COVINGTON, Ga. — On Tuesday, April 21, the Georgia National Guard assisted the Newton County Sheriff’s Office Medical Team in testing more than 200 local government employees and inmate workers for COVID-19 in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
The Georgia National Guard has been disinfecting nursing home facilities throughout the state over the past few weeks to minimize the outbreak. The National Guard, in a coordinated effort with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, provided testing to sheriff’s offices in counties hit the hardest by the virus, upon request.
Sheriff Ezell Brown and the Newton County Sheriff’s Office requested the National Guard to test local government employees and inmate workers out of an abundance of caution. Local government employees tested for COVID-19 included the Newton County Fire Department, Newton County EMS, Clerk of Courts Linda Hayes, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, and Newton County Commissioners staff.
An estimated 174 local government employees and 31 inmate workers were tested.
“Newton County EMA Jody B. Nolan and I expressed concerns about the safety and health of our detention officers, deputies, and staff at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office as confirmed cases continue to rise in our community,” said Sheriff Brown. “In an effort to ease those concerns, the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force coordinated plans with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association to perform tests on sheriff’s offices.
“We are grateful the Georgia Sheriff’s Association selected our county to be tested so we can prepare ourselves in these troubling times. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’”