healthcare-related practices and services that have ceased operations should begin treating patients in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service guidelines and provisions of the Executive Order.

April 24 – All gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, estheticians, hair designers, massage therapists may begin in-person Minimum Basic Operations as defined by the Executive Order.

April 27 - Subject to social distancing and sanitation mandates, theaters, private social clubs and restaurant dine-in services will be allowed to reopen.
Bars, nightclubs, operators of amusement park rides and live performance venues will remain closed.

The Shelter in Place Order is still active and will expire on April 30 at 11:59 p.m.
Medically fragile and elderly Georgians should shelter in place at least through May 13.

For places of worship, holding in-person services is allowed, but under Phase One guidelines, it must be done in accordance with strict social distance protocols.
 
2. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber COVID-19 Business Survey
If you have a few minutes, we'd love for you to reply to this survey: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eh1frl2dk930itu9/a008k937ix8p/questions
 
3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Assistance
AVITA Community Partners and HOPE for a Drug Free Stephens Collaborative are partnering to bring HOPE to parents & families dealing with drug addiction & recovery of loved ones through online support group sessions that will begin on April 28, 2020. Please see the Flyer/Ad that was in yesterday's Toccoa Record as well as on WNEG radio. Call Jon Kerr for more information at (678)371-3445 or email jonathan.kerr@avitapartners.org.
 
4. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.
 
5. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of forty (40) positive cases and one death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 151
Positive Results: 22
Negative Results: 126
Pending Results: 3
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 95
Positive Results: 16
Negative Results: 72
Pending Results: 7
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/20 — Stephens County Update


1. GDOL Update on Federal Stimulus Bill-FPUC and PUA
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is updating its current systems to distribute federal unemployment funds as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) bringing economic relief to many Georgians.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, provides an additional $600 weekly payment to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs - State and Federal. The GDOL began distributing this additional payment to those currently receiving state unemployment benefits last week. This supplement is an additional payment to regular weekly state unemployment benefits and includes all eligible weeks beginning with the week ending 4/4/2020. Your payment may not be $600 weekly if you have elected to have state and federal taxes deducted. Federal taxes are deducted at 10% and state taxes at 6%. Unemployment benefits are taxable income. Other deductions may include court ordered or voluntary child support or repayment of an UI overpayment (one-half of your $600 FPUC payment will be deducted and applied to your outstanding overpayment).
 
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, is the program that will provide unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. The GDOL has modified its current online unemployment application adding new questions to better identify those individuals who may be eligible for PUA. These individuals must be determined not to be eligible to receive state benefits before being evaluated for federal PUA benefits.

The first step is for the individual to file a regular state unemployment claim application, where you will be asked questions about your employment and wages for the last 18 months.  The application for regular state unemployment benefits will be reviewed by GDOL and a written determination of eligibility will be released within 21 days.

The new federal PUA program is still under development and must be built from scratch to allow verification of wages. Once the programming is completed, individuals determined to not be eligible to be paid traditional state benefits will receive an email with instructions for filing a PUA application. The GDOL has partnered with the Georgia Department of Revenue to help verify wages, subject to approval from the applicant. Emails should begin to go out to applicants potentially eligible for PUA on April 22, 2020.

Once the PUA application is received, it will be reviewed for eligibility and a written determination will be released with appeal rights. See detailed instructions on PUA.  

Individuals who have already filed a claim with the GDOL and determined not eligible for state unemployment benefits and may be potentially eligible to receive benefits under this program, do NOT have to refile a regular state claim. Once development of the new federal PUA program is completed, these individuals will be identified and will receive notification by email with a link to the application or mail containing information regarding the PUA application process.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, or PEUC, allows for up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances. The GDOL recently received the guidelines on PEUC from the USDOL and is working quickly to develop and implement the new PEUC system. Individuals potentially eligible for this program will be identified and sent notification with PEUC claim filing instructions.

2. Ease Your Children's Anxiety

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Communications wants you to have resources to help talk to your children about COVID-19. There are positive steps you can take to address their COVID-19 worries. Additional mental health and emotional support resources are also available to you and your loved ones.

3. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber COVID-19 Business Survey
If you have a few minutes, we'd love for you to reply to this survey: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eh1frl2dk930itu9/a008k937ix8p/questions
 
4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Assistance
AVITA Community Partners and HOPE for a Drug Free Stephens Collaborative are partnering to bring HOPE to parents & families dealing with drug addiction & recovery of loved ones through online support group sessions that will begin on April 28, 2020. Please see the Flyer/Ad that was in yesterday's Toccoa Record as well as on WNEG radio. Call Jon Kerr for more information at (678)371-3445 or email jonathan.kerr@avitapartners.org.
 
5. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.
 
6. Overview of the Requirements of Governor Kemp’s Shelter in Place Executive Order

Here is an overview of the requirements of Governor Brian Kemp’s Shelter in Place Executive Orders. For the most part, recipients of this daily update from SCDA are Essential Industries or provide essential products/services, but this information is good to know: Shelter in Place Requirements.

7. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of thirty-five (35) positive cases and one (1) death for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 127
Positive Results: 14
Negative Results: 102
Pending Results: 11
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 86
Positive Results: 11
Negative Results: 62
Pending Results: 13
 
8. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/17 — Stephens County Update


1. Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.
President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives. It has specific guidelines for employers. Here's the link to the advice: https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/
 
2. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber COVID-19 Business Survey
If you have 5-7 minutes, we'd love for you to reply to this survey: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eh1frl2dk930itu9/a008k937ix8p/questions
 
3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Assistance
AVITA Community Partners and HOPE for a Drug Free Stephens Collaborative are partnering to bring HOPE to parents & families dealing with drug addiction & recovery of loved ones through online support group sessions that will begin on April 28, 2020. Please see the Flyer/Ad that was in yesterday's Toccoa Record as well as on WNEG radio. Call Jon Kerr for more information at (678)371-3445 or email jonathan.kerr@avitapartners.org.
 
4. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.
 
5. Overview of the Requirements of Governor Kemp’s Shelter in Place Executive Order

Here is an overview of the requirements of Governor Brian Kemp’s Shelter in Place Executive Orders. For the most part, recipients of this daily update from SCDA are Essential Industries or provide essential products/services, but this information is good to know: Shelter in Place Requirements.

6. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of twenty-eight (28) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 116
Positive Results: 11
Negative Results: 91
Pending Results: 14
 
NGPG Toccoa Clinic is reporting their statistics
Tests Completed: 69
Positive Results: 10
Negative Results: 57
Pending Results: 2
 
7. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/16 — Stephens County Update


1. Keeping Stephens Strong Together
This is the name of the Toccoa-Stephens County COVID-19 Resource page. In addition to links to many federal and state agencies and programs, it has links to local Financial & Insurance Institutions, Restaurants for Takeout/Delivery/Curbside service, Pharmacy & Healthcare, and other local businesses!  Here's the link: https://www.toccoagachamber.com/local-resources.
 
2.Return to Workplace
Management consultants McKinsey & Company have published an article designed to help executives think through the challenges of restarting their businesses.Here are two charts I pulled from the article. 
 
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3. Employee morale 
I asked yesterday for you to send me an email with what you are doing to maintain employee morale in this time of stress and concern. Well, please see the attached picture. Patterson Pump has designed a COVID-19 t-shirt for all of their employees recognizing Essential People Providing Critical Products!
 
4. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.
 
5. June 9, 2020 Is New Date Set for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced that, pursuant to the authority vested in him by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-50.1, he is postponing the Statewide General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary Election until June 9, 2020. Here is an infographic on how this new date was selected

6. Absentee Voting in Georgia for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

The State of Georgia allows absentee voting by mail and in-person. No excuse is required to vote before election day. Georgia law allows for absentee by mail ballots to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. 
 
Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.

Click here to view a fillable PDF of the Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot 

Stephens County Chief Registrar: Eureka Gober, 37 W. Tugalo St., P.O. Box 1557, Toccoa, GA 30577, Telephone: (706) 886-8954, Fax: (706) 886-2185, Email: egober@stephenscountyga.com

7. Responding to the 2020 Census
The time is now. Help shape our future, and our community's future, by responding to and encouraging your employees to respond to the 2020 Census.
Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.
Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.

8. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of twenty-four (24) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 105
Positive Results: 11
Negative Results: 90
Pending Results: 4
 
Toccoa Clinic is also testing
Tests Completed: 90
Positive Results: 10
Negative Results: 80
Pending: 0
 
9. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/15 — Stephens County Update


1. Employee morale 
When you have a minute, send me an email with what you are doing to maintain employee morale in this time of stress and concern. It might be helpful to learn what others are doing to allay fears and offer encouragement.
 
2. Update on Federal Stimulus Bill
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is updating its current systems to distribute federal unemployment funds as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) bringing economic relief to many Georgians.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, provides an additional $600 weekly payment to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs - State and Federal. The GDOL will begin sending this additional payment to those currently receiving state unemployment benefits beginning this week. This supplement will be an additional payment to regular weekly state unemployment benefits and will include all eligible weeks beginning with the week ending 4/4/2020. Your payment may not be $600 weekly if you have elected to have state and federal taxes deducted. Federal taxes are deducted at 10% and state taxes at 6%. Unemployment benefits are taxable income. Other deductions may include court ordered or voluntary child support or repayment of an UI overpayment (one-half of your $600 FPUC payment will be deducted and applied to your outstanding overpayment). 
 
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, is the program that will provide
unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes
individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors,
employees of churches, employees of non-profits 501C3s, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. The GDOL has modified its current online unemployment application adding new questions to better identify those individuals who may be eligible for PUA. These individuals must be determined not to be eligible to receive state benefits before being evaluated for federal PUA benefits.

The first step is for the individual to file a regular state unemployment claim
application, where you will be asked questions about your employment and wages for the last 18 months.  The application for regular state unemployment benefits will be reviewed by GDOL and a written determination of eligibility will be released within 21 days.

The new federal PUA program is still under development and must be built from
scratch to allow verification of wages. Once the programming is completed, individuals determined to not be eligible to be paid regular state benefits will receive an email with instructions for filing a PUA application. The GDOL has partnered with the Georgia Department of Revenue to help verify wages, subject to approval from the applicant.

Emails should begin to go out to applicants potentially eligible for PUA on April 22, 2020. Once the PUA application is received, it will be reviewed for eligibility and a written determination will be released with appeal rights. rights. See detailed instructions on PUA.
 
3. Absentee Voting in Georgia for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary
The State of Georgia allows absentee voting by mail and in-person. No excuse is required to vote before election day. Georgia law allows for absentee by mail ballots to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. 
 
Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.

Click here to view a fillable PDF of the Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot 

Stephens County Chief Registrar: Eureka Gober, 37 W. Tugalo St., P.O. Box 1557, Toccoa, GA 30577, Telephone: (706) 886-8954, Fax: (706) 886-2185, Email: egober@stephenscountyga.com

4. Responding to the 2020 Census
The time is now. Help shape our future, and our community's future, by responding to and encouraging your employees to respond to the 2020 Census.
Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.
Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.  

5. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of twenty-four (24) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 100
Positive Results: 9
  • 1 Currently Hospitalized at SCH
  • 1 Hospitalized at another facility
  • 2 were originally hospitalized at SCH and have been discharged home and are recovering
  • 4 were never hospitalized
Negative Results: 86
Pending Results: 5
 
6. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/14 — Stephens County Update


1. SBDC Seminars re CARES Act
Additional free regional webinars for Georgia small businesses navigating the programs made available through the ‘CARES Act ’will begin on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. These sessions are hosted by the University of Georgia’s 17 Small Business Development Centers, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Please share the regional webinar schedule with all partners who may benefit from attending.
 
2. The COVID-19 Federal Rural REsource Guide
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.  
 
3. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.
 
4. June 9, 2020 Is New Date Set for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced that, pursuant to the authority vested in him by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-50.1, he is postponing the Statewide General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary Election until June 9, 2020. Here is an infographic on how this new date was selected

5. Absentee Voting in Georgia for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

The State of Georgia allows absentee voting by mail and in-person. No excuse is required to vote before election day. Georgia law allows for absentee by mail ballots to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. 
 
Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.

Click here to view a fillable PDF of the Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot 

Stephens County Chief Registrar: Eureka Gober, 37 W. Tugalo St., P.O. Box 1557, Toccoa, GA 30577, Telephone: (706) 886-8954, Fax: (706) 886-2185, Email: egober@stephenscountyga.com

6. Responding to the 2020 Census
The time is now. Help shape our future, and our community's future, by responding to and encouraging your employees to respond to the 2020 Census.
Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.
Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.  

7. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of twenty (20) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 95
Positive Results: 9
  • 1 Currently Hospitalized at SCH
  • 1 Hospitalized at another facility
  • 2 were originally hospitalized at SCH and have been discharged home and are recovering
  • 4 were never hospitalized
Negative Results: 79
Pending Results: 7
 
8. Reminder - Beware of Phishing Scams
Unfortunately, scammers use this time to try and infect and affect us with their fraudulent schemes. I would advise several things, most all of which you are aware of, but this will be a reminder. Especially if the email asks you to send money, provide credit card data or bank account info, these are telltale signs that the request is fraudulent.
 
A. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is; or something out of the normal course of communications, it is not authentic.
B. Check out the email and see if there are misspellings or incorrect grammar. Many times these emails originate from overseas and don’t have the best grammar and/or spelling.
C. Look at the email address. This particular one does not come from the address that it purports to. You can hover over it and the email will show you the address.
D. Call the person that the email purports to be from to confirm that the email is false.  
Be sure to stay safe and healthy from the Novel Coronavirus, but also from scammers.  
 
9. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 

I'm sending this out earlier in the morning than normal to check in on everyone. How are you this morning? We had widespread power outages overnight, Big A Road, the industries south of town, even the area around the hospital. Power companies and road crews are addressing the issue as promptly as possible. Please let us know how we can help you.
 

COVID-19: 4/13 — Stephens County Update

1. Considerations for Essential Workers who may have been Exposed to COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have released interim guidance for essential workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19.   This interim guidance especially pertains to law enforcement, 9-1-1 call center employees, fusion center employees, hazardous material responders from the government and the private sector, janitorial staff and other custodial staff and workers in food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, information technology, transportation, energy and government facilities.  

2. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.
 
3. SAFE WORK PLAYBOOK An Interactive Guide for COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response
 The Safe Work Playbook includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, that could be tailored by businesses to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the playbook based on real-time feedback. The manual covers a wide range of topics, including: • Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team • Cleaning and disinfection procedures • Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other social distancing strategies • On-site health screening • Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work.
See Safe Work Playbook pdf attached to this email.
 
4. June 9, 2020 Is New Date Set for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced that, pursuant to the authority vested in him by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-50.1, he is postponing the Statewide General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary Election until June 9, 2020. Here is an infographic on how this new date was selected

5. Absentee Voting in Georgia for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

The State of Georgia allows absentee voting by mail and in-person. No excuse is required to vote before election day. Georgia law allows for absentee by mail ballots to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. 
 
Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.

Click here to view a fillable PDF of the Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot 

Stephens County Chief Registrar: Eureka Gober, 37 W. Tugalo St., P.O. Box 1557, Toccoa, GA 30577, Telephone: (706) 886-8954, Fax: (706) 886-2185, Email: egober@stephenscountyga.com

6. Responding to the 2020 Census
The time is now. Help shape our future, and our community's future, by responding to and encouraging your employees to respond to the 2020 Census.
Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.
Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.  

7. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of fifteen (15) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 87
Positive Results: 8
  • 1 Currently Hospitalized at SCH
  • 1 Hospitalized at another facility
  • 2 were originally hospitalized at SCH and have been discharged home and are recovering
  • 4 were never hospitalized
Negative Results: 75
Pending Results: 4
 
8. Energy Policy Act (EPAct) Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction
The EPAct 179D is a federal tax deduction up to $1.80/square foot available for buildings with energy efficient Lighting, HVAC and Building Envelope. Since 2005, Congress has made this tax deduction available and in December 2019, congress extended this deduction to December 31, 2020. 
 
Benefits of 179d:  Up to $1.80/square foot, Lookback to 2005, 20 year carry forward on deduction. Who is eligible for this tax deduction? Building Owners & Commercial Building Lessee. Types of improvements that qualify: Interior Lighting Improvements, HVAC Improvements, & Building Envelope Improvements. Types of buildings that qualify: Retail buildings, Office buildings, Industrial buildings, Manufacturing buildings, Warehouses, & Distribution Centers.
 
Please call me if you have any questions or want additional information.
 
9. Recruiting and hiring from afar, done right
You may be about to meet a promising candidate. And yet you can't get within six feet of each other for the interview. Welcome to the new reality of hiring, interviewing, and onboarding in today's social-distancing world. Industry executives shared their insights and suggestions on virtual recruiting, remote interviews and onboarding with The Business Journals. Find out what they said through this digital presentation.
 
10. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/10 — Stephens County Update


1. Georgia Extends Public Health State of Emergency through May 13, 2020.
Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston have announced plans to extend Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under state law, the Governor may renew the public health state of emergency, which was otherwise set to expire on April 13, 2020. Lt. Governor Duncan and SpeakerRalston agree it is necessary for the public health emergency to be renewed and will not be requesting a special legislative session, which was tentatively scheduled for April 15, 2020. Read the press release here.  

2. The UGA/SBDC COVID-19 Relief website
At Gov. Brian Kemp’s direction, the University of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs partnered to create a website to provide ongoing information to help small businesses.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27 allocates $349 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid current circumstances. The CARES Act provides funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), modifies the existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and provides immediate loan payment relief for current SBA 7(a) borrowers.

More information about each program is provided through the webinars, as well as on the COVID-19 Relief website at. www.georgiasbdc.org/georgia-small-business-recovery.  
 
3. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.
 
4. June 9, 2020 Is New Date Set for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced that, pursuant to the authority vested in him by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-50.1, he is postponing the Statewide General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary Election until June 9, 2020. Here is an infographic on how this new date was selected

5. Absentee Voting in Georgia for Statewide General Primary/Presidential Primary

The State of Georgia allows absentee voting by mail and in-person. No excuse is required to vote before election day. Georgia law allows for absentee by mail ballots to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. 
 
Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.

Click here to view a fillable PDF of the Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot 

Stephens County Chief Registrar: Eureka Gober, 37 W. Tugalo St., P.O. Box 1557, Toccoa, GA 30577, Telephone: (706) 886-8954, Fax: (706) 886-2185, Email: egober@stephenscountyga.com

6. Responding to the 2020 Census
The time is now. Help shape our future, and our community's future, by responding to and encouraging your employees to respond to the 2020 Census.
Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.
Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.  

7. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of fifteen (15) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
Stephens County Hospital has added additional details to their COVID-19 Positive Result Statistics.  
Tests Completed: 87
Positive Results: 8
  • 1 Currently Hospitalized at SCH
  • 1 Hospitalized at another facility
  • 2 were originally hospitalized at SCH and have been discharged home and are recovering
  • 4 were never hospitalized
Negative Results: 75
Pending Results: 4
 
8. How can SCDA better serve you?
We want to know, during this challenging time, how we can better meet your needs as a valuable business and employer in Toccoa-Stephens County. Please call 229-886-2332 or email Tim@SCDA.biz. 

Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 
 

COVID-19: 4/9 — Stephens County Update


1. Georgia Extends Public Health State of Emergency through May 13, 2020.
Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston have announced plans to extend Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under state law, the Governor may renew the public health state of emergency, which was otherwise set to expire on April 13, 2020. Lt. Governor Duncan and SpeakerRalston agree it is necessary for the public health emergency to be renewed and will not be requesting a special legislative session, which was tentatively scheduled for April 15, 2020. Read the press release here.  

2. The UGA/SBDC COVID-19 Relief website
At Gov. Brian Kemp’s direction, the University of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs partnered to create a website to provide ongoing information to help small businesses.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27 allocates $349 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid current circumstances. The CARES Act provides funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), modifies the existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and provides immediate loan payment relief for current SBA 7(a) borrowers.

More information about each program is provided through the webinars, as well as on the COVID-19 Relief website at. www.georgiasbdc.org/georgia-small-business-recovery.  

3. COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Psych Hub (https://psychhub.com/) is providing tools and resources to help manage potential stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of resources to help cope with social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues people may be facing.

With options for every audience, Psych Hub has the world's largest online platform of digital education on mental health issues. Psych Hub’s free micro-video library hosts over 100 consumer-facing, animated videos focused on improving mental health literacy and reducing stigma about seeking care.

4. Absentee Voting in Georgia for May 19, 2020 Primary
The State of Georgia allows absentee voting by mail and in-person. No excuse is required to vote before election day. Georgia law allows for absentee by mail ballots to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. 
 
Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.

Click here to view a fillable PDF of the Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot 

Stephens County Chief Registrar: Eureka Gober, 37 W. Tugalo St., P.O. Box 1557, Toccoa, GA 30577, Telephone: (706) 886-8954, Fax: (706) 886-2185, Email: egober@stephenscountyga.com

5. Responding to the 2020 Census
The time is now. Help shape our future, and our community's future, by responding to and encouraging your employees to respond to the 2020 Census.
Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.
Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.  

6. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of fifteen (15) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/8 — Stephens Co. Update


1. Covering Your Face in Public

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as grocery stores and pharmacies and some manufacturing settings), especially in areas of significant and community-based transmission. Please note, the CDC is not recommending the use of medical grade or surgical grade masks, which should only be used by medical professionals as they work to save lives. Their guidance includes how the face covering should be worn, how to wash or sterilize it and even direction on how to sew one.More information on the CDC’s new guidance can be found on their website here.   

2. Comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Guide
The attached resource guide prepared by the University of Georgia's Archway Partnership, is a great comprehensive guide to have and share.
 
3. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of thirteen (13) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 
 

COVID-19: 4/7 — Stephens Co. Update


1. SBA Paycheck Protection Program
This is not a recommendation for this particular bank, there are other great local banks approved by SBA. This information below however, is a good summary of the Paycheck Protection Program. Please contact the institution with whom you have a current banking relationship.

We are now accepting applications for SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loans under the CARES Act.

United Community Bank
 

Thank you for your interest in applying for a SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan with United Community Bank and thank you for your patience. We are happy to inform you that your portal link is now available and you can now submit your application! 

We recommend submitting your application in a timely manner as the portal will only be open for a limited time.

Some of the most frequently asked questions you may have are: 

How many loans can I take out under the Paycheck Protection Program? 
Only one per entity. If you are applying on behalf of more than one entity, you will need to provide a new email for each application.

When am I eligible to apply?
Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply immediately. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning Friday, April 10.

How much can I borrow with a PPP Loan?
Loans can be up to 2.5 x average monthly payroll costs, not to exceed $10 million. Our intuitive online application will assist with determining your eligible PPP loan amount. Or, click here for our handy Payroll Costs Calculator.

How long will this program last? 
Although the program is open until June 30, 2020, we encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap.

How long will it take to get my loan proceeds? 
Once the SBA releases further details and guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program, United Community Bank can approve your loan and disburse funds as fast as possible.

For more resources and information for your application process, please visit ucbi.com/cares.  

Click here to access the automated system to begin your PPP application!

We look forward to serving you

2. Please call on us if there is anything we can do to help
As we all continue to monitor how COVID-19 is affecting the community, we wanted to check in and say we're here to help where we can. During this uncertain time, please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions you have or anything else we might be able to assist with. Your health, safety, and well being are very important to us.

3. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of eight (8) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our SCDA website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/6 — Stephens Co. Update


1. Coronavirus Emergency Loans
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses and nonprofits keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to eligible organizations. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help organizations understand what to expect and prepare to file for a loan.
 
2. Has the coronavirus hit your staff?
Here's what employers need to know. (You don't have to accept the offer of a newsletter.)
 
3. U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler
Do you have any concerns or updates that you would like to convey to Washington? Senator Loeffler's Northeast Georgia Field Representative Davis Warnell has regular and frequent calls with the DC office. Here's how to communicate with Davis: Davis_Warnell@loeffler.senate.gov or 770-661-0999.
 
4. Stephens County Update
The Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of six (6) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/3 — Gov. Stay at Home Order & Stephens Co. Update


1. Shelter in Place Ordered by Governor Kemp
As of today, April 1, 2020, Governor Kemp has issued a Shelter In Place order which will affect all non-essential business and industry within our community starting Friday, April 3, 2020 until April 13, 2020.

Read the Executive Order: bit.ly/GAExecutiveOrder
 
2. SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan
Business may have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 and you may want to apply for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). 

What can you do now?
United Community Bank has created a CARES Act website with many resources that can help you determine the right loan for your business and steps to take to prepare for the application:
3. Stephens County Update
Currently, the Stephens County Hospital has reported three (3) positive cases, however, the Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of five (5) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Today, April 1, 2020 statistics for Stephens County Hospital....
Tested: 34 Individuals
Positive Cases: 3
Negative Cases: 16
Pending Results: 15
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources
 

COVID-19: 4/2 — Stephens County Update


1. Shelter in Place Ordered by Governor Kemp
As a reminder, Governor Kemp has issued a Shelter In Place order which will affect all non-essential business and industry within our community starting Friday, April 3, 2020 until April 13, 2020.

Please read the news release here: https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/gov-kemp-give-update-state-response-coronavirus-crisis/T2JKSNBA2BGQNOGOTQ7Z75S5BI/  

If you believe your business is an essential industry and have not already replied to previous emails concerning being placed on the essential industry list, you must file a request by replying with answers to the questions below:
  1. Company name:
  2. Location/Address:
  3. Type of industry (indicate type of trade/service):
  4. Contact Name, Title, phone number, email address:
  5. Reason for requested exemption:
If you have already replied to a previous email with your company's information and need an employee exemption template letter, please let us know.
 
2. GA Department of Labor Unemployment Filing Requirements
The Georgia Department of Labor has published very important instructions for the COVID-19 and unemployment filing.

Employers are required to file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily reduce work hours or there is no work available for a short period.

Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

The below links provide information on how to comply with these rulings: For the small employers who may not have the GDOL Employer Handbook, this is a great resource: https://dol.georgia.gov/search?search=employer+handbook&sm_site_name=dol

We encourage employers and individuals to check GDOL's website for continued updates: https://dol.georgia.gov/  
 
3. GA Department of Community Affairs Website for High-Speed Internet

The COVID-19 virus is impacting Georgian’s ability to work, access healthcare, and receive education services. Because of the shift to telehealth with “virtual visits”, teleworking, and remote continuity of learning, and in partnership with Governor Brian Kemp and the state Coronavirus Task Force, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs has launched this webpage to provide information to Georgians and resources to connect to high-speed internet.

https://broadband.georgia.gov/georgia-internet-access-covid-19-update

4. GA Department of Economic Development Trade Division

GDEcD Trade is here to support you in any way possible and continue to be open for business and are working hard to continue the state’s trade mission, assisting Georgia companies to grow their international footprint.

During this evolving global pandemic GDEcD Trade is rapidly changing the way we deliver trade services. To ensure the safety of our clients, business community and the Trade team, GDEcD Trade is working virtually and reaching out to companies individually by phone, email and through social media.

GDEcD Trade understands that Georgia companies’ international business strategies and missions are evolving and adapting. GDEcD Trade is leveraging our 12 international representatives to help companies navigate these changing markets to help them continue to sell their products and services globally. We continue to offer trade resources that focus on international insights and connections for Georgia companies.

During a time with travel restrictions, online resources for Georgia companies are an important component to develop a global online presence and enhance exporting networks. GDEcD Trade has introduced a free international marketing toolthe Export Georgia, USA online directory: www.georgia.org/export. This new resource provides an online platform to promote companies' products or services around the world. 

Additional online resources include the State's COVID-19 dedicated webpage Georgia Department of Economic Development and Small Business Development International Centers; federal government resources, the Small Business AdministrationEXIM Bank, and the United States Commercial Service.

5. Stephens County Update
Currently, the Stephens County Hospital has reported three (3) positive cases, however, the Georgia Department of Health has reported a total of five (5) positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 
 
Today, April 2, 2020 statistics for Stephens County Hospital....
Tested: 40 Individuals
Positive Cases: 3
Negative Cases: 19
Pending Results: 18
 
We will continue to keep you informed on the status of Stephens County. Please visit our website for the most up to date statistics and resources: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 

COVID-19: 4/1 — ***JUST ANNOUNCED*** Shelter In Place Order by Gov Kemp


Shelter in Place Ordered by Governor Kemp
As of today, April 1, 2020, Governor Kemp has issued a Shelter In Place order which will affect all non-essential business and industry within our community starting Friday, April 3, 2020 until April 13, 2020.

Please read the news release here: https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/gov-kemp-give-update-state-response-coronavirus-crisis/T2JKSNBA2BGQNOGOTQ7Z75S5BI/  

If you believe your business is an essential industry and have not already replied to previous emails concerning being placed on the essential industry list, you must file a request by replying with answers to the questions below:
  1. Company name:
  2. Location/Address:
  3. Type of industry (indicate type of trade/service):
  4. Contact Name, Title, phone number, email address:
  5. Reason for requested exemption:
Several businesses within Stephens County are applying for exemption and will need to exercise special precautions related to social distancing during work situations as well as breaks/lunches, etc. to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
 

If you have already replied to a previous email with your company's information, please see the attached template letter for your use to distribute to your exempt employees.

Should you have questions or require additional information, please feel free to contact me. We will continue to keep you updated!

 

COVID-19: 3 More Important Stephens County Updates 3/25


1. Essential Industries List
We have received several questions concerning how to be designated as an "essential industry" in the case of a state-wide business closure mandate, here is the response from our regional coordinator Barbara Fiedor (BFiedor@georgia.org).... 
 
"GDEcD has been asked to track the "exclusion" requests that are coming in from industries/companies that want to be considered “essential businesses” and allowed to remain open if some kind of mandated shut down is ordered. We do want to stress that Governor Kemp does not believe that a mandated shut down is in the best interest of the state at this time, but as we all know-this is an extremely fluid situation. We will track the requests, inputting the information below so that it can be pulled and considered if circumstances warrant."
 
Please respond with the following information if your company wishes to request to be included in this list.
  • Company/Industry Association Name
  • Location (address if an individual company, "statewide" if it’s a trade association")
  • Type of Industry
  • Point of contact (name, phone, email)
  • Reasons for exclusion request
This information will be reported to the Georgia Department of Economic Development who will track requests. If a state-wide shutdown is mandated, the department will contact you.
 
2. Personal Property Tax Returns
As of today, March 23, 2020, there are no plans to extend the tax return deadline of April 1, 2020.
 
Please let this be a reminder to file your freeport exemption forms before the April 1st deadline to take full advantage of this exemption.
 
 
3. Stephens County Update
We have compiled a page of all Stephens County resources and will continue to keep it updated with the most accurate status for Stephens County, including information concerning the SBA Economic Disaster Loans: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources
 
As of March 23, 2020, the Stephens County Hospital reports...
"Tested: 11 Individuals
Positive Cases: 0
Negative Cases: 4
Pending Results: 7"
 
However, there is a Stephens County citizen who has tested positive and is seeking treatment at North Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, so please take the necessary precautions: https://bit.ly/3bo75Um

Thank you for all that you are doing in these times to ensure your employees safety, we are grateful to have you in our community. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 status and how Georgia is responding. Governor Kemp issued new executive orders and provided a state update, you can read the press release and watch the video here: https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2020-03-23/gov-kemp-issues-new-executive-orders-provides-covid-19-update
 

COVID-19: 3/24 - 4 Important Stephens County Update

1. Georgia Tech Resources
The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GMEP) exists to serve manufacturers.
 
GMEP utilizes a framework of Organizational Excellence across all levels of manufacturing plants to ensure business stabilityalign organizational goalsdevelop effective leadership styles, and advance your manufacturing plant by strategically planning for future growth.
 
In these trying times GMEP is eager to help manufacturers with whatever problems they may  have. 
 
Please go to www.gamep.org for more information.  
 
2. BRE Survey
No one is escaping the wrath of COVID-19. Therefore, we should all have our voices heard as decision makers try and address the economic implications of this situation.

SCDA has been asked to be part of Blane Canada's national effort to determine the business and worker impacts of COVID-19, please use this link to respond to the survey on behalf of your organization: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/71d02eafdd8d    

We are all in this together. Help make a difference. Let’s make decision makers aware of what is happening to our organizations.
 
3. File Your Notice of Intent to claim Tax Credits

As a reminder, the deadline for companies to file a NOI  to maintain benefits based on 2019 tier rankings or LDCT status is March 31, 2020. This deadline remains in effect. We will fill out your LDCT tract number. Please take advantage of these tax credits by filling out the NOI form and sending it back to us.

Here is the link to the NOI form:  https://www.dca.ga.gov/sites/default/files/notice_of_intent_with_instructions_2020rev_0.pdf

4. Stephens County Update
As of March 24, 2020, the Stephens County hospital reports...
Number of Individuals Tested: 13
  • Positive Results: 0
  • Negative Results: 4
  • Pending Results: 9
However, please be advised that the Georgia Department of Health is reporting 1 active case in Stephens County. This is presumed to be the case of the Stephens County resident who is being treated at the North Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
 
We will continue to keep you informed on the status of Stephens County. Please visit our website for the most up to date statistics and resources: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources
 

COVID-19: 3/31 — *NEW* GDOL FFCRA Posters, SBA Disaster Loan Guidance, & Stephens Co. Update


1. GDOL Employees Rights — FFCRA Act
Attached are the posters for the NEW Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which will take effect on April 1, 2020.

Please post these at your company and distribute to management!
 
If you need assistance with filing unemployment claims, please watch this tutorial video: https://dol.georgia.gov/georgia-employer-filed-claims-tutorial   
 
2. Emergency Loan Guidance 
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Please view and download the attached "U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist" PDF for more information.  

Apply for the Loan Advance here: covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
 
3. Applying for a SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Webinar
Date: Thursday, April 2
Time: 2:00 pm EST
Cost: FREE
Hosted by UGA Small Business Development Center
 
Register here: bit.ly/SBDCWebinar
 
What you will learn:
  • What businesses or non-profit organizations are eligible?
  • What are the rates and terms of the loan?
  • How do I apply?
  • What information do I need to have ready before I apply?
  • When can I expect to receive a response?
  • Who can help if I have questions or need additional assistance?
4. Stephens County Update
Currently, the Stephens County Hospital has reported zero positive cases, however, the Georgia Department of Health has reported 4 positive cases for Stephens County: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report 

Today, March 31, 2020 statistics for Stephens County Hospital....
Tested: 28 Individuals
Positive Cases: 2
Negative Cases: 15
Pending Results: 11
 
Please continue to stay safe and check our website for additional information and up to date statistics: https://www.scda.biz/local-resources 
 
About

The SCDA is responsible for the recruitment of new businesses including industrial, manufacturing, distribution, corporate and regional headquarters and customer service centers. It also provides support and assistance with all other types of economic development projects.

The SCDA also works with existing businesses and industries to ensure their continued success. While recruitment of new industry is a significant function, aiding in existing industry expansion and retention is just as significant. About 80 percent of all new jobs in Georgia come as a result of existing industry expansion.

For Businesses
Incentives
Georgia Work Ready
State Tax Credits
Opportunity Zone Tax Credit
Freeport Tax Exemption
Training and Education
Grants & Other Finance Options
Drugs Don't Work
Contact Us
Phone:
706-886-4242
Address:
31 W. Doyle Street, Toccoa GA 30577
Hours:
Mon-Fri 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
E-mail:
tim@scda.biz
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