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Georgia Health Department creates new COVID-19 reporting tool; 5 confirmed cases in DeKalb

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Georgia Health Department creates new COVID-19 reporting tool; 5 confirmed cases in DeKalb

Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey speaks during a March 2 press conference. Screen shot obtained via Facebook.
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Atlanta, GA – The Georgia Department of Public Health has created a new web page dedicated to providing information about the number of coronavirus cases in Georgia.

To see the new reporting tool, click here.

Currently, there are five confirmed cases in DeKalb County and 38 cases statewide. The new web page will be updated at midnight every day for the foreseeable future. The state confirmed its first death from coronavirus today, March 12.

Another notable thing about the new reporting tool is it no longer separates “confirmed” and “presumptive” coronavirus cases.

A spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp’s Office said, “The Department of Public Health and private labs (presumptive positives) are the same as the Centers for Disease Control test (confirmed) and the CDC has started moving toward allowing DPH and private labs to be the final say.”

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According to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, there are 128,343 coronavirus cases worldwide and 4,720 deaths.

Chinese health officials believe the virus came from an animal source in the city of Wuhan that then spread person-to-person. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that affect animals, including camels, cats and bats, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Officials suspect the 2019 novel strain, identified as 2019-nCoV, emerged from the SARS virus, which killed hundreds around the globe in 2003. There is no vaccine for this strain of coronavirus.

Symptoms include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath and can appear anywhere between two days or two weeks after exposure. The coronavirus spreads person-to-person, much like influenza, and can easily be contracted through exposure to someone who has the virus. In the current outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control said, symptoms have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

The governor’s office notes that elderly people and individuals with medical conditions are at greater risk if they contract coronavirus.

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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