By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — The city of Trussville is watching the spread of the coronavirus closely, according to Mayor Buddy Choat.
As of Thursday, March 26, Choat said the city has sanitized City Hall, including the courtroom and administrative offices. Choat said he is following guidelines set forth by the Jefferson County Health Department and by state officials.
Councilmembers we spoke to believe Mayor Choat is doing the right thing by monitoring the situation day-by-day.
Council President Zack Steele
Council President Dr. Zack Steele said he feels the city is being proactive compared to other city governments across the state of Alabama.
“We’re tackling this crisis and I think the mayor has done everything the right way,” said Steele. “I also want our citizens to know that they need to be very concerned about what the very near future may hold.”
Steele, who has a background in microbiology, said he feels the peak of the coronavirus will not be seen until the end of April.
“From all the evidence that I’ve seen, we’re not anywhere near the end of this, so people need to make preparations for when this really, really gets bad,” Steele explained. “It hasn’t gotten as bad as it’s going to get.”
As a parent, Steele said this is a difficult time.
“I have kids that are old enough to understand that this is a serious thing,” Steele added. “It’s a scary thought as a parent right now. My kids are very involved in sports and it really permeates who they are. That’s their friends, that’s their social circle and all that’s gone right now and it’s gone for the foreseeable future.”
Steele said his best advice to the people of Trussville is to shelter in place and to stay out of public places if at all possible.
Councilman Alan Taylor
Councilman Alan Taylor said he believes people are already sheltering in place.
“Even though we don’t have a mandatory ‘shelter in place’ in Trussville, I think the people, for the most part, have heeded to the call of the health department and the president and the governor and people are just staying home,” Taylor said.
The councilman is pleased with the way the city and Mayor Choat have handled the health crisis. Taylor believes the city will continue to progress in its fight against the spread of COVID-19.
“I think from what’s happened right now, you’ll see us just maintaining what’s already in place from the health department,” Taylor said. “I think if we follow the guidelines by the government and the health department that we will weather through this.”
Taylor hopes the people of Trussville are able to see social distancing as an opportunity to self-reset.
“I think just stay home and enjoy family time,” said Taylor. “Get out in the fresh air when you can, take walks and just kind of use this time to re-energize yourself because hopefully very soon everybody will be back to work and back to normal.”
Councilman Perry Cook
Councilman Perry Cook echoes the mayor’s comments about following health department and state guidelines.
“First and foremost I think our city is fortunate to have a good leader,” Cook said.
Cook believes every citizen should be cautious when in public and follow instructions from health and state officials.
“We should be vigilant about protecting ourselves and protecting others,” Cook said. “As you know, the younger generation can be asymptomatic of it, not know it and carry it to an older person and transfer it and it would be detrimental to that person.”
Keeping social distancing in mind, Cook said citizens in Trussville should remember to only do things that are necessary. He wants everyone to do their part in combatting the spread of coronavirus.
“There are some that think it’s not as serious as others,” Cook explained. “I think it’s a very serious situation. There are people in Montgomery who are smart and I think we need to follow the guidelines of our governor, the health department and the World Health Organization and not listen to the politics of what is the right thing to do.”
Cook said it is important to listen to those professionals and air on the side of caution.
Councilman Jef Freeman
Councilman Jef Freeman is pleading with the public to take action by avoiding unnecessary socializing and by practicing social distancing. Freeman said the city is following orders and recommendations by the Jefferson County Health Department.
“If the Jefferson County Health Department issued a shelter in place order in Jefferson County, it would be my recommendation that Trussville follow that,” Freeman said.
Freeman said he gets concerned when he sees people walking close to each other in public areas, such as the Trussville greenway.
“I think it’s important that we get the word out and that people realize that we can survive this, we just have to be smart,” Freeman said. “It’s amazing to me when you go around and see people not really paying attention.”
Mental health and drug use is another concern Freeman has, but he believes Trussville’s first responders are ready to take on any challenges.
Freeman joined in on a briefing with the White House’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Wednesday.
“I walked away with a lot of insight on things that are happening nationally that are going to spill over and help us locally,” said Freeman.
On the call, Freeman said he heard from Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
“He did point out that 90% of the tests given come back negative,” said Freeman. “Even out of the ones that are positive,95% of those people recover. So, that’s the good news.”
Freeman said it is still very concerning when you see the large number of people that have already been impacted.
Freeman has learned testing for coronavirus is improving. He said he heard encouraging news about how America’s manufacturers are shifting into overdrive to meet demand.
On the other hand, Freeman said coronavirus fraud is another aspect of the pandemic that could hit home.
“Something else we really need to focus on is the potential fraud,” Freeman explained. “You’re going to be getting phone calls, emails, texts, from people who aren’t legitimate and trying to take advantage of people and we really need to be on alert from that.”
If you think you have experienced potential fraud, you can call the Disaster Fraud hotline (877) 720-5721.
Go to Coronavirus.gov for more information.
Councilman Brian Plant was not immediately available for comment on this story.