Hiawassee City Council returning to in-person public meetings

Community, News

Hiawassee, Ga – Hiawassee City Council will host its first in-person public meeting at the end of April – a little over a year since the pandemic began.

Announced during the April 6 regular meeting, Mayor Liz Ordiales confirmed that the work session will be held at the Civic Center on April 26. Masks will be required for those in attendance.

Up until now, the city council broadcasted their meetings and work sessions over Facebook Live.

Budget Review

The budget discussion was pushed out until May 24 work session to give the council ample time to review and ask questions. The first reading will be in June.

Ask The Doc! Breast Implant Lymphoma and Throat Cancer

Lifestyle
ask the doc

This morning, the doctors discuss Breast Implant Lymphoma. How common is it? Did the Surgeon make a mistake? The Doctors also touch on Throat Cancer of the Epiglottis. Is the treatment plan correct? The doctors also discuss Covid-19 and the vaccine. What’s True And What’s False? Which of the Vaccines is the most effective?

 

Ask The Doc! Types Of Breast Cancer And The Flu Season

Community
ask the doc

This week, the doctors discuss the different types of breast cancer. They also touch on a question from a viewer regarding the treatment of their husband’s heart tumors. Is he getting the right treatment? What happened to Flu Season? What’s the latest on Covid-19? All this and more on Ask The Doc!

 

Ask The Doc: Long Term Effects of Surviving Cancer

Just For Fun, Lifestyle
ask the doc, Surface time

This week, Dr. Whaley and Dr. Raymond Tidman discuss some questions sent in by viewers. They touch on the long term effects of Cancer and some possible complications of surviving cancer. They also discuss how to know when you’re cured of cancer. Is there anyway to prevent future complications for cancer survivors? The doctors also discuss the current numbers of cancer survivors compared to in the past.

 

Ask The Doc! Gastric Bypass Complications And Sarcomas

Lifestyle
ask the doc

This morning, the Doctors discuss Gastric Bypass Surgery and its complications. When is this surgery needed? What are its complications? They also answer a question regarding a Sarcoma. Dr. Whaley discusses why you shouldn’t google medical information. They also discuss the latest vaccine news. Who should be receiving the vaccine?

 

Ask the Doc! Cologuards and the Lance Armstrong Shot

Community
ask the doc

Dr. William Whaley has returned for the new year and is ready to answer your questions about colonoscopies vs the Cologuard test and the other about Myelodysplasia and the Lance Armstrong shot.

 

 

Towns tenth in the nation for new COVID-19 cases

News
LIz Ordiales Towns Covid-19

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales attended a Georgia Municipal Association conference call where Emory doctors and CDC officials warned Towns County and Georgia COVID-19 numbers were trending in the wrong direction.

“Georgia’s below the national average in testing. They’re higher than the national average in positive cases – 120 percent higher than we were in April,” Ordiales explained. “The rural counties are the worst hit.”

Towns County was ranked number 10 in the nation for increases and bad results and number one in new COVID-19 hospitalizations. In the last week, Towns confirmed 62 new cases with a positivity rate of 17.8 percent. The target rate for COVID-19 is five percent.

Chatuge Regional Hospital is currently full. Ordiales asked everyone to be careful because there’s no room at the hospital. The ICU and regular rooms are booked at Union General Hospital. Georgia hospitals are facing three issues: space, stuff, and staff. All three are running low.

“Their biggest concern now is they’re going to have to place less care on folks, “Somebody who is 90 who is sick do they really transport them because they have nowhere to take them.”

Emory and CDC condemned the vaccine rollout, stating that some vaccines in the state were wasted due to the lack of people available to receive the vaccine. As of Tuesday, 95,706 Georgians had taken their first COVID-19 shot. Both Pfizer and Moderna are a two-shot vaccine.

Follow the guidelines of gatherings of no more than 50 people and six feet of separation urged the local hospitals.

Election and qualifying fees were approved for the 2021 elections.

Hiawassee also paid off the remaining balance for a $1.2 million loan with a 4.375 interest rate. The city had paid $850,000 in interest with 18 years left on the loan. Hiawassee saved approximately $500,000 in interest.

Towns and Union Commissioners encourage public to practice caution concerning COVID-19

Community, News
Union Commissioner Lamar Paris COVID-19

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – With Georgia currently experiencing another COVID-19 spike, Union Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris and Towns Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw asked the communities remain vigilant against the virus.

According to the Department of Public Health Data from December 21, Union and Towns were considered high transmission counties along with most of North Georgia. However, neither were emerging counties meaning they didn’t exhibit a greater than five percent increase in cases and greater than 10 cases in the most recent week.

“It is spiking in Northeast Georgia,” Bradshaw remarked. “I now know people who have died from it, people who are very sick. I can’t express enough take it seriously wash your hands, wear your mask when you’re supposed to.”

He added that county offices have experienced the effects of the virus. The sheriff’s office had several people out sick because of the virus. Also, road department and EMS employees caught COVID-19 and can’t work.

Bradshaw did thank department heads and remaining employees for covering extra shifts during the pandemic. The road department, in particular, managed additional duties since the detainee crews aren’t available because of COVID-19.

Paris hosted the Union Commission meeting over Zoom after experiencing a secondary coronavirus exposure. He wasn’t sick but needed to quarantine until his test came back. The commissioner attended a socially distanced function with masks, but the masks were removed to eat. One of the people tested positive later in the week and Paris was advised to quarantine from the public until Monday, December 21. He told those attending the commission meeting on Thursday, December 17 that he wasn’t experiencing symptoms.

The event he attended where an individual tested positive took place on Thursday, December 10.

“We have to be cautious and follow the CDC guidelines if we expect other people to do that,” Paris stated. “I took the test today and that will take probably a couple of days, possibly Saturday [December 19] before I hear results.”

Governor Brian Kemp announced on December 23 that the World Congress Center would be converted to house 60 hospital beds. Earlier in the year, the state transformed the building into a make-shift hospital for COVID-19 patients if necessary.

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.

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