CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – City leaders say they’re trying to be as proactive as possible when tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
Conway was set to possibly join Charleston and Columbia as South Carolina cities with stay-at-home orders. While that changed after Gov. Henry McMaster’s order Monday afternoon, Conway is still finding ways to keep its residents healthy.
Monday’s meeting was a new setting for Conway City Council: a live stream broadcast on YouTube via Zoom, as leaders see how they have responded and will keep responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Too many lives are being put at risk to keep us safe for us to make foolish decisions,” said Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy.
Council no longer needed to pass its own stay-at-home order, declining to vote on an ordinance to do that because of the governor’s announcement less than two hours before the meeting. The city is increasing social distancing efforts while still providing services.
Administrator Adam Emrick says no city employees have tested positive for COVID-19, but nine employees are in self-quarantine and three of them have symptoms of the virus.
“We’ve shifted a lot of operations around to keep things afloat for now, but as this thing continues to progress, we know that we’ll have to change the way we’re doing things across the board,” Emrick said.
Among other measures, parks and playgrounds are closed, while rims have been taken off basketball hoops. Emrick says Conway was preparing as early as Feb. 25, buying additional hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE).
The city is also coordinating with Conway Medical Center on one new idea for more space if the hospital and tents are overwhelmed with patients.
“I do know that they’re working on a remodel of one of their buildings and we’re prepared to issue them a temporary certificate of occupancy,” said Emrick.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says there have been 16 coronavirus cases reported in Conway’s two zip codes, which are about 21% of all confirmed cases in Horry County (76 total cases).