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Clay County officials ask community to stop 'surge buying', details new steps to combat COVID-19

To address all COVID-19 questions and concerns a local call center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can contact that call center at 877-252-9362.

Clay County Emergency Management officials and county leaders held another press conference Friday with an update on their efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to explain how they are working to assist people in the community. 

John Ward, the Director of Emergency Management, said their teams have been working as a unified effort for weeks. 

To address all questions and concerns they have set up a local call center that is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. You can contact that call center at 877-252-9362. They also advised citizens to find updates via the CDC's website, the Florida Department of Health and their county website. 

“This is an ever-changing, unprecedented event that is impacting our county, state and nation so we want our folks to stay up to date," said Ward. "As we stated yesterday, we want our citizens to remain calm."

He asked the community to especially stay calm as they shop for groceries and necessities. 

"As for surge buying, we are still seeing a lot of the surge buying," Ward said. "Please step back and only take what you need. That supply chain is not going to break."

He asked people to "slow down purchasing" so they can allow for enough items and food for the elderly, disabled and immunocompromised. 

"We are looking at eight to ten weeks out to be fully recovered."

County Manager Howard Wannamaker said their local state of emergency was extended for seven days. He asked people to call the number 904-204-6300 for any contact with local government buildings. They will see people by appointments only.

Howard said all board, committee and county meetings have been canceled through April 13. Public libraries are also closed, but periodicals are available online. People can still return books, but they aren't required to at the moment. 

Parks remain open until sunset. The Tax Collectors Office is closing all locations starting Monday. The Property Appraiser and Supervisor of Elections offices are closed to public access but you can call them if you need them. 

Local Senior Centers are closed, but Howard said to-go meals still remain available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. or people can pick up meals or coordinate a week's supply if they call their local senior facility.

Mayor Connie Thomas asked people to stop the "rush" and offered reassurance that they were still working on plans to meet everyone's needs. She is meeting with other city leaders Friday to work out how they can provide more food for people in need. 

Tara Green, with the Clerk of Court's office, said all clerk branches, in Keystone Heights, Orange Park and Middleburg, would be closed until April 10. The main county courthouse in Green Cove Springs is open but in a  very limited capacity. People must meet certain criteria with health screenings in order to enter. 

Jury trials, court hearings, applications for passports, and similar options, are postponed at the moment. 

Green asked people to contact the clerk’s office for marriage license information.

They are still processing some services using the courthouse dropbox system, like taking court filings, payments for child support, etc. 

Anyone with criminal court dates is asked to sign up on the county clerk website for alerts and updates pertaining to their court dates. 

Anyone with outstanding traffic tickets that are due is asked to call the county clerks office for more options.

"We are here to help," Green said. 

The clerks' office, law enforcement and local judicial staff are still ready to assist if you call them. 

The main call center number for all questions and concerns is 877-252-9362.

RELATED: Clay County officials address first COVID-19 death, concerns over testing

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