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The rate of increase in new cases in Grady County in a one week period has dropped with only 17 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed here in the last seven days. Even better, no new deaths of Grady County residents were reported, according to information from the Georgia Department of Public Health. This is the first week the number of new cases here has dropped below 20 in a week’s time since late June. Last week’s increase in Grady County was 36 new cases.
Grady County has had a total of 831 positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, and the number of local citizens who have died from the disease remains at 23.
The COVID-19 Health Equity Interactive Dashboard by Emory University confirms the positive news, stating, “As of 10/12/2020, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in Grady County numbered 12 case(s) per 100,000 residents. In comparison, the daily average in Georgia was 13 case(s) per 100,000 and in the United States was 15 case(s) per 100,000.
“As of 10/12/2020, the daily average of new COVID-19 deaths in Grady County numbered 0 death(s) per 100,000 residents. In comparison, the daily average in Georgia was 0.3 death(s) per 100,000 and in the United States was 0.2 death(s) per 100,000.”
Grady General Hospital was treating three COVID-positive patients as of Tuesday, while Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville had 10 such patients, and Mitchell County Hospital in Camilla had one patient, according to Ashley Griffin, spokeswoman for Archbold Medical Center, which operates the hospitals.
In the Southwest Georgia public health region, 73.47 percent, or 565 of the 769 inpatient hospital beds available were in use as of Tuesday, and 95 of the 115 total I.C.U. beds, or 82.61 percent, were in use, according to public health information. Of the region’s 289 ventilators, 13.84 percent, or 40 ventilators, were in use Tuesday.
The number of COVID-19 cases in surrounding counties remains relatively low, but Thomas and Mitchell counties saw slight upticks, up 32 and 15 respectively in the last week compared to 23 and 13 new cases the previous week.
Decatur County experienced a sharp decrease in new cases in the last week with only 21 new cases in the last seven days compared to 60 new cases the previous week.
Decatur and Thomas counties each had two new deaths from COVID-19 in the last week, while Mitchell County had one.
In Florida, Leon County had a big jump in new cases compared to the previous week, 435 new cases of COVID-19 this week, only 291 the week prior.
Grady County Schools have only two students and one employee out with positive COVID-19 diagnoses, according to Dr. Kermit Gilliard, school superintendent. The positive students attend Shiver School, and the employee works at Whigham School.
There are 73 students and seven employees who were on quarantine as of Tuesday.
On quarantine are 16 students and two employees at Cairo High School; six students at Eastside Elementary School; six students at Northside Elementary School; five students at Shiver; one student at Southside Elementary School; 17 students and three employees at Washington Middle School; 22 students and two teachers at Whigham.
Public health officials are encouraging citizens over the age of six months to get a flu shot this year.
“Now more than ever, influenza vaccination is critical not only to protect people from getting sick, but to reduce the burden on our healthcare system already caring for COVID-19 patients,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, DPH commissioner. “Even if the vaccine doesn’t prevent illness from flu completely, it can help reduce the severity and risk of serious complications – and keep people out of the hospital during this COVID-19 pandemic.”
Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, including: fever or feeling feverish/chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle pain or body aches and headaches; vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults).
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Both the flu and COVID-19 spread in similar ways. Droplets or smaller virus particles from a sick person can transmit the virus to other people nearby. The smallest particles may linger in the air, and another person can inhale them and become infected.
An important difference between flu and COVID-19 is there is a vaccine available to everyone to protect against flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting an annual flu shot by the end of October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.
To help protect against the flu or any respiratory illness, including COVID-19: anyone with symptoms should stay home from school or work; practice social distancing with 6 feet; wear a mask or face covering in public; wash hands frequently and thoroughly (use hand sanitizers if no access to soap and water); cover the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing (use a tissue, or cough/sneeze into the crook of the elbow or arm); avoid touching the face.
There are medications that can be used to treat flu but they are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.