Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Residents of Tifton and Tift County have been told to "shelter in place," to leave their homes only for essential activities , and to practice safe social distancing . This is all for the health and safety of our entire population . We are next to one of the top hot spots for the novel coronavirus in the entire United States .

But some of our neighbors are ignoring these facts and advice, endangering themselves , their loved ones , and us all .

Here are some of the things I witnessed during a short trip outside this past weekend :

  • Shoppers at a local grocery ignoring social distancing – standing and moving too close to others – and even bringing small children with them through the aisles, potentially exposing them to others.

  • A group of youths playing basketball on a public court, sweating and having physical contact with each other.

  • A local church van carrying a full load of people on Sunday morning heading down Eighth Street.

I am certain there are countless other instances of people in Tifton ignoring our local guidelines and ordinances . These are just the ones I saw within a short period .

Folks , we must take this issue seriously . Just up the road, Albany and Dougherty County are the epicenter of COVID-19 in Georgia and in the Southeastern United States . Dougherty has more deaths than any county in the state , including those around Atlanta .

The percentage of cases in Dougherty County , based on population , is higher than Florida’s coronavirus epicenter Broward/Miami-Dade counties – and higher than the Seattle, Washington , area where the disease made its first major mark in the nation .

We in South Georgia have had a lot of movement among our citizens in recent weeks , with folks going to and from Albany and to and from other cities with relatively high infections ; the coronavirus is here in our community and has been for a while.

No matter your age, you are at risk . Please follow the guidelines and wash your hands appropriately, disinfect surfaces, stay at least six feet apart from others, stay home and only go out if you must work , or to visit a medical office, or to obtain food and needed supplies, handle necessary business services, or to exercise . Keep any gatherings small , and watch out for the elderly , children and those with other health issues .

It is uncomfortable , as well as an economic hardship , to stay indoors and away from others . But a little personal discomfort now ultimately will be beneficial to us all .

Please take this situation seriously.
Tifton Grapevine
Cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in Georgia as more people are being tested , and Albany-Dougherty County continues to lead Georgia in virus-related deaths by a wide margin .

The Ga. Department of Public Health's (DPH) update at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday showed Dougherty with the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state with 466 and the most deaths with 26 .

Fulton County had the most cases with 599 and was second in COVID-19 deaths with 18 .

Tift County reported 20 cases and no deaths .

According to the DPH , 16,181 Georgians have been tested with 4,117 confirmed cases. Thee have been 125 COVID-19 related deaths in the state .

Worth County (Sylvester) had 28 cases and one death; Valdosta-Lowndes , 23 cases, one death; Moultrie-Colquitt County has had 20 cases and two deaths (the second death reported late Tuesday); Turner , four cases, no deaths; Irwin and Ben Hill counties, three cases each and no deaths. Berrien County has had one case .

Georgia's deaths range from a 29-year-old woman in Peach County to a 95-year-old man in Baker County , the DPH reported.

Breaking down confirmed cases in Georgia by age group , 58 percent are between the ages of 18 and 59 ; 35 percent are age 60+ ; one percent is below age 18 ; and the ages of 6 percent are unknown .

Gov. Brian P. Kemp on Tuesday announced a plan to increase COVID-19 testing in Georgia. Leveraging laboratory resources under the University System of Georgia , Georgia Public Health Laboratory and Emory University , labs will begin processing more than 3,000 samples per day , Kemp said.
As the state and nation face critical blood supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross is hosting a blood drive Friday in Tifton .

From noon-4 p.m. Friday , April 3 , a blood drive is scheduled at the Tifton Women's Center , 1806 Lee Ave. Click Here to make an appointment .

Also on Friday , the  5th Annual Glenn Roberts Memorial Blood Drive  Is scheduled for  7 a.m.-7 p.m.  at  Irwin County Hospital  in  Ocilla .

The  blood drive  is held in  honor  of  Glenn Roberts, an  Ocilla businessman and 1977   graduate  of  Irwin County High School  who  died  on  June 4, 2016 .
The Exchange Club of Tifton is seeking nominees for its 67th annual awarding of the Book of Golden Deeds .

This longest running project of the Exchange Club of Tifton and the National Exchange Club recognizes community volunteers who give endless hours toward making their communities better .

“This is quite a big honor for a Tiftonite ,” said Betty Cromer , program chairperson. “They will join an elite group of individuals that have helped to make Tifton what it is today.”  

Nomination letters by friends, family or coworkers are needed. It is best when the letter is from an individual instead of a group. Letters should include information about how the nominated individual is helping people and programs in the community. It is important to illustrate a person's sincerity about helping their community with an exceptional track record of continued , unselfish giving .
“We can in no way repay those who have made such a great difference in our community with their volunteerism and sincere unselfishness ,” said Exchange Club President Jimmy Cole . “The Golden Deeds Award is a way that we, the Exchange Club of Tifton , express our heartfelt thanks to those individuals who typically receive no recognition. It is our modest attempt at giving acclamation to those who never receive or seek it. ”  

The deadline for sending letters of nomination is April 20 . Mail letters to the Exchange Club of Tifton, P.O. Box 1621, Tifton, GA 31793 or email to spearmanagency@friendlycity.net  with the subject "Exchange Club Golden Deeds." 

For more information , call Angela Elder at 229-386-0216 .
Assistant Principal Jenny Abercrombie of J.T. Reddick Elementary School gives students an 'air fist bump' as they visit while picking up lunches.
While in-class instruction is suspended for now at Tift County school s, the school system continues to offer bagged lunches to all students under age 18 .

Grab-&-Go lunches are available to children from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays though Fridays from school buses at several locations , detailed on the school system's website and Facebook page. On Fridays , students are receiving an additional breakfast and lunch in their regular meal bag for the weekend .

As the school system continues providing meals to students and offering long-distance instruction , some events have fallen victim to the coronavirus situation . On Tuesday , Tift County High Principal Kim Seigler announced that the junior-senior prom has been canceled for this year.

The prom was scheduled for April 25 , and the governor has ordered all schools closed through April 27 , with the chance that the date could be extended .

"The decision to cancel prom was a difficult one," Seigler wrote in a letter to students and parents. "Thank you for understanding that keeping our students and their families safe is the most important event occurring at Tift County High School this spring ."
The Tift County Commission on Children & Youth (TCCCY) is asking everyone to wear blue this Friday, April 3 , to show commitment to preventing child abuse .

"April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month; in support,  please wear blue on Friday, April 3, 2020. On this day, individuals and organizations across the nation will band together to make a visible commitment to preventing child abuse and supporting strong families and healthy children throughout the state," said Lillie McEntyre of TCCCY.

"We anticipate many of you will be home, so dress in blue , take a selfie or, if you are there with your family, dress everyone in blue and take a family picture and then share it to Facebook ... while still maintaining social isolation ."

McEntyre asks that folks take photos of themselves and others wearing blue Friday , share it using the hashtag  #TiftWearBlue2020  on Facebook and/or Twitter , and  e-mail it to  tc3y@friendlycity.net
The  cat   and  dog   pictured here are among several animals recently  rescued   by  Tift County Animal Control . If this is your pet, please call the  animal shelter   to claim,  229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
– MARCH 29, 1933
At 3 a.m. on March 29, 1933 , three "gangsters" robbed Tifton's Myon Hotel , bound and gagged the night clerk Weldon Ireland and kidnapped night policeman Jack Whitehurst . The robbers escaped with $125 in cash. Whitehurst was found at about 7 a.m. tied to a tree near Poulan .
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