Ask The Doc! Fighting Off Covid-19

Community, Lifestyle
Ask The Doc! Recovery Process Of Covid-19

This morning, The doctors address a comment left on one of the Ask The Doc Segments. What drugs are good for fighting off Covid-19 or do we just wait on a vaccine? The Doctors also address the President and first lady testing positive for Covid-19. What do the Doctors have to say about testing positive with no symptoms? When could he have contracted the virus? How long has he had it? All this and more on Ask The Doc!

 

Ask The Doc! College And Covid-19

Lifestyle
Ask The Doc! Recovery Process Of Covid-19

This morning, the doctors discuss how colleges are dealing with Covid-19. When a Student tests positive, the colleges continue classes and give the infected student their own quarantined dorm. Is this the approach we should be taking with everything? Should we worry over the numbers? Hear Doctor Whaley and Doctor Tidman’s point of view on this right here on Ask the Doc!

 

Towns County remains in good financial health

News
financially, financial health

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw says the county is in good shape financially even in the middle of COVID-19.

The spending freeze Bradshaw enacted at the beginning of the pandemic is still in place.

“We knew that COVID would affect the county financially, so we just stopped spending any money in the county other than things we just had to have,” explained Bradshaw. “We don’t know what this Fall is going to be.”

The Georgia Mountain Fair and the parade were canceled, which impacted Towns tourism economy. The Fall Festival and Christmas Lightshow are still on track at this time.

Governor Brian Kemp updated county commissioners on Georgia’s situation last week. According to Kemp, the statewide case numbers had decreased by 22 percent over the previous two weeks, and hospitalizations dropped by seven percent in seven days.

Every day over 31,000 Georgians receive a COVID-19 test, and the positive case rate is on the decline as the “mortality rate continues to fall,” Kemp’s letter added.

“Our folks are doing a good job here in the county. Our numbers are going up, but I’m just curious…how many of those people are over it and back to normal…I would love to know that data, but we haven’t been able to find that data,” Bradshaw concluded.

The commissioner also asked everyone to remember the three W’s, wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear a mask. The county strongly recommends everyone to wear a mask, especially when social distancing isn’t possible.
Towns received a $4,000 ACCG safety grant, and the funds will go toward road department needs, such as traffic flags, cones, chaps, helmets, safety gloves, reflective lights, safety vests, and goggles. It’s a non-matching grant, so the county isn’t required to pay any money to access the grant funds.

County Reimbursement Resolution

The new SPLOST tax collections will begin in October 2020. The funds will go to the road department and courthouse renovation expenses. However, the county needs to open bidding for a new dump truck for winter road maintenance and pay courthouse renovation architect bills before the collections officially begin. A local government can purchase equipment and pay bills with funds on hand through a county reimbursement resolution and then reimburse itself once SPLOST collections come in.

“The county attorney said that if we have to pay for the dump truck before the collections come in, the county can pay for it, and then when the SPLOST collections come in, we can reimburse ourselves,” said Bradshaw. “It’s for two things, one for the dump truck and the other is the architect firm doing the courthouse renovation and addition. I’m sure those folks are going to be sending bills.”

The resolution lets the county pay for a portion or all of the project, and then reimburse itself for the amount spent. The maximum tax-exempt debt principal is currently estimated to be $8 million, which is the courthouse renovation. Once collections start in October, future payments or purchases will be made using SPLOST funds.

AVITA Community Partners Board Appointment

Deena Handy was appointed to serve on the AVITA Community Partners Board to replace Sylvia Chassner. The AVITA Program works with individuals experiencing mental illness, developmental disabilities, or dealing with substance abuse. Handy holds a bachelor’s in business administration, BS in nursing, RN license, masters in community counseling with a psychological testing specialization.

“She’s a very nice lady, and she’s very dedicated to serving other people,” stated Bradshaw.

Update: Towns County sees 2nd COVID-19 death, 155 confirmed cases

Business, Community, News

Hiawassee, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported the second death in Towns County and  155 confirmed cases of COVID-19

19 total cases have required hospitalization. This information comes from the DPH Wednesday, July 22, 3:00 p.m. update.

The two deaths were a 53-year-old, white female with underlying conditions and an 84-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The total cases in Georgia as of the August 13, 3:00 p.m. update is now: total number of confirmed cases 1228,668 with 21,581 total hospitalized (3,963 requiring ICU admission), and 4,538 deaths. 1,942,610 tests have been administered in Georgia. 

No recovery information is available in the daily reports.

Union County is currently reporting 313 positive cases. At this time, Fetch Your News has no additional information about these cases. We will bring you details as they become available to the public.

July 22 Update:

Hiawassee, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 85 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Towns County with 14 total cases requiring hospitalization. This information comes from the DPH Wednesday, July 22, 3:00 p.m. update.

One death is also confirmed in the county.

The total cases in Georgia as of the July 22, 3:00 p.m. update is now: total number of confirmed cases 152,302 with  15,922 total hospitalized (2,967 requiring ICU admission), and 3,335 deaths. 1,316,844 tests have been administered in Georgia. 

No recovery information is available in the daily reports.

Union County is currently reporting 147 positive cases. At this time, Fetch Your News has no additional information about these cases. We will bring you details as they become available to the public.

June 15 Update:

Hiawassee, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 35 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Towns County with 10 cases requiring hospitalization. This information comes from the DPH Wednesday, June 15, 3:00 p.m. update.

One death is also confirmed in the county.

There has been confusion in counties as to how many residents or visitors have tested positive for the virus. The state reporting is not attributing all cases to place of residence as previously reported, and some cases are ending up being reported to the county where the person had testing done.

Union General Hospital (UGH) released a statement on April 1, that the hospital was treating a Covid-19 positive case with inpatient care. The hospital also confirmed that the patient had come from Towns County.

A day after UGH’s announcement, DPH released that Union County had one positive case. This led many to believe that the case was that of the Towns County resident who had been transported to UGH.

Currently, there is no way of confirming the origins of the positive cases due to HIPAA rules protecting an individual’s medical history. 

Union County is currently reporting 36 positive cases. At this time, Fetch Your News has no additional information about these cases. We will bring you details as they become available to the public.

The total cases in Georgia as of the May 13, 7:00 p.m. update is now: total number of confirmed cases 35,427 with 6,308 hospitalized (1,511 requiring ICU admission), and 1,517 deaths. 273,904 tests have been administered in Georgia.

Timeline of Confirmed Cases in Towns County:

  • First Case – April 3, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Second Case – April 7, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Third Case – April 10, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Fourth, Fifth and Sixth cases – April 14, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Seventh and Eighth cases – April 14, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Ninth and Tenth cases – April 16, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Eleventh and Twelfth cases – April 18, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Thirteenth case – April 19, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Fourteenth and Fifteenth cases – April 20, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth cases – April 22, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Twentieth case – April 24, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • First death – April 28, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Twenty-first case – April 28, 6:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Twenty-second case – May 1, 6:25 p.m. DPH update
  • One case rescinded  bringing total cases back down to 21 – May 2, 6:25 p.m. DPH update
  • One case rescinded bringing total cases down to 20 – May 3, 10:25 a.m. DPH update
  • One case rescinded bringing total cases down to 19 – May 4, 3:25 p.m. DPH update
  • Twentieth case – May 5, 6:25 p.m. DPH update
  • Twenty-first case – May 13, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Twenty-second case – May 26, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Twenty-third case – May 27, 7:00 p.m. DPH update

*Fetch Your News has chosen to report on cases confirmed by the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) only. These reports may not reflect real-time spread as the laboratories processing COVID-19 tests are reportedly backlogged by several days. Fetch Your News is also reaching out to local sources to confirm positive cases before writing articles on the subject. 

Original story below:

Hiawassee, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed the first case of Covid-19 in Towns County in their Friday, April 3, 12:00 p.m. update.

This news was expected as Union General Hospital released a statement on April 1, that the hospital was treating a Covid-19 positive case with inpatient care. The hospital also confirmed that the patient had come from Towns County.

While there had been several suspected cases in Towns County, all testing until today had come back with negative results. As of yesterday, Towns County was one of only 16 counties reporting zero cases of Covid-19.

Now there remains only 12 of Georgia’s 159 counties that are reporting zero cases.

Georgia’s total number of cases confirmed by DPH as of 12:00 p.m. on April 3 has risen to 5,831. Of these cases, 1158 remain hospitalized. DPH is reporting 184 deaths have occurred due to Covid-19 in the State of Georgia.

At this time, Fetch Your News has no additional information about this case. We will bring you details as they become available to the public.

DPH updates the Covid-19 Georgia State Statistics at 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily.

Georgia Coronavirus Origin : The State of Georgia had its first confirmed cases of Coronavirus announced by state officials on March 2. These cases were of a Fulton man in his 50’s that had recently returned from a work trip in Milan, and his 15-year-old son. Fulton County remains the county with the highest number of confirmed cases, 882.

Towns County Health Department delivers COVID-19 update

Community, News
COVID-19 update

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Towns County Health Department (TCHD) Office Manager Laura Ide delivered a COVID-19 update during the July Towns Commission meeting.

Approximately 1 in 698 Towns residents has had a confirmed case of the virus. As of July 21, 84 total cases were reported out of a population of 12,034 with one death and 13 total hospitalizations. The hospitalization number reflected overall cases since March, not the number of current active cases in Chatuge Regional Hospital.

Only three percent of confirmed cases experience severe symptoms, according to the CDC.

“The CDC says it does not act like any known virus,” said Ide.

Over 1,000 COVID-19 nasal swab tests were administered by the TCHD, but some of these were retests from people returned for another exam. As one of six testing sites in Public Health District Two, TCHD often receives patients from neighboring counties and states. The facility conducts drive-up COVID-19 exams once a week on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ide assessed it’s been crazy times at the TCHD during her COVID-19 update.

Nasal swab only tests from active COVID-19 cases; it’s not an antibody test. If a person has the virus at the time of the swab test, it will result in a positive.

Currently, it takes between seven to ten days for results to come back. Those interested in getting tested are encouraged to call their local health department to set up an appointment time. However, Laura stated that people who just show up will be worked into the schedule.

An epidemiologist in Union County performs contact tracing for TCHD. Previously, the epidemiologist in Gainesville tried to cover the entire Public Health District Two, but it proved impossible to accurately monitor 13 counties. Now, several epidemiologists assist in the process.

Additionally, restaurant workers must wear masks as part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive order.

Recovery numbers aren’t available in the state of Georgia at this time.

testing

Current testing schedule for Public Health District Two.

COVID-19 testing site changes effective June 28

Community, Health
testing

GAINESVILLE, GA – District 2 Public Health announces updates to specimen collection site (testing site) schedules effective June 28. Due to the much warmer summer temperatures, all sites will now close by 1:00 pm.

For convenience, an appointment is recommended at each of the Specimen Point of Collection sites. Please call your local health department to schedule an appointment for testing.

Here is a list of our sites and times of operation.

Forsyth County (Central Forsyth HS)                   Wednesday                            8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Franklin County (Health Department)                 Tuesday                                  8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Friday                                     8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Habersham County (Health Department)           Wednesday                            8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Saturday                                 8:30 am to 12:00 pm

Hall County (Allen Creek Soccer Complex)           Mon., Thurs.                           8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Saturday                                 8:30 am to 12:00 pm

Sunday                                   9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Lumpkin County (Health Department)                Wednesday                            8:30 am to 1:00 pm

 Towns County (Health Department)                     Friday                                     8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Call your local health department for an appointment. PDF of new hours

Operation changes to COVID-19 specimen collection sites

Health, Lifestyle
specimen collection sites

GAINESVILLE, GA – Nine specimen collection sites operated jointly by the Georgia National Guard and Augusta University ended operations effective May 30. As of June 1, several sites changed their operating hours. Those interested in receiving a COVID-19 test are strongly encouraged to call and make an appointment.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will continue to operate 136 specimen collection sites throughout the state, and encourages Georgians wanting to be tested for COVID-19 to contact their local health department to schedule an appointment.

During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgia National Guard and Augusta University joined DPH in its testing efforts by providing a web-based screening and scheduling platform and additional specimen collection sites. To date, more than 44,000 people have been tested at AU Health and partnered sites.

“This partnership with the Guard and Augusta University was invaluable to the COVID-19 response in Georgia,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner. “We are grateful for their service to all Georgians, and for the support and capacity they provided DPH to increase testing for COVID-19.”

The Guard will continue to provide staffing and logistical help at DPH specimen collection sites, as well as its mission of assisting DPH with testing residents and staff in long-term care facilities. Augusta University will provide ongoing specimen collections at its two sites in the Augusta area; Christenberry Fieldhouse in Augusta and Patriot’s Park in Columbia County.

COVID-19 testing is available to all Georgians, whether they have symptoms or not. Individuals wanting to be tested should contact their local health department to schedule an appointment at a location convenient to them. Contact information for local health departments and specimen collection sites can be found on the DPH website at dph.ga.gov. People can also use the AU Health ExpressCare app or call the hotline at 706-721-1852 to be scheduled at a DPH or AU Health-operated location.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Kemp opens bars and renews state of emergency

State & National
bars

ATLANTA, Ga – Gov. Brian Kemp decided to continue the state of emergency and stay at home order for the elderly and at-risk individuals through July 12. However, the governor also announced the reopening of bars, amusement parks, night clubs, professional sports, and overnight summer camps.

Music venues must remain closed.

Kemp issued timelines for the lifting of each restriction.

May 31 Openings

  • Overnight Summer Camps

June 1 Openings

  • Gatherings of 25 people will be allowed – if the area meets space requirements
  • Bars
  • Night Clubs
  • Professional Sports
  • Amateur Sports

June 12 Openings

  • Amusement Parks
  • Water Parks

Georgia will not mandate citizens to wear masks, but Kemp highly encourages everyone to wear masks in crowded areas and public places.

66 percent of nursing home residents have been tested for COVID-19. On June 1, the Department of Public Health will move to once-daily updates of coronavirus numbers.

Free COVID-19 Testing in North GA Memorial Day Weekend

Health, Lifestyle

Georgia DPH distributes Remdesivir to hospitals for treatment of COVID-19

Health, Press Release
remdesivir

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is distributing an initial allotment of the drug Remdesivir received from the federal government. Georgia received 30 cases, with 40 vials of the drug per case, enough to treat about 110 patients, depending on the duration of an individual’s treatment. Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine being used to treat hospitalized patients with serious symptoms caused by COVID-19 like low oxygen levels or pneumonia. It has been found to shorten the duration of disease in patients being treated in inpatient hospital settings.

Remdesivir is given intravenously (IV) and decreases the amount of coronavirus in the body, helping patients recover faster.

The distribution plan for Remdesivir in Georgia was developed by DPH leadership, including district health directors and emergency preparedness staff, in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for its use. It is based on the number of patients on ventilators, the most severely ill, and clinical best practices.

Georgia hospitals receiving Remdesivir reported 10 or more COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators, in addition to patients currently being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a machine that takes over the work of the heart and lungs. These criteria are subject to change based on the availability of Remdesivir and
the development of patient care at hospital facilities across the state.

The following hospitals are receiving Remdesivir; Tift Regional Medical Center, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Grady Health System, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, and Augusta University Medical Center.

“DPH is pleased to have the opportunity to share this promising treatment with hospitals on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. “While this drug is not a cure for COVID-19, getting it into the hospitals and improving patient outcomes is moving in the right direction.”

Georgia has received a second, much larger allotment of Remdesivir. DPH is surveying hospitals statewide over the weekend to determine need. This second allotment will be distributed next week.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. committed to supplying approximately 607,000 vials of the experimental drug over the next six weeks to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under an emergency use agreement (EUA). The donation to the United States is part of 1.5 million vials of Remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.

Remdesivir has not been approved by the FDA for widespread use because it is considered investigational, and it is still being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed for use against Ebola. Clinical trials for Remdesivir were done in Georgia at Emory University Hospital.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook

District 2 announces changes in specimen collection sites

Community, Health
testing guidelines specimen collection

GAINESVILLE, GA – District 2 Public Health announces updates to schedules, testing criteria and specimen collection sites. Previous testing criteria was to test individuals with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Due to new testing criteria from Georgia Department of Public Health District 2 anyone with or without symptoms can now be tested for Covid-19.

The Specimen Point of Collection (SPOC) in Hall County will now operate as follows:

Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. The Hall County SPOC is closed on Saturday and Sunday.

A Specimen Point of Collection (SPOC) will be opened at Habersham County Health Department. This site will be open Saturday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, and Sunday from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. The Habersham site will begin operations on Saturday, May 16.

For convenience, we urge residents to call their local health department or the call center to schedule a time to get tested. With an appointment, the average time to get through the SPOC is three to five minutes. All county health departments will continue to schedule appointments during normal business hours, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The call center hours are: 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, every day including Saturday and Sunday.

Specimen Collection sites in Franklin and Towns Counties will continue to operate on Tuesday and Friday of each week. Residents can contact the call center above, or call Franklin County Health Department at 706-384-5575, or call Hart County Health Department at 706-376-5117 to schedule testing at the Franklin County Health Department. To schedule testing at the Towns County Health Department, residents can call Towns County Health Department at 706-896-2265, Union County Health Department at 706-745-6292 or Rabun County Health Department at 706-212-0289.

Remember, for your convenience an appointment is needed at each of the Specimen Point of Collection. Please call the call center 770-531-5600 or your local health department to schedule an appointment for testing.

Kemp changes restaurant and childcare restrictions

Announcements, State & National
childcare

ATLANTA, Ga – On May 12, Gov. Brian Kemp continued to ease restrictions on certain industries – restaurants and childcare – to assist Ga businesses as the state returns to normal.

Childcare facilities now can operate with up to 20 children in a classroom instead of 10 as long as the instructor-to-child ratio is maintained. Departments of Early Care and Learning and Public Health reportedly okayed this expansion and ensured it could be accomplished safely.

Many parents in Ga are returning to work and have encountered difficulty finding childcare services.

“Childcare facilities must continue to adhere to thirteen minimum, mandatory criteria to be able to operate, including strict screening procedures and sanitation mandates for frequently touched items and surfaces. In that same vein, countless families have reached out to my office to discuss how summer camps can safely operate as we battle the spread of COVID-19,” Kemp explained.

Summer day camps have also received the okay to open on May 14 if facilities can meet the 32 requirements developed by the Department of Public Health, constituents, and summer camp operators. The CDC has yet to weigh in on the criteria, but Kemp appeared confident that their plan would move forward.

However, overnight camps are still closed, but eventually, these facilities might be able to open under a case by case basis.

As for restaurants, those who have already opened or considering opening can now allow up to 10 patrons per 300 sq. feet and seat groups of 10. Previously the maximum number at a table was six.

Kemp praised the food industry, “Throughout this pandemic, our restaurant owners and their employees have done a remarkable job in keeping local families fed. These hardworking Georgians have followed the rules, doing the right thing, even when it wasn’t easy.”

Live performance venues, bars, and nightclubs must remain closed through May 31, 2020.

The social distancing and gathering ban on more than 10 people are still in effect unless six feet of separation is possible. The ban applied to all non-critical infrastructure businesses, local governments, and organizations of all types, including social groups, informal get-togethers, and recreational sports, just to name a few. Georgians can expect these protocols to last through at least the end of the month.

“We continue to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings when out in public, and we thank everyone for their willingness to do the right thing,” Kemp added. “The shelter in place provision for medically fragile and Georgians aged 65 and older remains in effect through June 12, 2020.”

Starting on May 18, state agencies will begin transitioning back into in-office services.

As of noon today, Georgia has received its first shipment of Remdesivir from the federal government – thirty cases with forty vials of the drug per case. The Department of Public Health will determine how it will be distributed.

Nursing Home Testing

Georgia’s National Guard has tested 46% of all nursing home residents and 24% of staff at those facilities. However, an estimated 46,000 people who still need to be tested. In total, the Guard has tested 142 nursing homes. The National Guard will continue to test everyone at these facilities until they reach 100 percent.

The press conference did address the re-testing of facilities is new cases are found after the initial testing. Department of Community Health releases daily updates on the status of COVID-19 in nursing homes across Ga.

“As we aggressively test more nursing homes and long-term care facilities, we may see a sharper increase in positive test results. By doing this, it will allow medical providers to intervene earlier and try to mitigate adverse outcomes among vulnerable Georgians. Right now, nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents and staff make up 18.5% of our total positive cases, and 49% of total deaths involve nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents. We ask everyone to continue to protect the elderly and medically fragile, and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure quick, convenient testing is available for all Georgians,” Kemp explained.

Anyone in Ga can now be tested for COVID-19 either through their local health departments or by downloading the Augusta University ExpressCare app, visit augustahealth.org, or call (706) 721-1852.

“With nearly 250 staff in the field today, the Department of Public Health is making progress. Under the leadership of Dr. Toomey, DPH plans to have 1,000 staff deployed in the coming weeks. To streamline contact tracing across the state, we are rolling out a new online monitoring tool – the Healthy Georgia Collaborative – which allows Georgians to identify contacts and monitor symptoms. Health data remains completely confidential. This monitoring tool does not collect any data other than what is entered by the contact. This is how the process works: residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by trained public health staff, who will work with that individual to recall anyone that they might’ve had close contact with while infectious. Those contacts will then be interviewed by DPH to help us map and isolate the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state. If you are contacted by DPH staff, we strongly encourage you to participate in the contact tracing program,” Kemp said about contact tracing.

The governor also urged anyone who needs to visit their doctor for regular appointments or concerns outside of COVID-19 to please do so. Doctors’ offices and emergency rooms have protocols in place to prevent individuals from contracting the virus. Now is not a time to gamble with anyone’s health to avoid COVID-19.

Posted by Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

COVID-19 testing available to all Georgians

Press Release
testing

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has reached its goal of testing 100,000 individuals in 10 days. More than 108,000 tests were processed since Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, set the DPH goal last week.

“This is an important benchmark for Georgia as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” said Toomey. “Increased testing is critical to understanding where there are hotspots of infection and how best to mitigate them.”

Effective immediately, testing is available to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not. There are more than 65 specimen point of collection sites (SPOC) throughout the state, with an additional 30 mobile SPOCs –  locations and hours vary daily.

Individuals wanting to be tested can contact any Georgia public health department to schedule an appointment at a SPOC location convenient to them. Contact information for local health departments can be found on the DPH homepage at

https://dph.georgia.gov/.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Blue Angels, Thunderbirds to flyover Atlanta on Saturday

Announcements, State & National

ATLANTA, Ga – The Blue Angels and Thunderbird flyover on May 2 is in support of the state’s frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.

It will begin over Marietta at 1:35 p.m. and last 25 minutes, ending at 2 p.m. The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels flight path will take them over Buckhead, Sandy Springs,  up to Roswell. The formations will then turn to the south over downtown, Atlanta airport, Fayetteville, and Peachtree City.

Residents are asked to safely view the flyover from their home-quarantine and to refrain from traveling. Social distancing should also be practiced.

Flight path for May 2.

These times are subject to change.

“America Strong is a way for both teams to show appreciation to the thousands of doctors, nurses, first responders, and essential workers out there serving on the frontline day-in and day-out,” said Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, U.S. Navy Blue Angels commanding officer and flight leader for the flyover. “This is an extraordinary and unprecedented time but we will get through this. We are all in this together.”

A formation of 6 F-16C/D Fighting Falcon and 6 F/A-18C/D Hornet aircraft will conduct these flyovers as a collaborative salute to healthcare workers, first responders, military, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This mission, the second of several planned over the coming weeks, is the culmination of more than a month of planning and coordination between the two teams and numerous city and government offices.

The teams welcome and encourage viewers to tag the demonstration teams at @AFThunderbirds and @BlueAngels the flyover on social media with the hashtag #AmericaStrong and #Inthistogether.

For photos and video for America Strong, visit, https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/americastrong.

For more information on the Blue Angels, visit www.blueangels.navy.mil.

For more information on the Thunderbirds, visit www.afthunderbirds.com.

Shelter in Place order extended for medically fragile until June 12

Press Release, State & National
shelter in place

ATLANTA, Ga – Governor Brian P. Kemp signed Executive Order 4.30.20.01 which extends the medically fragile shelter in place and the Public Health State of Emergency until June 12.

The entire statement from the governor is below:

“Tonight at 11:59 PM, the statewide shelter in place order for most Georgians will expire. However, moving forward, I am urging Georgians to continue to stay home whenever possible. I want to thank the people of our great state who heeded public health advice, afforded us time to bolster our healthcare infrastructure, and flattened the curve. We were successful in these efforts, but the fight is far from over.

“In accordance with our executive orders, businesses across the Peach State must continue to operate with strict social distancing and sanitation rules to keep customers and employees safe through May 13, 2020. Those rules vary by business type for a measured, health-driven approach.

“The health and well-being of Georgians are my top priorities, and my decisions are based on data and advice from health officials. I will do what is necessary to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of our people. I will formally extend our public health state of emergency through June 12, 2020, to continue enhanced testing across Georgia, ramp up contact tracing, and maintain effective emergency response operations in every region.

“To protect vulnerable populations, I will sign an order today requiring medically fragile and elderly Georgians to continue to shelter in place through June 12, 2020. In addition, I will order long-term care facilities – including nursing homes, personal care homes, assisted living facilities, and similar community living homes – to utilize enhanced infection control protocols, ensure safer living conditions, and protect residents and staff from coronavirus exposure.

“Together, we will defeat this virus and emerge stronger. Thank you, and God Bless.”

Click here to view a video message from the Governor.

Towns Detention Center inmate tests positive, officers under quarantine

Health, News, Police & Government
Towns County Detention Center Inmate

TOWNS COUNTY, Ga – COVID-19 has flared up in Towns County Detention Center with one inmate testing positive on April 21 and four officers quarantining themselves.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office listed a timeline of events on their Facebook page on April 24 detailing procedures since the initial government shutdown.

On April 19, an inmate was transported to Union General Hospital for treatment, and on April 21, the sheriff’s office received confirmation that the inmate had tested positive for COVID-19.

“All Sheriff’s Office personnel who were tasked with providing security on him at the hospital were provided with PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) to use during their assigned shifts and reminded to practice the recommended 6-foot buffer zone,” stated Towns Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Clinton

Towns County Sheriff’s Office released details concerning positive COVID-19 inmate.

Law enforcement also consulted with the health department to follow COVID-19 protocols, which as of April 11 state that any essential worker potentially exposed to the virus can continue to work if not exhibiting symptoms, wear a facemask, and maintain six feet of distance from all coworkers.

Officers exposed to the confirmed inmate case are considered low risk by the health department if they followed CDC and Georgia Public Health Department guidelines. However, officers displaying COVID-19 symptoms move into the high-risk category.

On April 23, the detention center was sanitized by a company approved by the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, while sheriff’s administrative office received cleaning on April 24 from County Emergency Management.

According to the sheriff’s office, the jail inmate area is cleaned three times daily since March 16. Also, all incoming inmates and detention center staff are screened for COVID-19.

Also, two detention center officers received COVID-19 testing on April 23 after experiencing mild symptoms. They are awaiting results while quarantining at home.

On April 24, two more officers were presenting symptoms and are in quarantine. One individual has taken the test, and the other is awaiting approval to take it.

According to the sheriff’s office, health department personnel explained that only law enforcement individuals with COVID-19 symptoms will receive a test.

The statement ended with, “The Sheriff’s Office has and will continue to take all recommended precautions and guidelines from the health department, GEMA, and CDC to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to the community, inmates, and staff.”

Fetch Your News will update this story as more information becomes available.

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