Chairwoman Cupid defends COVID Declaration of Emergency at Cobb BOC meeting

Cobb BOC Chairwoman Lisa Cupid at lectern during her second swearing-in ceremonyCobb Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid at her second swearing-in as District 4 commissioner (Photo: Cobb County Courier/Larry Felton Johnson)

Chairwoman Lisa Cupid of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners made a statement at yesterday evening’s meeting defending her decision to extend the COVID Declaration of Emergency.

She made the following remarks:

Before we head into today’s meeting, I did want to provide some clarity on a matter which a number may be here to address which is the emergency order that I renewed over the weekend.

Data shows rates of COVID transmission are dropping precipitously.


Nonetheless, we are still at a rate of transmission that is double the threshold the rate of high transmission.

The current rate of transmission is 243 per 100,000, and it is significantly lower than the rate at the beginning of the month, which was 1,651 cases per 100,000 persons.

Still, Cobb County has not dipped below 100 out of 100,000 cases, which again would signal that we no longer have high transmission of COVID.

Another data point used to indicate high transmission of COVID is the positivity rate. A positivity rate above 5% is considered high.

While at the beginning of the month, we were at a positivity rate of 22%, the last metric I received from Cobb Douglas public health was a rate of 7.9%, which is certainly much closer to 5%. But we are not below the threshold rate of high transmission just yet.

Additional data that I consider when putting forward an emergency order is feedback from our hospital system, both quantitative and qualitative.

I have weekly calls with them, where they provide information about bed usage, ventilator use staff levels, and emergency room impact.

This feedback helps me understand the impact that the pandemic is having on the hospital system’s ability to care for our citizens.

While the burden on our hospital system is decreasing, conditions are still burdening.

This has resulted in persons not being able to receive prompt attention for non-COVID matters and has also resulted in depleting availability of health care workers who have been pushed to their brink.

The emergency order that I put in place recognizes both quantitative and qualitative data, again of COVID transmission numbers and qualitative information about the impact on our hospital system.

And when it’s put in place, it has information to encourage the county to still take precaution and taking part in activities like getting vaccinated.

It also provides the county opportunity to modify our meetings to help keep the public safe.

And modifications can include things like allowing people to participate in our zoning meeting virtually and having our meetings in a hybrid format.

With respect to any modifications made to our building operations, that is in the purview of our county manager who does take into consideration the emergency order, but she also takes into consideration how she can help keep people in our building safe here.

Measures that may be put in place may include the wearing of masks, social distancing, as you can see, our chairs are not as close together as they typically are. And sometimes we have capacity restrictions, particularly at our event facilities.

Please note that our emergency order typically has an effective 30 day time window.

Nonetheless, the order can be ended at any time within those 30 days.

Shall we have rates that fall below the threshold rates of high transmission and the [burden is eased] at our hospitals, I will be more than glad to end the order.

I am no glutton for the punishment that I receive in the emails and calls that I get that consider me none other than a child of God.

I too look forward to the day where I don’t have to wear this mask before you and we can see all of our county facilities full again.

The numbers are dropping, and I am very hopeful that that day will be with us soon.

With that, I’m going to turn to our regular agenda for today.