“You don’t notice that it’s a crisis”: Few wearing masks in GA county where COVID-19 cases soaring

LAMAR COUNTY, Ga. — Cases of COVID-19 are multiplying in one local county, forcing the school district to take a two-week pause.

Lamar County now has the fourth-highest COVID-19 rate in the state.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was outside Lamar County High School, which is shut down for the next two weeks along with all the county’s other schools.

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School officials said that between positive cases and quarantines, the district didn’t have enough workers to keep schools running. Around 40 staff members and 600 students were out of school when the district decided to shut down.

Ray Simmons said he can see why the district shut the schools down.

“Well there’s not enough people working to keep anything going,” Simmons said.

Simmons said several businesses in the county are struggling to keep workers healthy and employed. Still, Fernandes saw few people in the county wearing masks. Simmons said he would wear one if it’s required, but it’s not required in many places.

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“If you come to Lamar County, you don’t notice that it’s a crisis,” Simmons said. “And I don’t know whether that’s the local government, or the news, but it’s not portrayed as being the seriousness that I’m sure it is.”

Barbara Johnson was one of the few people she saw wearing a mask as she got off work.

“I will not take my mask off until I get to the car,” Johnson said.

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With so many COVID-19 cases in the county, she decided to get vaccinated.

“I’m getting my second shot on September 23. All these people catching this stuff. I mean, you know, it’s hard to work with people that’s getting it,” Johnson said. “So I decided to get it.”

Even if the county were to call for a mask mandate, Simmons doesn’t think it will work.

“This is going to sound awful, but I don’t think the masks work,” Simmons said. “I think if the masks worked we wouldn’t have a crisis.”

The CDC said masks do work and encourages everyone to wear them.