County administrator weighs in on coronavirus pandemic

As we all plan and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want all of our citizens to know that your county government is still at work. We are all receiving a flood of information (some reliable, some not so much) about the current situation in our country and our state.

Local events and meetings are being canceled, and health experts are urging preparation for when COVID-19 inevitably comes to our community. Accordingly, I felt it would be helpful to share with the public a letter I recently sent by email to all county employees addressing COVID-19.

To All County Employees:

We are all focused on and concerned about COVID-19, the new Coronavirus. With so much news coverage on this issue, and with numerous other voices speaking on the topic, it is easy to become confused or frustrated. It is important to be informed, so please only turn to trusted sources for your information, such as I encourage all county employees to remain focused on the job at hand. Citizens will expect us to be at our posts and working, providing stability and assistance when needed, especially our first responders.

Our Emergency Management Department has been busy with preparations and putting good contingencies in place to address COVID-19. County staff is in communication with SCDHEC, local hospitals, law enforcement, the school district, the local delegation and others to have a coordinated response.

Personal hygiene is always important, but especially at times like these. Remember to practice the recommended, common sense measures: wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, disinfect frequently touched surfaces often, avoid touching your face and practice social distancing. Last week, Human Resources distributed hand sanitizer to many departments. Please let us know if you need more. Practice cleanliness at your work stations and wipe down frequently touched surfaces many times a day to protect yourself and citizens who visit our offices. Reach out to me or my assistant Jessica if your department is short on funds for cleaning supplies. Most importantly, if you feel sick, especially if you experience the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), please use your sick leave and receive the proper medical attention.

Communication is important, but don’t allow unwarranted negativity or feelings of panic to set in. Instead, let’s serve as a calm and stabilizing workforce in our community. Let’s demonstrate how Pickens County can pull together.

Best wishes and be safe,

Ken Roper

I hope that citizens find this information reassuring during these uncertain times. The county is mindful of COVID-19 and is taking all the necessary precautionary measures. Pickens County Emergency Management is dedicated to protecting our citizens by taking additional precautionary measures for first responders when answering a call when COVID-19 is suspected. Don’t be alarmed if you are asked “Do you have illness with a fever?” or additional screening questions by 911 dispatch as part of your call should you require emergency assistance. These procedures are in place to protect everyone.

I know we pride ourselves on our Southern hospitality here in Pickens County. We Appalachian folk know how to take care of our neighbors. At this time, taking care of our neighbors looks like practicing good common sense personal hygiene to avoid the spread of this coronavirus. It means avoiding close contact when greeting one another. It means staying away from large crowds. We do not need to be fearful, but we do need to be vigilant. We are protecting the ones we love, especially our elders. Let’s take care of one another and take care of ourselves.

Ken Roper is acting Pickens County administrator. He can be reached at