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Confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia approaches 100, VA hospital has two cases

Avondale Estates Business COVID-19 Decatur Kirkwood Metro ATL Trending Tucker

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia approaches 100, VA hospital has two cases

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. Photo by CDC/ Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin, obtained via the Centers for Disease Control.
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Decatur, GA – The Georgia Department of Public Health reports there are now 99 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of Georgia.

Only one death has been reported so far.

Yesterday, there were 66 cases reported statewide. There are now 10 confirmed cases in DeKalb County, and currently, the county is No. 3 in the state for reported cases.

The number of actual cases is likely higher. In a recent announcement, Gov. Brian Kemp said the state has increased its testing capacity at the state’s lab and is now processing 100 specimens a day. By the end of the week, it will double to 200 specimens a day, he said. Kemp, who has declared a Public Health Emergency, said the state is working on establishing testing sites in every major region of Georgia.

The count of COVID-19 cases in Georgia by county, as of March 15, 2020. Information obtained via the Department of Public Health

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports two people suspected of having the virus are being treated at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Decatur. There are other unconfirmed reports of cases within the Decatur community. Information regarding the specific locations of these cases is not being made available.

“Location of residence, even identifying an area of the county, would be a release of protected health information (PHI), as that would constitute a geographical identifier smaller than a state, except for the initial three digits of a zip code,” Erick Nickens with the DeKalb County Board of Health said.

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In related coronavirus news, DeKalb County has updated its emergency response plan. Here is the latest information from DeKalb County:

DECATUR, Ga.—DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond has directed all county departments to activate their emergency operations plans to protect the public and employees while ensuring the continuation of essential services.

“Our government will continue to serve the people of DeKalb County,” CEO Thurmond said. “We are taking every precaution to limit the spread of the virus in our community.”

The following protocols are in place:

Water

– If needed, the Department of Watershed Management has identified a supplemental certified workforce to ensure continued operations of the water treatment facility.

– The county has reviewed its mutual aid agreements with the state of Georgia to receive emergency assistance to continue service if necessary.

– In 2017, CEO Thurmond signed an executive order establishing a moratorium on all residential water cutoffs while a customer’s bill is disputed.

Public Safety

– To ensure maintenance of appropriate police staffing levels, all detectives will be in uniform as backup reserve officers.

– The Fire Rescue Department has acquired additional personal protective equipment in order to respond to potential COVID-19 calls.

– Adjusted questions asked by E911 staff to identify suspected cases of COVID-19 during the call-taking process by using the emerging infectious disease surveillance system.

Senior Centers

– The county’s 317 Meals on Wheels clients will continue to be served as normal.

– The North DeKalb, South DeKalb, DeKalb-Atlanta and East DeKalb (Bruce Street) senior centers will be open to distribute meals to their 559 customers only. Seniors will be able to pick up their meals between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Senior customers of these centers who do not have transportation should call 770-322-2950 from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

– The Lou Walker and Mason Mill multipurpose senior centers will be closed until further notice.

Sanitation

– Qualified beautification unit employees will be used to supplement sanitation division driver and refuse collector operations.

– The sanitation department has identified retired sanitation employees to supplement operational teams if necessary.

Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs

– While DeKalb’s recreation facilities will be closed to the public, all county parks will remain open for outdoor use. All group gatherings, rentals, program and activities will be suspended from March 16-31.

– Students will be able to pick up snacks at the following DeKalb County recreation centers from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday:

    • Gresham Recreation Center, 3113 Gresham Road, Atlanta, GA 30316
    • Exchange Intergenerational Recreation Center, 2771 Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA 30034
    • Redan Recreation Center, 1839 Phillips Rd., Lithonia, GA 30058
    • Tobie Grant Recreation Center, 644 Parkdale Drive, Scottdale, GA 30079
    • H. Scott Recreation Center, 2230 Tilson Road, Decatur, GA 30032
    • Lucious Sanders Recreation Center, 2484 Bruce Street, Lithonia, GA 30058
    • Mason Mill Recreation Center, 1340- B McConnell Drive, Decatur, GA 30033
    • Hamilton Recreation Center, 3263 Chapel Street, Scottdale, GA 30079
    • Midway Recreation Center, 3181 Midway Road, Decatur, GA  30032

Department of Information Technology

– The information technology department is procuring additional licenses and technology for virtual meetings.

– The department has ordered 100 laptops to help support additional technology requirements.

– Employees with county-issued laptops or iPads have been instructed to take them home each day, as well as any tools/resources they would need to work remotely.

Most local schools and daycares are closed. Some local businesses remain open, for now.

Here are the recommendations on coronavirus prevention from the DeKalb County Board of Health:

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

– Stay home when you are sick.

– Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.

– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The DeKalb County Board of Health is encouraging people not to buy facemasks.

“Surgical masks should be reserved for people who exhibit symptoms (to prevent them from spreading the virus through respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus) and healthcare professionals who are taking care of sick people,” the DeKalb County Board of Health says. “Regular surgical face masks are not effective in protecting against the coronavirus, according to the CDC. A more specialized face mask known as N95 respirators are thicker than surgical masks and are fitted to a person’s face to keep out any viral particles.”

For more information from the Centers for Disease Control, click here.

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