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!

 

UPDATE: Rabun has 139 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3 deaths

Health, News

July 23 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 139 and three deaths.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old, white female who had underlying conditions, 37-year-old, white female, with no underlying conditions, and an 82-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, 24 Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 94
  • Habersham – 904
  • Macon, N.C. – 424
  • Clay, N.C. – 49
  • Oconee, S.C. – 615

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

July 22 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 134 and three deaths.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old, white female who had underlying conditions, 37-year-old, white female, with no underlying conditions, and an 82-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, 24 Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 85
  • Habersham – 890
  • Macon, N.C. – 415
  • Clay, N.C. – 41
  • Oconee, S.C. – 585

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

June 23 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 36 and three deaths.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old, white female who had underlying conditions, 37-year-old, white female, with no underlying conditions, and an 82-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, 14 Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 36
  • Habersham – 644
  • Macon, N.C. – 256
  • Clay, N.C. – 9
  • Oconee, S.C. – 142

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

June 17 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 33 and three deaths.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old, white female who had underlying conditions, 37-year-old, white female, with no underlying conditions, and an 82-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, 15 Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 35
  • Habersham – 612
  • Macon, N.C. – 236
  • Clay, N.C. – 9
  • Oconee, S.C. – 95

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

June 15 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 32 and three deaths.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old, white female who had underlying conditions, 37-year-old, white female, with no underlying conditions, and an 82-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, 14 Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 35
  • Habersham – 596
  • Macon, N.C. – 231
  • Clay, N.C. – 9
  • Oconee, S.C. – 61

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

June 11 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 30 and two deaths.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old, white, female who had underlying conditions and an 82-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, 12 Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 32
  • Habersham – 576
  • Macon, N.C. – 159
  • Clay, N.C. – 8
  • Oconee, S.C. – 61

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

June 3 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 23 and one death.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old female who had underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, eight Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 24
  • Habersham – 530
  • Macon, N.C. – 89
  • Clay, N.C. – 8
  • Oconee, S.C. – 48

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

May 27 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 17 and back to one death.

Twice now DPH has reported multiple COVID-19 related deaths in Rabun only to drop the number back to one.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old female who had underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, six Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. This is one down from previous reports.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 23
  • Habersham – 511
  • Macon, N.C. – 18
  • Clay, N.C. – 8
  • Oconee, S.C. – 48

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

May 18 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 15 and two deaths. This is the first DPH confirmed increase in cases since May 9.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patients were a 68-year-old female who had underlying conditions and a 25-year-old female with no underlying conditions. No other details were released about the individuals.

Also, five Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. This is one down from previous reports.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 21
  • Habersham – 455
  • Macon, N.C. – 5
  • Clay, N.C. – 8
  • Oconee, S.C. – 41

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

May 9 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 14 and one death.

Cases could see a rapid increase because, on Friday, May 8 DPH opened testing up to all Georgians, whether they show symptoms or not. Anyone who wants to be tested needs to contact their local health department.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patient was a 68-year-old female who had underlying conditions. Also, five Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. This is one down from previous reports.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 20
  • Habersham – 386
  • Macon, N.C. – 3
  • Clay, N.C. – 8
  • Oconee, S.C. – 29

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

May 4 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health now lists the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as 13 and one death.

According to the DPH data, the deceased patient was a 68-year-old female who had underlying conditions. Also, five Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. This is one down from previous reports.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 19
  • Habersham – 355
  • Macon, N.C. – 3
  • Clay, N.C. – 5
  • Oconee, S.C. – 27

Currently, DPH isn’t releasing recovery data in its reports. However, it should be noted that the majority of confirmed Rabun cases aren’t hospitalized – meaning they are probably recovering at home or experiencing mild symptoms.

May 1 update: RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health added another COVID-19 case to Rabun County’s tally bringing it up to 14 total.

No other details were provided. According to the DPH data, six Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 22
  • Habersham – 326
  • Macon, N.C. – 3
  • Clay, N.C. – 5
  • Oconee, S.C. – 24

April 30 update:

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health added another COVID-19 case to Rabun County’s tally bringing it up to 13 total. Also, the previously listed death has disappeared from the report.

No other details were provided. According to the DPH data, five Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 21
  • Habersham – 257
  • Macon, N.C. – 3
  • Clay, N.C. – 5
  • Oconee, S.C. – 24

April 28 update:

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health added another COVID-19 case to Rabun County’s tally bringing it up to 12 total. Also, as of 12 p.m. on April 28, the DPH provided notification of one COVID-19-related death in the county.

No other details were provided about the new case or death. According to the DPH data, four Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 21
  • Habersham – 212
  • Macon, N.C. – 2
  • Clay, N.C. – 5
  • Oconee, S.C. – 24

April 27 update:

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health added another COVID-19 case to Rabun County’s tally bringing it up to 10 total.

No other details were provided about the new case. According to the DPH data, four Rabun County residents have been admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 20
  • Habersham – 119
  • Macon, N.C. – 2
  • Clay, N.C. – 5
  • Oconee, S.C. – 24

April 22 update:

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health added another COVID-19 case to Rabun County’s tally bringing it up to nine total.

No other details were provided about the new case.

Counties surrounding Rabun:

  • Towns – 19
  • Habersham – 130
  • Macon, N.C. – 2
  • Clay, N.C. – 5
  • Oconee, S.C. – 19

April 8 update:

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Georgia Department of Public Health added another COVID-19 case to Rabun County’s tally bringing it up to six total.

On the Rabun County EMA Facebook page, they asked the public to, “Please make sure you are staying home and let’s try and keep this number down.”

Health Department District Two also issued a letter on April 8 urging people to only travel when necessary and informed the public that some district staff has been reassigned to aid with contact tracing.

The letter also said that nurses are contacting individuals who might test positive and providing them with a course of action. This is the same procedure for any infectious disease. It didn’t address telling the public at large if a positive case attended any gatherings or events before developing symptoms.

Original story and April 7 update below:

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – In Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) April 7, 12 p.m. report, it confirmed that Rabun County has five cases of COVID-19.

The reports don’t provide details about individuals. Fetch Your News will update the story as information becomes available. Please keep the patient and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Georgia now has 8,818 cases and 329 deaths.

Rabun County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency on Sunday, April 5.

In March, Clayton and Dillard announced city-wide closures for on-premise dining.

Towns County which neighbors Rabun has two cases. Habersham to the south has six confirmed cases.

Macon County, N.C. to the north has one case and one death. Clay County, N.C. has three cases. N.C.’s COVID-19 report is released daily by 11 a.m.

Oconee County, S.C. has eight confirmed cases as of April 6 at 4 p.m.

However, medical professionals have stated that Georgia and many states are almost a week behind on processed tests. It’s likely that more cases will be recorded as the labs catch up. Fetch Your News (FYN) has chosen to report only on cases confirmed by DPH, even though these aren’t necessarily to-the-minute because of lab backlogs. FYN’s also contacting other sources to gain more information.

Stay with FYN as we bring you up-to-date news about the spread of the virus in North Georgia and Western North Carolina. See the latest numbers here.

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

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.

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.

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

Free COVID-19 Testing in North GA Memorial Day Weekend

Health, Lifestyle

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.

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.

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.

Rabun High School plans for virtual graduation on May 22, live ceremony later

Board of Education, State & National
school

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Rabun County Schools announced graduation and end-of-year plans for the 2019-2020 year. The strategy took into account COVID-19 protocols.

On May 22nd, a virtual graduation will be held for all seniors with an in-person commencement scheduled for August 1. More details will be added to the Rabun County High School website.

As for the closings of schools, all assignments and homework are due on May 13, and May 6 is the last day new material will be assigned. Paper projects can be dropped off at food pick-up locations, the Board of Education, or the high school front gate during regular hours.

Reports cards will be mailed to students in June. K-8 students will receive notification of grade placement according to report card grades. 9-12 will be based on credit hours earned. Missing assignments and current grades can be checked on Parents Powerschool.

Lunch delivery will continue through May 22.

The return of Chromebooks will move forward once the gov.’s shelter-in-place is lifted.

Original Story from April 2

ATLANTA, Ga – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed Executive Order 04.01.20.01 to close all public-school facilities through the end of the school year.

Kemp announced the order on April 1, along with his decision to implement a shelter in place directive until April 13. He first closed public K-12 schools on March 31 and had since extended the order until April 24.

The order applies to all elementary, secondary, and post-secondary public education facilities in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia communities. As of April 1, the week of April 23 is predicted to be the tipping point in the Georgia outbreak.

Online learning will continue, and local school districts can determine the final day of classes. Also, faculty and staff can return to their classrooms once school districts determine it is safe for employees to enter the campus.

Georgia Department of Public Health and Department of Education are taking measures to ensure the nutrition and safety needs of students are being met during this time.

A testing waiver for public schools was approved earlier in the year. No student will take Georgia Milestones.

This order does not apply to the University System of Georgia or the Technical College System of Georgia. The Chancellor of the University System and Commissioner of the Technical College System reserve the right to make decisions about their respective campuses across Georgia.

Free testing available from Public Health in Gainesville on May 1

Press Release
public health

GAINESVILLE, GA – On Friday, May 1, District 2 Public Health will join the Georgia Mountain Food Bank to offer free food distribution to residents. The event will be held at the lower field at Allen Creek Soccer Complex in Hall County. One package of food per car can be picked up between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or until supplies run out. In addition, public health will be on hand to assist anyone who is sick to register for an appointment for free testing for Covid-19.

Allen Creek Soccer Complex is located at 2500 Allen Creek Rd, Gainesville, GA 30507.

Towns and Union County residents, who don’t want to drive across the mountain, can take advantage of the drive-up testing location at the Towns County Health Department. Please call ahead to make an appointment, the Towns’ number is (706) 896-2265. Union’s number is (706) 745-6292. This isn’t part of the May 1 event, just a full-time testing site to serve the community. 

If you are sick now, call 770-531-5600 to schedule an appointment for free testing. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You must have an appointment to be tested. Also, a package of food will be given to each vehicle at the testing site while supplies last.

Georgia Dept. of Labor addresses unemployment options

Press Release, State & National
unemployment

Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp and the Georgia Department of Labor are partnering to ensure Georgians understand their unemployment options as the state begins the safe reopening of businesses. Governor Kemp announced plans Monday to safely and incrementally reopen sectors of the economy, and today, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler encouraged employers to work with employees to determine a successful return to work plan.

“Thanks to Governor Kemp and his support, we were able to issue an emergency rule that increased the earnings exemption amount from $55 to $300 allowing individuals to make $300 a week without reducing their weekly benefit amount,” said Commissioner Butler. “If a business opens back up slowly and their employees are returning to work with reduced hours, employers can continue to file employer-filed partial claims on behalf of their employees.”

Pursuant to the emergency rule issued on March 26, 2020, an individual can make up to $300 per week without reducing their maximum weekly benefit amount, allowing employees to work reduced hours and still qualify for state weekly benefits and the federal $600 weekly supplement.

“As we take measured steps to reopen sectors of our state’s economy, it is vital that we continue to support Georgians trying to re-enter the workforce,” said Governor Kemp. “Commissioner Butler and the Department of Labor are working around the clock to do just that. Their action under historic circumstances will continue to give our state’s workforce viable options to put food on the table for their families as we fight COVID-19 together.”

Employer-filed partial claims account for 75 percent of the state’s 1.1 million claims since March 14. Employers are required to report an individual’s weekly gross wages when certifying on behalf of the employee with the GDOL. These employer-filed partial claims can include full-time and part-time employees, as long as employers are accurately reporting an individual’s weekly wages. An employer’s account will not be charged for claims filed against it for employer-filed partial claims during this time.

“Despite claims to the contrary, returning to work does not automatically eliminate an individual’s state unemployment eligibility,” said Butler. “In fact, we designed this provision to encourage employers to continue to file while returning employees to work to take advantage of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) benefits.”

The rule states that earnings of $300 or less will not affect entitlement to benefits. Any amount over $300 will be deducted from a claimant’s weekly benefit amount, a payment determination based on an employee’s past wages. As long as a claimant is awarded at least $1 in state benefits, he or she is eligible to receive Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), the additional $600 weekly payment.

“This option was created with lower wage employees in mind,” said Butler. “Allowing Georgians to supplement their income by making an additional $300 or so a week while continuing to receive state benefits, and now the federal supplement, will allow them to continue to heal from the economic wounds brought about by COVID-19.”

If a decision is made by an employee to separate from his/her place of employment, the employee has the right to file an individual claim where an eligibility determination will be made based on the facts presented in the case.

“If an employee is concerned about returning to work due to exposure to COVID-19, we are encouraging employees to communicate with their employers on plans to safely return to work,” explained Butler. “We are all working together on getting Georgians back to work in a safe and stable environment.”

Information on filing an individual unemployment claim, details on how employers must file employer-filed partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at www.gdol.ga.gov.

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