Anderson County dealing with storm cleanup, coronavirus

By Stan Welch
The resources, both fiscal and in terms of manpower, continue to be stretched in Anderson County, as events, both ongoing and finite, continue to occur.
County Administrator Rusty Burns says that six crews were out early Monday morning, clearing downed trees and debris from Sunday night’s powerful storms; storms that ravaged the Upstate. While escaping the worst of the damage, the county did have a hundred and twenty five trees down in public roadways; requiring significant cleanup efforts. Serious power outages complicated the various efforts, and intensified the results of the storms for thousands.
Burns has already reduced the county administrative resources to a bare minimum in response to the coronavirus ‘stay at home’ restrictions imposed by the Governor. “We are still performing all the functions that people expect. We just aren’t doing them face to face. Most of the transactions with the public can be conducted by phone or online.”
Burns is also anticipating the possibility of positive tests for the coronavirus among the county’s homeless population. “We are preparing for that eventuality, and are establishing lodging that will allow us to isolate and contain those individuals who do test positive.”
All County Council and associated committee and commission meetings have been canceled, and a skeleton crew mans the offices in the historic courthouse. Similar minimal staffing is available in other county departments and facilities.
Burns says, that despite the small staff, the county is working to provide information to municipalities, EMS providers and other first response organizations about how to seek the various emergency and stimulus funding the federal government is making available.
Burns, like emergency management director David Baker, stressed the performance of the county’s telecommunications and first responder communities. “These dispatchers, these 911 operators, these law enforcement, EMS and fire fighting personnel have been under the gun even more than usual almost since the first of the year.
This week is National Telecommunications and First Responders Recognition Week. It’s really a shame that they have a week set aside, in the sense that it almost diminishes the work these folks do and the sacrifices they make year round. They are on the front lines every day, every shift they work. It’s hard to overstate the service they provide to their communities.”