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County and city officials told COVID-19 pandemic could last three to four months; death toll rises

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County and city officials told COVID-19 pandemic could last three to four months; death toll rises

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A lone pedestrian makes his way down Church Street in Downtown Decatur on Saturday, March 21, 2020.


Atlanta, GA – Shortly before the Georgia Municipal Association advised all cities to declare a public health emergency for COVID-19, they received a sobering assessment from Carlos del Rio.

He’s the chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health and Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

The presentation, first reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, predicts that we will be dealing with the pandemic for three to four months “and there will be significant pain.” If that proves to be true, it could mean that local schools would be closed for the rest of the year.

COVID-19 could cause between 1,062 and 27,605 deaths in Georgia if there are no aggressive interventions, the presentation warned. The majority of those deaths would be among people 65 and older.

In Atlanta, it could cause 595 to 15,470 deaths.

The hospitalization rates in the report also are staggering. The state could see anywhere between 10,617 and 276,053 hospitalizations due to the pandemic.

It also offers a glimpse into how effective government responses could be, showing the outcomes if officials took no action to the outcome of three months of a “Wuhan-style lockdown.” The outcomes were predicted by CovidActNow.org, an organization that describes itself as “a team of data scientists, engineers, and designers in partnership with epidemiologists, public health officials, and political leaders to help understand how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their region.” These estimates are higher than the other ones presented in the report.

CovidActNow.org says that in Georgia, a shelter-in-place order would need to be implemented by April 13 to April 18 to prevent a hospital overload.

The presentation said, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better” and advises leaders to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

To date, Gov. Brian Kemp resisted calls for a statewide shutdown, opting instead to tell vulnerable people to isolate themselves and leaving the task of enforcing social distancing to local leaders.

The report implies that officials can shorten the length of the pandemic by taking decisive action.

“This too shall pass,” the report says. “How long it lasts is really up to us.”

At 7 p.m. on March 25, the state released its latest statistics on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Since noon on March 25, the number of confirmed cases increased from 1,247 confirmed cases to 1,387, and there were seven more deaths for a total of 47 fatalities. There are currently 438 hospitalizations up from 394 reported at noon on March 25. DeKalb County has 125 confirmed cases, up from the 116 confirmed cases reported at noon on March 25. DeKalb County is No. 2 in the state for confirmed cases.

The number of cases is likely much higher than is publicly known due to limited testing. People with mild symptoms aren’t being offered tests.

Confirmed cases and deaths in Georgia.
COVID-19 Confirmed Cases No. Cases (%)
Total 1387 (100%)
Hospitalized 438(31.58%)
Deaths 47 (3.39%)


COVID-19 Testing by Lab
Lab Number of Positive Tests Total Tests
Commercial Lab 1172 4697
GPHL 215 1482


COVID-19 Confirmed Cases by County
County Cases
Fulton 204
Dekalb 125
Dougherty 123
Cobb 109
Bartow 82
Gwinnett 69
Carroll 50
Cherokee 36
Clayton 29
Lee 25
Clarke 21
Henry 20
Hall 19
Douglas 18
Floyd 14
Fayette 12
Lowndes 12
Columbia 10
Coweta 10
Forsyth 10
Richmond 10
Rockdale 10
Spalding 10
Gordon 9
Polk 9
Newton 8
Chatham 7
Laurens 7
Troup 7
Bibb 6
Early 6
Houston 6
Oconee 6
Paulding 6
Glynn 5
Peach 5
Sumter 5
Tift 5
Mitchell 4
Muscogee 4
Pickens 4
Terrell 4
Whitfield 4
Baker 3
Bryan 3
Butts 3
Crisp 3
Effingham 3
Lamar 3
Lumpkin 3
Monroe 3
Worth 3
Baldwin 2
Barrow 2
Coffee 2
Colquitt 2
Irwin 2
Jasper 2
Madison 2
Miller 2
Seminole 2
Twiggs 2
Washington 2
Ben Hill 1
Burke 1
Camden 1
Catoosa 1
Charlton 1
Chattooga 1
Clinch 1
Dawson 1
Decatur 1
Dodge 1
Fannin 1
Greene 1
Harris 1
Heard 1
Jackson 1
Jones 1
Liberty 1
Lincoln 1
Long 1
Macon 1
Meriwether 1
Morgan 1
Pierce 1
Pulaski 1
Randolph 1
Stephens 1
Tattnall 1
Taylor 1
Thomas 1
Turner 1
Ware 1
White 1
Wilkes 1
Unknown 160

*Based on patient county of residence when known

Report generated on: 03/25/2020 18:28:06

Coronavirus symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure and include:

– Fever

– Cough

– Shortness of breath

The CDC says the following symptoms require emergency medical attention:

– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

– Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

– New confusion or inability to arouse

– Bluish lips or face

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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