Good move by the LaGrange mayor during Thursday’s town hall meeting

Published 8:54 pm Friday, March 13, 2020

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On Thursday night, when the entire country was experiencing whiplash due to all of the changes happening concerning the COVID-19 virus, LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton made a brilliant decision to change the format of his annual town hall meeting.

Instead of sticking to the normal format of discussing what is happening in city hall and how tax dollars are being spent, Thornton made the quick decision to bring in local health professionals to talk about the impact of the virus here in Troup County.

He also knew because of the nature of the virus, many residents were likely to stay in their homes due to the advisories of those same health officials telling them to limit their social interactions. Therefore, the town hall was streamed on Facebook Live.

Thornton invited Dr. Olugbenga Obasanjo with the Department of Public Health District 4 and Dr. Rod Duraski, vice president of medical affairs at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, to give the public a real-time look at what is happening in Georgia. The medical professionals also shared with the public about who is being tested, what is likely to happen in the hospital and what should happen if somebody is suspected of the virus.

Obasanjo also encouraged the use of smartphone applications for grocery pickup or delivery as another way to limit contact.

The doctors also didn’t shy away from the perception that the virus may be in Troup County already.

Obasanjo said for now, there are no cases in Troup County, but just because none are official, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any in the community.

“It is very safe to assume that we have it in the community,” Obasanjo said.

We commend Thornton on making the smart decision to put the pressing news of the coronavirus above regular city affairs. While we recognize the importance of hosting town hall meetings and allowing residents the opportunity to have face time with city official in a non-city council meeting setting, we also know he made the right decision Thursday night.

This is a scary time for everyone with the announcement of closures throughout the county, state and country, but the best way to alleviate our fears is through facts. The LaGrange mayor took several steps forward by making sure his constituents had an easy way to gain information straight from the source.