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Number of COVID-19 cases here continues to grow

Once again, Grady County’s number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to move up, jumping this week by 28. Fortunately, the number of deaths remains unchanged; we have not had a new death from the disease in a month. There are 174 Grady County residents who have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and five local souls have been lost to it.
Grady General Hospital did not have a positive COVID-19 patient Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Ashley Griffin.
The Grady County Health Department will offer free testing Saturday, June 27, 8 a.m. until noon. Collections are available weekly, on a changing schedule, in Grady, Colquitt, Dougherty, Decatur, Lee, Mitchell, Terrell, Thomas, and Worth counties. Appointments are strongly encouraged. Call the hotline at (229) 352-6567 Monday through Saturday to schedule an appointment for any of those locations.
Surrounding counties are also experiencing a steady incline in positive cases while the death toll appears to be on hold in the last week.
Thomas County had an increase of 23 positive cases since last Tuesday with no new deaths bringing their totals to 388 cases and 33 deaths; Mitchell County had an additional eight positive cases in seven days, and no new deaths, for a total of 441 cases and 38 deaths; Decatur County has had nine new cases and no additional deaths, making their total numbers 245 cases and eight deaths.
Nearby Colquitt County saw a large increase since last Tuesday, with 67 additional cases and one death, bringing their total numbers to 764 cases and 18 deaths.
Statewide, Georgia saw an increase of 8,600 cases in the last week, bringing that total to 67,678 positive cases. There were an additional 159 deaths from COVID-19 in the state, for a total of 2,688.
In Leon County, Florida, a jump of 112 new cases since last Tuesday brings their total to 564. Their death toll from COVID-19 remained at eight.
Gadsden County, Florida had an increase of 21 positive cases for a total of 325, and one new death bringing that total number to six.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is releasing a new video explaining the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing efforts, asking residents to ‘answer the call’ if D.P.H. reaches out.
The video is part of a larger campaign rolling out across the state promoting the Healthy Georgia Collaborative, D.P.H.’s expanded contact tracing program to combat the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing is a public health tool used to monitor the spread of infection and identify outbreaks of COVID-19 before they become widespread community transmission.
Since May, the Healthy Georgia Collaborative has deployed about 1,300 contact tracers and case investigators statewide to interview individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, and then alert, quarantine and test contacts who may have been exposed. To date, 16,590 cases have been interviewed and 40,082 contacts identified.
“For contact tracing to be successful, education is critical,” said D.P.H. Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H. “We need residents to understand what contact tracing is, why it’s important, and how they can participate in helping Georgia stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Beyond explaining the contact tracing process, D.P.H.’s new video also urges residents to “Answer the Call!” When contacts of COVID-19 cases are identified, the first and fastest way that D.P.H. can notify them of their exposure is by calling. “If you don’t pick up the phone,” explains Dr. Toomey, “Then we can’t alert you and get you the support you need. This puts yourself and others at risk of getting sick.”
To encourage participation and reduce scams, when D.P.H. calls, the caller I.D. will say, “GA COVID Team.” Contact tracers will provide resources and information on testing, symptom monitoring and protection for family members.
Any information provided to D.P.H. staff members is kept confidential per HIPAA, which is the law that protects an individual’s personal health information. Georgia’s contact tracing program does not use G.P.S. or Bluetooth technology to track movements of residents.
Contact tracers will never ask for personal information like Social Security numbers, credit card information or citizenship status.
Anyone who suspects fraudulent activity or knows of someone else who has experienced this, should contact the D.P.H. COVID-19 hotline: 1-844-442-2681.

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