Due to the many health considerations of our volunteers and their families, WWALS, exercising an abundance of caution, will not send the information booth to festivals for the rest of March 2020.
This means we are cancelling our appearances at:
- 2019-03-14-15: Azalea Festival in Valdosta this weekend,
- 2019-03-19-22: Suwannee Spring Reunion at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, and
- 2019-03-21: Wild Azalea Festival in White Springs.
While we are sorry to have to do that, the risk is beyond simple infection of our booth volunteers, which would be bad enough. The novel coronavirus is airborne, causes a disease that in worst cases manifests as double pneumonia, is more infectious than flu, spreads faster, and is at least ten times more deadly. It is more deadly the older the patient. There is no vaccine, and nothing like Tamiflu, for the COVID-19 disease the virus causes. We do not want to risk spreading the disease to anyone.
The most effective ways to slow down the disease are washing hands at least 20 seconds in soap, not touching your face, and keeping a social distance of at least six feet. Obviously that last part is impossible at festivals.
Slowing down the disease is important. That reduces the number of patients at the same time, giving medical facilities a better chance of treating the bad cases that will require oxygen or intensive care. So you can help flatten the curve by handwashing, not touching your face, and keeping your social distance.
If there are still people who don’t consider this virus a problem, consider:
- the U.S. is limiting travel to or from the European Union;
- the NBA has cancelled the rest of its season, as did the NCAA, the NHL, the golf Masters, and the Boston Marathon;
- St. Patrick’s Day parades have been cancelled by Ireland, Chicago, Boston, and “postponed” by Savannah;
- the University of Georgia has shut down all its campuses through March;
- the Florida State University system is doing the same;
- and the Georgia legislature is pausing for an indeterminate time.
- Even Disney World is shutting down.
For much more about the disease, please see these LAKE videos of yesterday morning’s briefing by the Georgia Department of Health (DPH), and their presentation slides. For still more information see the DPH website.
Our monthly Full Moon Paddles on Banks Lake will proceed as scheduled. They don’t have a shuttle; see below. Our next Full Moon Paddle is sunset Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
As discussed on the radio this morning with Valdosta Mayor Scott James and Georgia Power Southwest District Director Joe Brownlee, our other paddles have a difficulty in the shuttle. We have people deposit their boats at the put-in, drive their vehicles to the take-out, and then cram into one or two vehicles to drive back to the put-in. That last part is the problem, because there’s no way to keep people six feet apart when they’re crammed into a car. We’re working on finding a solution.
Meanwhile, at least the cleanup part of the April 18th Earth Day Cleanup and Paddle at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp will proceed as scheduled.
Our next paddle after that is Saturday, April 25th: the Eighth Annual BIG Little River Paddle Race at Reed Bingham State Park between Adel and Moultrie, Georgia. That has a shuttle, which is a problem. We hope to come up with a solution before then.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!