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Central Georgia's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports, and more | Macon, Georgia | 13WMAZ.com

'No one's invincible': Mayor of Reynolds disappointed people not wearing masks during pandemic

Taylor County has seen 14 deaths and 369 cases of COVID-19.

REYNOLDS, Ga. — Reynolds, Georgia is seeing a big problem with coronavirus right now.  The Taylor County department of health says the positivity rate is 27 percent. Compare that with the state's rate of 19 percent.

Mayor Butch Turner says he wanted to do something when it comes to coronavirus. "An effort to get people to listen," he said.

Mayor Turner figured he might be able to get people to listen through social media. He made a long post Wednesday pleading with people to wear their masks around town.

"I hate to see meetings still going on with people without masks and not social distancing," he said.

He says those are mainly community meetings, as the city's business is done on Zoom right now.

During this pandemic, Taylor County has seen 14 confirmed deaths and the mayor says he almost became one of them.

"I actually have no recollection of the ventilator because I was unconscious --they induced a coma," he recalled.

After 17 days in the hospital, he came home to his wife.

As mayor, he could put in a mask mandate, but he says he's chosen not to.

"If people won't follow the governor's directions, I don't think they'll follow mine either," he said.

Lonnie J. Holder has served as police chief in the area for 14 years, and he got his COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.

"What we're seeing in Reynolds, Georgia and Taylor County is people not wearing their masks," Chief Holder said.

He says now is a tough time with the virus, but a piece of material covering your face can go a long way.

"We have some that don't think they have to wear their mask -- they're invincible. No one's invincible. I promise you that it hit me closely. I had two relatives that died from COVID," he said somberly.

The deaths hit close to home in a close-knit community.

Mayor Turner also told us he recently went to a graveside service in Taylor County of a COVID-19 victim and some people were not wearing masks, mingling with people who did have masks on.

Since the pandemic began, Taylor County has seen 369 coronavirus cases.