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Precautions, no closings as COVID surges

News Staff Writer

Some businesses, governmental agencies and other local entities in and around Atmore are taking precautionary measures as the COVID pandemic’s resurgence continues, but the spike in local and area cases has not yet forced any closings.
At Atmore Community Hospital, visitors are still allowed, from 6 to 8 a.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. each day, for general patients, but each must wear a mask and be screened for fever. No visitors are allowed for patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit unless the patient has reached end-of-life status.
Two of the city’s three elder care facilities have been forced to implement COVID restrictions, at least on a temporary basis, due to the upturn in cases.
A spokesperson for The Meadows reported that the facility reached “outbreak status” last Friday, August 20, after two staff members and one resident (the facility’s first) tested positive for the virus. For at least 14 days (through Friday, September 3), no visitors or outsiders except home health workers will be allowed inside. Atmore Nursing Center is also closed to visitors, a spokesperson reported.
According to a spokesperson for The Summit, the assisted living facility “just got out of quarantine” and is “back to normal.” However, visitors must wear a mask, have their temperature checked, sanitize and fill out a waiver before being allowed inside.
The Escambia County Detention Center has not been made off-limits to non-violent arrestees yet, but jail staff is screening all potential inmates before processing them into the jail.
“A lot of other jails are infected with COVID, so we are trying to stay ahead of it,” Sheriff Heath Jackson said. “We’re screening all violators, and if there aren’t any risk factors, we are taking them in.”
Last year, when the pandemic was at its peak, only those charged with felony-grade violent crimes were admitted to the county lockup. Those charged with misdemeanors and non-violent felonies were issued summonses and were incarcerated when the pandemic seemed to ebb.
Neither Atmore City Hall nor the Escambia County Courthouse (including its satellite office in Atmore) have closed their doors to the public, and neither is requiring masks at this time.
Elsewhere in Atmore and the surrounding area:
*Atmore’s SAIL Center is still open, with meals and daily activities continuing, although clients who have not been vaccinated must wear a mask
*First National Bank & Trust’s main branch in Atmore is open, but officials are requiring all customers to wear a face mask when entering the lobby to transact business.
*United Bank is currently not requiring customers to wear masks, although bank employees are doing so, nor has the bank implemented any other restrictive measures.
*The lobby of Escambia River Electric Cooperative’s Jay office will remain closed to the public until further notice, while the Walnut Hill office’s lobby will stay open, with social distancing measures in place. Postal customers are asked to leave packages in the lobby, and EREC staff will collect them after the customer has left the building.