A survey from the Atlanta Regional Commission released last Friday reveals nearly a quarter of Cherokee County residents have been out of work at some point during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Even more experienced reduced hours or pay cuts, the survey showed.

“This year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey demonstrates how the pandemic and related economic fallout have exacerbated long-standing disparities in our community,” said Doug Hooker, Executive Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission. “Now, more than ever, we need to come together, actively listen to one another, and forge solutions to act upon, so we can build bridges of understanding and pathways toward progress, which create a region that works for all residents.”

According to the survey:

♦ Nearly one in four (23%) Cherokee County residents who were employed before the pandemic were laid-off, terminated, or furloughed due to the COVID-19 virus;

♦ Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) residents have received help from a food bank since March;

♦ One-third of Cherokee respondents said that they either had hours or wages reduced or had to quit for safety reasons;

♦ 62% Cherokee residents said they knew someone who had contracted COVID-19;

♦ 34% of Cherokee workers said they had worked from home as a result of the pandemic;

♦ 10% of residents are only slightly or not at all confident in their ability to make their next mortgage or rent payment.

♦ 23% of residents wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 financial emergency could do so only by selling something or borrowing money or didn’t know how they would pay.

The 2020 survey, conducted by Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research, asked questions of 4,400 people across 10 counties about key quality-of-life issues. Learn more at this link: atlantaregional.org/metroatlantaspeaks.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there were 2,547 new cases of coronavirus infection reported in the state on Thursday and 70 deaths, bringing the total for the pandemic to 8,402 — including 109 in Cherokee County.

Over the past two weeks there have been 692 new coronavirus infections locally, according to DPH.

“The number of new cases reported daily is increasing, reinforcing the need for Georgians to continue to wear masks in public, practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid large gatherings and get a flu shot,” DPH officials said in a statement.

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Managing Editor

Gary Tanner is managing editor of The Cherokee Tribune, Cherokee Ledger-News and Cherokee Life magazine. He has been working as a journalist since 1985.

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