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The pandemic news for Grady County is a mixed bag this week with two more deaths of Grady County residents attributed to COVID-19, while the increase in new cases is lower than the prior week.
There were only 13 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed for Grady County residents in the last seven days, lower than the previous week’s 17 new cases, which was the first week since late June that Grady County had fewer than 20 new cases in a week’s time, based on information from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Grady County has a total of 844 cases and 25 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The two new deaths of Grady County residents added this week by state public health officials are that of a 77-year-old white male with a comorbidity, and an 81-year-old white male with a comorbidity.
The good news regarding cases and bad news of deaths is reflected in the COVID-19 Health Equity Interactive Dashboard by Emory University, which states: “As of 10/18/2020, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in Grady County numbered nine case(s) per 100,000 residents. In comparison, the daily average in Georgia was 14 case(s) per 100,000 and in the United States was 17 case(s) per 100,000.
“As of 10/18/2020, 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 0.3 death(s) per 100,000 and in the United States was 0.2 death(s) per 100,000.”
The numbers of hospitalizations locally is also down. Grady General Hospital had zero COVID positive patients as of Tuesday, while Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville had nine such patients, according to Shealy Register, spokeswoman for Archbold Medical Center, which operates the hospitals.
In the Southwest Georgia public health region, 550 general inpatient beds were in use Tuesday, that’s 70.51 percent of the 780 available beds. Of the total 118 intensive care unit beds in the region, 91 or 77.12 percent were in use Tuesday, according to public health information.
All of the surrounding counties saw lower increases in new cases, with the exception of Colquitt, which reported 90 new cases in the last week.
On Thursday, the Southwest Public Health District 8-2 reported an increase in COVID-19 cases among students in Colquitt County public schools, with many students currently on a 14-day quarantine. The number of positive cases had resulted in another two-week postponement of high school football there.
In Grady County Schools, the news was much better with zero students or employees listed as positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday. One employee at Washington Middle School remained on quarantine. There were also 14 students on quarantine Tuesday, six at Whigham School; three at Shiver School; two at Cairo High School; and one each at Eastside, Northside and Southside elementary schools.
Public health officials still encourage parents to have children tested to help curb the spread of the disease in the community, saying that getting tested is easy and the resulting positive and negative results are valid.
Appointments are available for Covid-19 testing dates scheduled for the Grady County Health Department for Friday, Oct. 23, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
For the community’s convenience, other testing dates and times are available in surrounding counties, and residents can register for testing in any county.
Charles Ruis, M.D., district health director, Southwest Health District, theorizes that in Colquitt County older people are being more cautious and younger people tend to practice social distancing less often, a task that becomes even more challenging with in-person instruction in session.
“If we could get symptomatic people to stay at home, isolate properly, and consult with their physician, that would pay huge dividends. Beyond that, wearing masks, hand washing, and staying six feet apart can reduce the spread,” Ruis says, noting that individuals that are not showing symptoms can also infect others.
Those more vulnerable to contracting the disease need to exercise caution because the virus is still increasing in many of our communities right now, says Ruis. “If those more vulnerable to the disease go out in public and get infected, they are more likely to experience a more serious case of the disease and are more susceptible to death than their younger, healthier counterparts.”
To register by smartphone, tablet, or computer for COVID-19 testing, visit www.covid19.dph.ga.gov, available 24 hours a day. Follow the instructions to schedule an appointment, choosing the preferred location, date, and time. In addition, the appointment hotline is still available Monday through Saturday at (229) 352-6567.