Comm. meeting: Augusta professor wants to do antibody testing in Albany

Those in Albany, Dougherty Co. could participate in new antibody study

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - If you live in Albany or Dougherty County, you may be able to participate in an antibody research study.

An Augusta University team has started testing people to see if they have antibodies for COVID-19 in Columbia County. Researchers have said antibodies can usually protect people who have gotten a disease or virus once, from getting it again.

Now, they want to see if the same is true for the coronavirus, since we don’t know yet if people who have gotten it once, can get it again. Since Dougherty County was such a large hotspot for COVID-19, researchers want to test a sample of people here, now, as well.

“He expressed interest in doing this in Albany-Dougherty County because the high infection rate here. He said this might be a study where the findings would be published in a medical journal,”said Albany Mayor, Bo Dorough.

The study would cost at least $80,000 for the city and county to both participate. Now city and county commissioners must decide if they want to split the costs and join the new research study.

City Manager Sharon Subadan.
City Manager Sharon Subadan. (Source: WALB)

More from Tuesday’s City Commission meeting:

Albany-Dougherty County leaders may continue a local state of emergency. Even though Governor Brian Kemp’s state of emergency is still in effect.

While there was some confusion among city commissioners and Albany Mayor Bo Dorough Tuesday morning, the general consensus is that Albany leaders may need to continue a local state of emergency.

City leaders said in order to get state and federal reimbursements for all of the closures during the coronavirus pandemic, they need to make sure thy area is still considered under a state of emergency. A state of emergency that coincides with the Governor’s Executive Order.

“To make sure that we did not miss, you know, have a misstep that precluded us from getting our reimbursement, because of a technical issue. We are obviously operating under a state of emergency as declared by the state," said City Manager, Sharon Subadan.

The Governor’s state of emergency is still in effect until June 12. Even though most businesses have officially been allowed to reopen now, the order urges the most vulnerable population to still shelter in place. As well as still urging people to social distance.

City Commissioners just discussed this item today. They’ll vote on it at a later meeting.

Other issues discussed Tuesday:

The Southwest Georgia Regional Airport may see around $17.7 million in repairs and construction.

The airport received almost more than $15 million from the CARES Act grant. Now, Transportation Director, David Hamilton, suggests city commissioners approve spending the money over three years.

The improvement suggested include building three new T-Hangars that offer more room for clients and are more modern and would actually cost lest maintenance wise.

“The Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is the major driver of economic development in our region. Last year, we had over 82,000 passengers to come in and out of our airport. Also, the airport is home to UPS which delivers and retrieves 30 million pounds of cargo annually, which makes us second in the state, only to Atlanta,” said David Hamilton, the Transportation Director.

Other improvements include taxiways improvements, new storage hangars and more parking. City commissioners will have to vote to approve the project at their next meeting.

An item brought up by an Albany resident:

Dog owner fights Albany ordinance

An Albany dog owner is questioning the city’s rules in regard to ‘dangerous dogs’.

Charlee James said she owns two dogs that classify as ‘dangerous dogs’. She’s asking city commissioners to revise their current ordinance. It states owners of these dogs must have insurance on them and a surety bond.

She said there is no where in the city limits that gives surety bonds of this type, because under the state ordinance, owners of dangerous dogs don’t need surety bonds; only insurance.

Since James hasn’t been able to get a surety bond, her dogs are being held by animal control.

“We fulfilled all of the physical requirements for it, as far as the fencing, the underground wiring, the pins, the signs, we had all of that, but because we could not get a surety bond, I even have insurance well above the required amount, but because we couldn’t get a surety bond, my dogs are still in the humane society,” said James.

Albany Mayor Bo Dorough and City Commissioners agreed they will put the issue on the next agenda to discuss further.

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