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toll here grows
to 19 as schools
The Southwest Public Health District wants to remind residents that COVID-19 is still active throughout this region, and new cases continue to be diagnosed every day.
With the reopening of schools and high school sports, many teachers, students, and football teams have been required to quarantine following positive tests, said Dr. Charles Ruis, District Health Director, Southwest Health District.
In Grady County, five students and two teachers had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, according to Dr. Kermit Gilliard, superintendent of Grady County Schools. There were a total of 27 students and five teachers who were quarantined.
One of the positive teachers is at Cairo High School and the other is at Whigham School. Three of the positive students are at C.H.S., and the other two are Eastside Elementary School students.
One of the quarantined teachers is at C.H.S., two are at Shiver School, and two are at Whigham.
The quarantined students include 15 at C.H.S., one at Eastside, four at Northside Elementary School, one at Southside Elementary School, four at Washington Middle School, and two at Whigham.
Players in the Pelham City and Early County School Systems were informed of the need to quarantine through September 25 following a game between the two high schools in which a COVID-positive player participated.
“We’re not doing this to make people feel badly about themselves,” said Dr. Ruis. “We just want to remind the community that the COVID Pandemic has not ended. We all need to practice good hygiene, practice social distancing, wear masks or facial coverings when we can’t stay six feet apart, and stay home if we have COVID-related symptoms.”
Grady County has seen two more deaths of local residents from COVID-19 and 31 new positive cases, for totals of 19 deaths and 729 cases of Grady County residents since the pandemic’s beginning.
Those who died of COVID-19 in the last week, according to information from the State Department of Public Health, include an 88-year-old African American woman with no comorbidity, and an 82-year-old white male with a comorbidity.
Grady General Hospital is treating eight positive patients, as of Tuesday, according to Ashley Griffin, spokeswoman for Archbold Medical Centers. Archbold Memorial Hospital had 18 positive patients, Griffin states.
According to the COVID-19 Health Equity Interactive Dashboard by Emory University, Grady County continues to trend higher than state and national numbers.
“As of 9/14/2020, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in Grady County numbered 20 case(s) per 100,000 residents. In comparison, the daily average in Georgia was 16 case(s) per 100,000 and in the United States was 11 case(s) per 100,000.
“As of 9/14/2020, the daily average of new COVID-19 deaths in Grady County numbered 1.2 death(s) per 100,000 residents. In comparison, the daily average in Georgia was 0.4 death(s) per 100,000 and in the United States was 0.2 death(s) per 100,000.”
The increase in cases in surrounding counties continues, but the numbers are not as great as in previous weeks. The biggest jumps continue to be in the Florida counties to the south of Grady County with Leon County having 1,278 new cases in the last seven days, and Gadsden County have 86 new cases.
Public health officials say of utmost importance now is the case investigation and contact tracing procedures that public health staff conduct following a positive test. Dr. Ruis implores Southwest Georgia residents to answer their phones even when they don’t recognize the number as it might be a public health official informing them of exposure to a person who tested positive. Typically, staff from both public health and the affected school system work together to notify individuals of potential exposure and to make informed decisions for the health and safety of the schools and the community.
“Our job is to investigate positive cases to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community. We want everyone to be safe and healthy, that means following isolation and quarantine guidelines, and reporting suspected and positive cases to public health,” said Jacqueline Jenkins, epidemiologist, Southwest Public Health District.