The Grady County Health Department will hold its fourth clinic of COVID-19 testing Friday morning. Testing is now available by appointment to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not.
“Increased testing is critical to understanding where there are hotspots of infection and how best to mitigate them,” says Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Friday’s clinic, or S.P.O.C. (specimen point of collection), will take place 8 a.m. until noon at the health department, which is located at 1030 Fourth St. S.E.
To sign up for a test appointment in Cairo, call the Grady County Health Department at (229) 377-2992.
“We hope the community continues to be interested in being tested. S.P.O.C. clinics are only scheduled a week in advice, so stay tuned,” says Michelle Thornton, R.N./B.S.N., director of Grady County Health Department.
Thornton also assures the public that the test does not hurt.
As more tests are conducted here, an increase is expected in the number of local residents testing positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Those numbers have indeed risen in the last seven days.
Since May 2, 190 people were tested at the health department, and the number of known positive cases in Grady County has risen to 90, as of Tuesday.
Last week, the number of known cases amongst Grady countians was 63 with three deaths. Sadly, a fourth Grady countian has died from COVID-19, according to information from Georgia Department of Public Health, a 64-year-old man.
Testing is ramping up all around the state, and the number of positive cases is also increasing, including in neighboring counties.
Public health information states that Mitchell County has 357 positive cases this week, up from last week’s 331; and an adjustment in the number of deaths of Mitchell countians revised that number down one, from 33 last week to 32 as of Tuesday.
Thomas County positives are 264 this week compared to 204 last week, with 26 deaths this week, compared to 20 last week.
Decatur County has 113 positive cases as of Tuesday compared to 95 last week, and three deaths this week, up one from last week.
Dougherty County, the state’s first hotspot, has 1,643 positive cases this week, up from last week’s 1,550, and 129 deaths as of Tuesday compared to last week’s 125.
The Georgia D.P.H. is increasing its workforce to expand contact tracing for COVID-19 in the state. Contact tracing is used to identify and mitigate hotspots of infection to help prevent further spread of the virus.
Currently, about 250 contact tracers are deployed throughout the state. To date, more than 3,800 individuals testing positive for COVID-19 have been contacted and nearly 13,000 contacts identified.
The goal of public health officials is to have over 1,000 contact tracers within weeks.
Once a COVID-19 case is identified, public health staff work with that individual to help them recall everyone they have had close contact with and where they went while they may have been infectious. Contacts identified during this interview will be called by trained D.P.H. staff indicating that they have been exposed to COVID-19 and asking them to enroll in D.P.H. symptom monitoring and informing them that they must self-quarantine for 14 days after the exposure.
Contact tracing in Georgia is confidential – the identity of the person who tests positive and the information on those who might have been exposed will not be shared, health officials state.