Commissioner Paris gives COVID-19 update, courthouse case

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Commissioner Paris courthouse

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – As cases rise in Union, Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris commented on the difficulties of the ever-changing pandemic protocols during the July County Commission Meeting.

“We’re finding more and more people in the community are starting to test positive. It’s not an epidemic state yet, but it’s enough that we’re all concerned about it. We had someone in the courthouse this week test positive…We’re hoping this trend we’re seeing nationally, especially the Southeast doesn’t jump up and bite Union County,” Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris stated.

The county’s trying to do everything possible to combat the virus. All courthouse employees started wearing masks when it reopened to the public to try and prevent virus spread. When a potential courthouse exposure happened in April, Paris closed the courthouse for a day to professionally clean the building. ServPro performed the service.

courthouse Qualifying meetings state of emergency

Union County Courthouse closed for a thorough cleaning in April.

This time around, the courthouse isn’t closing, but the health department is currently conducting contact tracing to locate any potential cases. Individual offices will receive a thorough cleaning if necessary.

CDC guidance about disinfecting offices cited that coronaviruses die on surfaces in a matter of hours or days. To safely remove COVID-19 from a surface, first clean the area with soap and water, then an EPA-approved spray on the surface. If an EPA-approved disinfectant is unavailable, 1/3 cup of bleach added to one gallon of water, or a 70 percent alcohol solution will disinfect a surface. Bleach can’t be mixed with other cleaning and disinfection products together. The effectiveness of bleach solutions lasts for up to 24 hours.

Information about COVID-19 currently claimed that it was detected in the air up to three hours later, and plastic, metal, and glass between three to seven days.

“We understand that we all we’re facing no one is going to agree with all our decisions,” Paris said before urging people to reach out via email, phone, text, or Facebook.

Read the article “What does it take to clean a courthouse?”

“The nearly five months of COVID have been the most difficult time in my 20 years of being a commissioner. Almost every day, it’s another decision that must be made, and almost all decisions related to COVID do not have any precedent to go by,” confessed Paris.

The courthouse began requiring face masks after a judicial order came down from the Supreme Court of Georgia in mid-July. Anyone who enters must cover their face, social distance, and receive a temperature check. Paris confirmed this practice would apply to early voting as well.

“It’s not to be mean. It’s not to be overly powerful. It’s mainly to look after your health and those who work here’s health,” added Paris.

While Paris admitted to not agreeing with all of Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision, he continued that the gov. had the toughest job in the state at the moment. Paris recommended that everyone wear a mask in public to protect themselves and others.

Everyone in attendance wore a face mask and had their temperature checked upon entering the building.

“It really takes the pressure off of employees at grocery stores, Walmart, Home Depot, and other businesses when you wear your mask in,” Paris explained. “They won’t say anything to it, but it’s a relief to them.”

As of July 21, the Georgia Department of Public Health listed 144 COVID-19 cases in Union County and five deaths.

 

Update: Union 180 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths

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UPDATE: July 28 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 180 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).  Deaths for Union remained at six.

DPH updated their reporting to showcase current hotspot and case growth over a 14-day period. In the course of two weeks, Union County saw 61 new COVID-19 cases.

36 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point.  DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the four deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, a 90+ white woman with underlying conditions, and a 78-year-old female with underlying conditions.  The statewide case total is now at 156,588 with 3,360 deaths and 16,353 total statewide hospitalizations.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 105
  • White – 241
  • Lumpkin – 247
  • Fannin – 268
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 231

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 23 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 151 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).  However, the deaths for Union remained at four.

Cases went up by four from yesterday’s report.

31 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. This marked two new hospitalizations when the county spent most of July at 29 total hospitalizations.  DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the four deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. The statewide case total is now at 156,588 with 3,360 deaths and 16,353 total statewide hospitalizations.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 94
  • White – 241
  • Lumpkin – 233
  • Fannin – 214
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 189

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 21 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 147 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).  However, the deaths for Union went back down to four from five.

31 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. This marked two new hospitalizations when the county spent most of July at 29 total hospitalizations.  DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and a 55-year old, white female with unknown medical conditions. The statewide case total is now at 152,302 with 3,335 deaths, and 15,922 total statewide hospitalizations.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 85
  • White – 236
  • Lumpkin – 222
  • Fannin – 206
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 178

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 21 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 144 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county’s reported five total coronavirus-related deaths.

29 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and a 55-year old, white female with unknown medical conditions. The statewide case total is now at 148,988 with 3,254 deaths, and 15,494 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 84
  • White – 228
  • Lumpkin – 211
  • Fannin – 199
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 171

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 16 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 127 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county’s reported four total coronavirus-related deaths.

29 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 123,963 with 3,054 deaths, and 13,685 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 75
  • White – 195
  • Lumpkin – 189
  • Fannin – 157
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 124

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 12 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 109 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county’s reported four total coronavirus-related deaths.

29 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 116,926 with 3,001 deaths, and 13,259 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 70
  • White – 172
  • Lumpkin – 170
  • Fannin – 128
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 92

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 26 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 67 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

18 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, and an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 72,995 with 2,770 deaths, and10,605 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 38
  • White – 136
  • Lumpkin – 130
  • Fannin – 94
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 38

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

 

UPDATE: June 23 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 60 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

16 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, and an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 67,675 with 2,687 deaths, and 10,121 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 36
  • White – 132
  • Lumpkin – 121
  • Fannin – 82
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 34

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 17 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 56 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

16 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, and an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 60,030 with 2,575 deaths, and 9,543 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 35
  • White – 124
  • Lumpkin – 110
  • Fannin – 70
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 15 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 54 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

14 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 58,414 with 2,494 deaths, and 9,322 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 35
  • White – 124
  • Lumpkin – 107
  • Fannin – 67
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 11 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 53 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached two.

14 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 54,973 with 2,375 deaths, and 9,073 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 32
  • White – 122
  • Lumpkin – 106
  • Fannin – 63
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 10 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 51 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths also increased to two.

14 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 53,980 with 2,329 deaths, and 8,974 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 31
  • White – 117
  • Lumpkin – 105
  • Fannin – 59
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 3 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 46 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

12 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 32 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Fetch Your News received information that as of Thursday, May 21, Union General Hospital only had one active COVID-19 patient in their facility. Also, the hospital has conducted 612 tests and only 54 came back positive. These cases might not all be Union County residents, just where the person received the initial COVID-19 test.

The statewide case total is now at 44,638 with 1,933 deaths, and 7,745 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 24
  • White – 103
  • Lumpkin – 99
  • Fannin – 47
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 31

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 27 at 1 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 43 in the 12 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

11 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 30 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Fetch Your News received information that as of Thursday, May 21, Union General Hospital only had one active COVID-19 patient in their facility. Also, the hospital has conducted 612 tests and only 54 came back positive. These cases might not all be Union County residents, just where the person received the initial COVID-19 test.

The statewide case total is now at 44,421 with 1,907 deaths, and 7,666 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 22
  • White – 95
  • Lumpkin – 92
  • Fannin – 40
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 26 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 41 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

11 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 30 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Fetch Your News received information that as of Thursday, May 21, Union General Hospital only had one active COVID-19 patient in their facility. Also, the hospital has conducted 612 tests and only 54 came back positive. These cases might not all be Union County residents, just where the person received the initial COVID-19 test.

The statewide case total is now at 43,983 with 1,895 deaths, and 7,640 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 22
  • White – 95
  • Lumpkin – 91
  • Fannin – 40
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 21 at 9 a.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 39 in the 9 a.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

10 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 19 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 40,157 with 1,724 deaths, and 7,194 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 91
  • Lumpkin – 88
  • Fannin – 39
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 18 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 37 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

This is the first increase in cases in almost a week.

Union County residents can now be tested at the Towns County Health Department, but need to call the Union County Health Department first to set up an appointment time.

The expanded availability in testing has further slowed lab turnaround times. Reportedly, it can take up to a week or more for a patient to learn their results.

10 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 17 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 38,283 with 1,649 deaths, and 6,992 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 87
  • Lumpkin – 83
  • Fannin – 38
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 13 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 36 in the 12 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

The number of confirmed cases could see a rapid increase however as DPH released details on Friday about opening testing up to all Georgians. Those who wish to be tested need to contact their local health departments.

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 16 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 35,427 with 1,517 deaths, and 6,308 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 88
  • Lumpkin – 80
  • Fannin – 36
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 11 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 35 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

The number of confirmed cases could see a rapid increase however as DPH released details on Friday about opening testing up to all Georgians. Those who wish to be tested need to contact their local health departments.

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 15 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 34,002 with 1,444 deaths, and 6,036 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 88
  • Lumpkin – 76
  • Fannin – 34
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 9 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 34 in the 6 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

The number of confirmed cases could see a rapid increase however as DPH released details on Friday about opening testing up to all Georgians. Those who wish to be tested need to contact their local health departments.

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 14 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 32,568 with 1,401 deaths, and 5,988 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 88
  • Lumpkin – 76
  • Fannin – 34
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 7 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 33 in the 6 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 21 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 31,575 with 1,340 deaths, and 5,864 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 87
  • Lumpkin – 76
  • Fannin – 34
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 5 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 32 in the 6 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 21 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 29,839 with 1,294 deaths, and 5,654 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 83
  • Lumpkin – 69
  • Fannin – 32
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 19

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 4 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went back up to 31 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 21 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 29,437 with 1,243 deaths, and 5,537 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 19
  • White – 79
  • Lumpkin – 67
  • Fannin – 32
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 19

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 2 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County continue to fall in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). According to the department, Union now has 30 cases down from 33.

Earlier in the week, DPH also removed a death from the Union County list bring that statistic back to one.

According to the latest update, Union County also had 10 total hospitalizations.

Earlier in the day, Towns County received it’s first confirmed death as well.

The statewide case total is now at 28,332 with 1,174 deaths and 5,389 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 78
  • Lumpkin – 63
  • Fannin – 31
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 16

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 28 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 33. However, previous reports from DPH listed two deaths for the county, but the government agency appears to have rescinded one death.

It’s unclear at this time why the death was removed or if it was the elderly male or female previously identified. The new DPH reports removed the deceased patient breakdowns in favor of aggregate data.

According to the latest update, Union County also had 10 total hospitalizations.

Earlier in the day, Towns County received it’s first confirmed death as well.

The statewide case total is now at 24,844 with 1,036 deaths and 4,896 hospitalized.

One employee in Union County Nursing Home is also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of April 23.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 56
  • Lumpkin – 37
  • Fannin – 26
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 16

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 26 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 32 with two COVID-19 related deaths.

The statewide case total is now at 23,481 with 916 deaths and 4,377 hospitalized.

One employee in Union County Nursing Home is also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of April 23.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 38
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 23
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 26 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 29 with 2 COVID-19 related deaths.

The statewide case total is now at 23,401 with 912 deaths and 4,359 hospitalized.

One employee in Union County Nursing Home is also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of April 23.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 38
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 21
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 25 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 28 with 2 Covid-19 related deaths.

The statewide case total is now at 23,216 with 907 deaths and 4,353 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 36
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 21
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 24 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 27. The county’s second death was also reported – an 84-year-old female with underlying conditions.

The first COVID-19-related death was a 79-year-old male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 22,491 with 899 deaths and 4,322 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 38
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 21
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 23 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 25.

The statewide case total is now at 21,883 with 881 deaths and 4,154 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 19
  • White – 36
  • Lumpkin – 28
  • Fannin – 20
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 22 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 18.

The statewide case total is now at 21,102 with 846 deaths and 4,018 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 19
  • White – 33
  • Lumpkin – 26
  • Fannin – 20
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 20 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added one more COVID-19 case to Union County bringing the total to 16.

The statewide case total is now at 19,399 with 775 deaths and 3,703 hospitalized.

Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris, released the following information earlier today:

“At this time, Union General Hospital has tested 165 people with 19 confirmed positives while awaiting the results of 17 tests. This does not include any people who may have used private company testing as we have no way to know who they are.

It is apparently impossible for the CDC numbers to match up exactly with hospital numbers, but this is the latest info taking into consideration that the numbers sometimes change hourly. However, the testing process is improving and test that once took a week to receive the results, are now being received within 24 – 48 hours. We may see more positive responses as we test more, but it is also now easier to keep up with accurate data about Union County COVID-19 cases.”

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 15
  • White – 30
  • Lumpkin – 24
  • Fannin – 19
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

“So while our numbers are increasing, they are moving very slowly. We are keeping our fingers crossed. We can not be too careful and we all must continue to wash our hands, keep 6’ from others, wear masks when possible, do not have any groups over 10 people, and remain at home “Shelter in Place” as much as possible. We are not out of the woods yet!!” Paris added.

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 20 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added one more COVID-19 case to Union County bringing the total to 15.

The statewide case total is now at 18,947 with 733 deaths and 3,550 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 13
  • White – 21
  • Lumpkin – 23
  • Fannin – 16
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 19 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added two more COVID-19 cases to Union County bringing the total to 14.

The statewide case total is now at 18,301 with 687 deaths and 3,464 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 13
  • White – 20
  • Lumpkin – 23
  • Fannin – 16
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 18 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added two more COVID-19 cases to Union County bringing the total to twelve.

The statewide case total is now at 17,841 with 677 deaths and 3,447 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 12
  • White – 20
  • Lumpkin – 22
  • Fannin – 15
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 17 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added two more COVID-19 cases to Union County bringing the total to ten.

The statewide case total is now at 17,194 with 650 deaths and 3,324 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 10
  • White – 20
  • Lumpkin – 20
  • Fannin – 14
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 14 at 12 p.m. 

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added another COVID-19 case to Union County bringing the total to eight.

The statewide case total is now at 14,223 with 501 deaths and 2,769 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 6
  • White – 13
  • Lumpkin – 10
  • Fannin – 13
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 12

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 11 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added another COVID-19 case to Union County, bringing the total to seven.

The statewide case total is now at 12,159 with 428 deaths and 2,479 hospitalized. The total number of cases grew by 676 since yesterday’s 12 p.m. report.

Yesterday, Union General Health System released a statement about a Chatuge Regional Hospital employee testing positive. Fetch Your News spoke with a hospital representative about the case, find more details here.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 3
  • White – 11
  • Lumpkin – 9
  • Fannin – 9
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 10

UPDATE: April 10 at 12 p.m

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added another COVID-19 case to Union County, bringing the total to six.

The statewide case total is now at 11,483 with 416 deaths and 2,351 hospitalized. The total number of cases grew by 598 since last night’s report. DPH isn’t releasing additional details about patients or recovery numbers at this time. It added racial data to the report, but the major of cases race is still unknown.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 3
  • White – 11
  • Lumpkin – 9
  • Fannin – 9
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 10

UPDATE: April 9 at 12 p.m. Additional detailed added at 6:30 p.m. 

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Union County now has one COVID-19- related death confirmed by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) as of April 9 at 12 p.m.

The individual was a 79-year-old male with underlying conditions due to HIPAA laws, no other details will be released by DPH about the person. Union General Hospital also told Fetch Your News that the system hasn’t yet had a COVID-19 death.

Due to the deceased patient’s age and underlying conditions did was considered a high-risk individual according to the DPH.

DPH District 2 MPH Dave Palmer issued the following statement to those worried about the spread of the virus:

“While Covid-19 causes only mild to moderate symptoms in about 80% of the people infected with the virus, it is a serious illness causing more severe symptoms for some people. We must all do our part to slow and stop the spread of the virus and protect those who are most at risk. Governor Kemp’s shelter in place order has specific instructions to stay home and only go out for essential needs. If you have a weakened immune system, you should stay at home and away from other people as much as possible. Allow family and friends to get essential items and deliver them to you. Have them leave the items at the door. Remember no visitors. For those who must go out, take precautions to limit your exposure – maintain social distancing at all times, wash your hands often especially after touching common surfaces (doors, gas pumps, etc.), do not touch your face, & wear a face covering if you choose.”

The number of confirmed cases hasn’t gone up from yesterday’s report. As of 12 p.m., Union County still has five confirmed cases.

Fetch Your News asked Union EMA Director and Fire Chief David Dyer about these cases and he said some of them are at home self-isolating.

On his Facebook, Sole Commissioner reported the following about confirmed cases in Union: “The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report shows currently that Union County has 5 Corona Virus cases that have tested positive. I will verify this a little later, but at least three of these have gone home from the hospital with either one or two still active.”

Dyer urged Union County residents to continue to follow CDC, local, state, and federal guidelines as the community experiences COVID-19 spread. People need to stay home, wash their hands, and contact their primary care provider if they begin to exhibit virus symptoms.

UPDATE: April 8 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga  – Confirmed cases in Union are now at five as of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) April 8, 7 p.m. report. This continued daily growth could be the result of previous tests finally being processed by the laboratories and the state.

In Gov. Kemp’s April 8 press conference, DPH Commissioner Kathleen Toomey admitted that while the department has the most accurate information, it is not real-time. She also added that this applies to all health diseases because it takes time to process tests. Georgia now has 29 laboratories that can test for COVID-19.

Toomey also said the DPH isn’t necessarily keeping up the information coming from local hospitals or on social media.

Counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 2
  • White – 11
  • Lumpkin – 9
  • Fannin – 9
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 9

As for public notification about from DPH about where patients went in the community before testing positive, District Two Health Department MPH told Fetch Your News,

“We depend on information from the individuals that we interview to be inclusive of everywhere they have been and all persons they have had close contact with. Again, they have to have close contact – less than 6 feet and longer than 10 minutes. There should not be any tourism per the governor’s shelter in place order. There should be no public gatherings. People out in public should only be there for essential reasons, food, banking, etc..and should be practicing social distancing. Because the virus is spreading we are not issuing press releases about cases – they are reflected on the GDPH website.”

Fetch Your News has chosen to report on cases confirmed by the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) only. These reports may not reflect real-time spread as the laboratories processing COVID-19 tests are reportedly backlogged by several days. Fetch Your News is also reaching out to local sources to confirm positive cases before writing articles on the subject.

Update: April 7 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Within the span of seven hours, Union County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases grew from three to four according to the April 7 Georgia’s Department of Public Health Report at 7 p.m.

In the 12 p.m. update, DPH informed the public that Union County had three cases, up from the first case, which was originally reported last week. The 7 p.m. update also saw statewide cases reach over 9,000 and 348 deaths.

Cases continue to be found throughout North Georgia with several counties seeing an increase in COVID-19 numbers. Pickens now has two COVID-19 related deaths. Dawson has one death. All were senior citizens and at least two had underlying conditions.

Currently, the DPH report doesn’t release recovery numbers. However, last week in Cherokee County, N.C., its health department reported that six of it’s nine confirmed cases have recovered.

Please keep everyone battling the virus and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Earlier Update and Original Story Below:

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) April 7, 12 p.m. report, it confirmed that Union County now has three COVID-19 cases.

The reports don’t provide details about individuals. Fetch Your News will update the story as information becomes available. Please keep the patient and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Union General Hospital issued a press release last week about a case and patient, who is a Towns County resident being treated at the facility.

Georgia now has 8,818 cases, and a Public Health State of Emergency is in effect until April 13.

Union General Hospital went on lockdown on March 17, 2020, in an effort to prevent COVID-19 from easily entering or leaving the facility.

Blairsville and Union County declared a state of emergency the week of March 23.

The DPH’s only been testing symptomatic and at-risk patients at this point in time. Union County residents should remain vigilant with social distancing and handwashing to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

Cherokee County, N.C. borders Union County to the North and had eleven confirmed, but two being reported in N.Y. and Illinois because the patients reside in those states. The N.Y. patient also attended a contra dance at John C. Campbell Folk School on March 10, so anyone who also visited the Folk School that day should be tested if they start to exhibit symptoms.

Towns County now has two confirmed cases.

Lumpkin County to Union’s southern border now has nine cases of COVID-19. No details are known at this time.

White County which also borders Union to the south has nine cases. Fannin to Union’s west has ten cases.

Stay with Fetch Your News as we bring you up-to-date news about the spread of the virus in North Georgia and Western North Carolina. See the latest numbers here.

Fetch Your News has chosen to report on confirmed cases from the DPH and is reaching out to other sources for details in order to provide accurate information. DPH reports aren’t necessarily real-time cases, but a few days behind due to the backlog of tests.

Union County Canning Plant to open July 7

Announcements, Community
Canning

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – The Union County Canning Plant will open on July 7 by appointment only. Also, the cannery will be limited to 11 groups per time slot.

The cannery will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and no walkups will be accepted.

Those interested in canning must call (706) 439-6043 in advance.  Appointments will be scheduled in two different time slots: 6 a.m.-8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m.-11:45 a.m. The cannery asks that no one brings extra product to be canned at one time. The timed appointments will have set limits and can’t be extended to accommodate overages.

Upon first visiting the cannery, visitors must sign a 2020 Registration Form/Waiver to receive their canning number for the year. If forgotten, the numbers will be posted. Each individual will be assigned a table and asked to remain at their for most of the canning process. After washing the food, they should notify a cannery worker if the food needs to be cooked or steamed. Staff will also sterilize jars, but canners should write their registration number on can lids with Sharpie and immerse them in hot water. Also, canners must fill their jars with the hot product and put lids on jars. A staff member will take it from there and give canners a designated time to return and pick up the finished cans.

See the cannery guidelines below:

COVID-19 Guidelines:

  1. Use of the Canning Plant will be by appointment only.  No walkups will be accepted.  Appointments will be limited to 11 groups per time slot.  No children under 13 will be permitted in the Canning Plant under any circumstances.

  2. All persons entering the Canning Plant shall be screened for cough, fever, and recent exposure to COVID-19. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater will not be permitted to enter the Union County Canning Plant.

  3. Face masks or face covering are required to enter the Union County Canning Plant. An appropriate face mask or face covering is one that covers the wearer’s nose and mouth with fabric or filter material.  Gloves are also required inside the Canning Plant.

  4. Maintain proper social distancing while inside the Canning Plant.

What to bring: Jars, lids (Ball or Kerr), bands, product to be canned, your recipe, and all ingredients.

Cost:  25₵ per pint  •  35₵ per quart

Brief History of Canning

The practice of preserving food by hermetically sealing it inside containers began in 1809 in France. Nicolas Appert started the process as a response to the call from government to preserve food for army and navy use. 50 years later, Louis Paster discovered that the heat killed microorganisms in food, and sealing it prevented other microorganisms from entering. In 1810, Peter Durand patented the use of tin-coated iron cans instead of bottles. Soon after the canning process crossed the pond and the United States quickly became the largest producer of canned goods in the world. 

Families receiving free or reduced school meals eligible for P-EBT

Community, News, State & National
P-EBT

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – The Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) and Georgia Department of Education (DOE) received approval to operate the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program.

Update: As of July 22, Department of Human Services stated the applications for P-EBT would be available in late July. Distribution dates for eligible SNAP families will be released once final dates are determined.

P-EBT will provide 1.1M children, who normally receive free or reduced meals, and families with assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the DFCS website, families will receive a one-time allotment of $256.50 in total P-EBT benefits per child based on the number of school closure days.

It’s a no-cost program that should begin in July and benefits are non-transferable. New information is being added to the DFCS website as details are finalized.

DFCS secured approval for $5.07 per day for the 45 days children missed school in Georgia. The program will work in conjunction with other services and benefits available to families during the pandemic. Families should continue to take advantage of local school and community meal sites.

The current designated allotment amounts from one child and up.

All children accepting free or reduced school meals, “if not for their school closure due to COVID-19, are eligible to receive P-EBT.” Due to the mandated school closures, these children and families can now obtain a P-EBT card to cover the costs of meals. The P-EBT card works at approved Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) EBT retailers to purchase food items.

If families are already on SNAP benefits, they do not need to apply for P-EBT. Eligible SNAP benefits will receive a preloaded P-EBT automatically on their existing EBT card.

Everyone else, who qualifies for free or reduced lunch, must apply, and complete the entire application to see if their child is eligible. Applications are processed in the order that they are received. If approved, these families should receive a P-EBT in the mail within three to four weeks along with instructions on how to use it. The card will be mailed to the address listed on the application.

“Families receiving a P-EBT card will need to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to activate the card. Applicants may log into https://www.connectebt.com/gaebtclient/ or call 888-421-3281 to complete this process. If a P-EBT card is not received from the vendor, recipients can email ebt@dhs.ga.gov for assistance.” – DFCS website.

The distribution dates for SNAP families will be released once final dates are determined. P-EBT benefits will roll over from month-to-month but must be used within 365 days. Any unused P-EBT benefit after 365 days will be removed from the account.

The program was approved by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to aid families with children that have lost access to free or reduced school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. DFCS and DOE collaborated on the program. DFCS utilized May 2020 data from DOE to determine eligibility and enrollment in the school meal program. Students must have participated in reduced meals during the 2019-2020 school year.

Children in charter and private schools who receive free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program should be able to receive P-EBT benefits too.

Homeschooled and Pre-K children should also be able to receive P-EBT if they partake in a federal free or reduced lunch program.

Headstart children aren’t eligible for P-EBT. Families not eligible can contact 211 for assistance from food banks, food pantries, or other resources, as well as visit: https://www.unitedway.org/our-impact/featured-programs/2-1-1.

Foster parents need to sign up for their foster children currently in their care.

Since DFCS is finalizing the program, expect updates. Fetch Your News will adjust this article as details are released.

 

Operation changes to COVID-19 specimen collection sites

Health, Lifestyle
specimen collection sites

GAINESVILLE, GA – Nine specimen collection sites operated jointly by the Georgia National Guard and Augusta University ended operations effective May 30. As of June 1, several sites changed their operating hours. Those interested in receiving a COVID-19 test are strongly encouraged to call and make an appointment.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will continue to operate 136 specimen collection sites throughout the state, and encourages Georgians wanting to be tested for COVID-19 to contact their local health department to schedule an appointment.

During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgia National Guard and Augusta University joined DPH in its testing efforts by providing a web-based screening and scheduling platform and additional specimen collection sites. To date, more than 44,000 people have been tested at AU Health and partnered sites.

“This partnership with the Guard and Augusta University was invaluable to the COVID-19 response in Georgia,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner. “We are grateful for their service to all Georgians, and for the support and capacity they provided DPH to increase testing for COVID-19.”

The Guard will continue to provide staffing and logistical help at DPH specimen collection sites, as well as its mission of assisting DPH with testing residents and staff in long-term care facilities. Augusta University will provide ongoing specimen collections at its two sites in the Augusta area; Christenberry Fieldhouse in Augusta and Patriot’s Park in Columbia County.

COVID-19 testing is available to all Georgians, whether they have symptoms or not. Individuals wanting to be tested should contact their local health department to schedule an appointment at a location convenient to them. Contact information for local health departments and specimen collection sites can be found on the DPH website at dph.ga.gov. People can also use the AU Health ExpressCare app or call the hotline at 706-721-1852 to be scheduled at a DPH or AU Health-operated location.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Kemp opens bars and renews state of emergency

State & National
bars

ATLANTA, Ga – Gov. Brian Kemp decided to continue the state of emergency and stay at home order for the elderly and at-risk individuals through July 12. However, the governor also announced the reopening of bars, amusement parks, night clubs, professional sports, and overnight summer camps.

Music venues must remain closed.

Kemp issued timelines for the lifting of each restriction.

May 31 Openings

  • Overnight Summer Camps

June 1 Openings

  • Gatherings of 25 people will be allowed – if the area meets space requirements
  • Bars
  • Night Clubs
  • Professional Sports
  • Amateur Sports

June 12 Openings

  • Amusement Parks
  • Water Parks

Georgia will not mandate citizens to wear masks, but Kemp highly encourages everyone to wear masks in crowded areas and public places.

66 percent of nursing home residents have been tested for COVID-19. On June 1, the Department of Public Health will move to once-daily updates of coronavirus numbers.

State of the county following COVID-19 shutdowns

Community, Health
county

UNION COUNTY, Ga – Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris gave a brief update on how Union County is faring while many residents try to find a sense of normalcy.

Over the course of approximately one month, Union County’s cases grew by 20. Out of the 43, only eleven of those patients needed hospitalization and one death. Union General Hospital had one active patient as of May 22. Previously, multiple beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

“We’re very fortunate up here,” stated Paris. “The fact that we’ve only got one in the hospital is a great sign. Does that mean we’re only going to have one? No. Does it mean we’re out of the woods yet? No. But we feel that what we have done in the county is very preventative.”

The commissioner added that those over 65 and with preexisting conditions are still under the Gov. Kemp’s stay at home order until June 13.

“We just have to remember that this thing still is serious. My concern going forward is people are going to – like me, like all of us – are just tired of it. Just like wearing [masks] or not wearing [it],” expressed Paris.

He wanted everyone to continue to be cautious and follow social distancing. He did encourage masks wearing in public areas and to use common sense to try and flatten the curve.

“Employees at those stores are the ones who really notice it. They feel like if you don’t wear one, then you’re not concerned about protecting them,” said Paris.

Whether or not to open the Meeks Park pool is currently being debated because current COVID-19 protocols limit use to 50 people at one time. Also, all chairs must be disinfected each time the person using one leaves the facility. If the county decides to open, it might have to hire someone to sanitize all surfaces in and around the pool.

“It’s not only what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it, but it’s what’s the governor’s going to do. Is he going to loosen the guidelines or tighten the guidelines?” Paris commented on the rapidly evolving situation.

On a positive note, county sales tax revenue for April is slightly up from the same time last year. However, this isn’t expected to last. Also, the state still must unveil its 14 percent budget cuts, which will affect some areas of the county.

The city of Blairsville reported tax revenue numbers similar to last year as well. Currently, COVID-19 hasn’t significantly impacted the city’s budget, but again these numbers could change as the year progresses.

Across the board, it’s too early to determine the financial impact of COVID-19.

Georgia DPH distributes Remdesivir to hospitals for treatment of COVID-19

Health, Press Release
remdesivir

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is distributing an initial allotment of the drug Remdesivir received from the federal government. Georgia received 30 cases, with 40 vials of the drug per case, enough to treat about 110 patients, depending on the duration of an individual’s treatment. Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine being used to treat hospitalized patients with serious symptoms caused by COVID-19 like low oxygen levels or pneumonia. It has been found to shorten the duration of disease in patients being treated in inpatient hospital settings.

Remdesivir is given intravenously (IV) and decreases the amount of coronavirus in the body, helping patients recover faster.

The distribution plan for Remdesivir in Georgia was developed by DPH leadership, including district health directors and emergency preparedness staff, in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for its use. It is based on the number of patients on ventilators, the most severely ill, and clinical best practices.

Georgia hospitals receiving Remdesivir reported 10 or more COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators, in addition to patients currently being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a machine that takes over the work of the heart and lungs. These criteria are subject to change based on the availability of Remdesivir and
the development of patient care at hospital facilities across the state.

The following hospitals are receiving Remdesivir; Tift Regional Medical Center, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Grady Health System, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, and Augusta University Medical Center.

“DPH is pleased to have the opportunity to share this promising treatment with hospitals on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. “While this drug is not a cure for COVID-19, getting it into the hospitals and improving patient outcomes is moving in the right direction.”

Georgia has received a second, much larger allotment of Remdesivir. DPH is surveying hospitals statewide over the weekend to determine need. This second allotment will be distributed next week.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. committed to supplying approximately 607,000 vials of the experimental drug over the next six weeks to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under an emergency use agreement (EUA). The donation to the United States is part of 1.5 million vials of Remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.

Remdesivir has not been approved by the FDA for widespread use because it is considered investigational, and it is still being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed for use against Ebola. Clinical trials for Remdesivir were done in Georgia at Emory University Hospital.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook

Kemp changes restaurant and childcare restrictions

Announcements, State & National
childcare

ATLANTA, Ga – On May 12, Gov. Brian Kemp continued to ease restrictions on certain industries – restaurants and childcare – to assist Ga businesses as the state returns to normal.

Childcare facilities now can operate with up to 20 children in a classroom instead of 10 as long as the instructor-to-child ratio is maintained. Departments of Early Care and Learning and Public Health reportedly okayed this expansion and ensured it could be accomplished safely.

Many parents in Ga are returning to work and have encountered difficulty finding childcare services.

“Childcare facilities must continue to adhere to thirteen minimum, mandatory criteria to be able to operate, including strict screening procedures and sanitation mandates for frequently touched items and surfaces. In that same vein, countless families have reached out to my office to discuss how summer camps can safely operate as we battle the spread of COVID-19,” Kemp explained.

Summer day camps have also received the okay to open on May 14 if facilities can meet the 32 requirements developed by the Department of Public Health, constituents, and summer camp operators. The CDC has yet to weigh in on the criteria, but Kemp appeared confident that their plan would move forward.

However, overnight camps are still closed, but eventually, these facilities might be able to open under a case by case basis.

As for restaurants, those who have already opened or considering opening can now allow up to 10 patrons per 300 sq. feet and seat groups of 10. Previously the maximum number at a table was six.

Kemp praised the food industry, “Throughout this pandemic, our restaurant owners and their employees have done a remarkable job in keeping local families fed. These hardworking Georgians have followed the rules, doing the right thing, even when it wasn’t easy.”

Live performance venues, bars, and nightclubs must remain closed through May 31, 2020.

The social distancing and gathering ban on more than 10 people are still in effect unless six feet of separation is possible. The ban applied to all non-critical infrastructure businesses, local governments, and organizations of all types, including social groups, informal get-togethers, and recreational sports, just to name a few. Georgians can expect these protocols to last through at least the end of the month.

“We continue to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings when out in public, and we thank everyone for their willingness to do the right thing,” Kemp added. “The shelter in place provision for medically fragile and Georgians aged 65 and older remains in effect through June 12, 2020.”

Starting on May 18, state agencies will begin transitioning back into in-office services.

As of noon today, Georgia has received its first shipment of Remdesivir from the federal government – thirty cases with forty vials of the drug per case. The Department of Public Health will determine how it will be distributed.

Nursing Home Testing

Georgia’s National Guard has tested 46% of all nursing home residents and 24% of staff at those facilities. However, an estimated 46,000 people who still need to be tested. In total, the Guard has tested 142 nursing homes. The National Guard will continue to test everyone at these facilities until they reach 100 percent.

The press conference did address the re-testing of facilities is new cases are found after the initial testing. Department of Community Health releases daily updates on the status of COVID-19 in nursing homes across Ga.

“As we aggressively test more nursing homes and long-term care facilities, we may see a sharper increase in positive test results. By doing this, it will allow medical providers to intervene earlier and try to mitigate adverse outcomes among vulnerable Georgians. Right now, nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents and staff make up 18.5% of our total positive cases, and 49% of total deaths involve nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents. We ask everyone to continue to protect the elderly and medically fragile, and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure quick, convenient testing is available for all Georgians,” Kemp explained.

Anyone in Ga can now be tested for COVID-19 either through their local health departments or by downloading the Augusta University ExpressCare app, visit augustahealth.org, or call (706) 721-1852.

“With nearly 250 staff in the field today, the Department of Public Health is making progress. Under the leadership of Dr. Toomey, DPH plans to have 1,000 staff deployed in the coming weeks. To streamline contact tracing across the state, we are rolling out a new online monitoring tool – the Healthy Georgia Collaborative – which allows Georgians to identify contacts and monitor symptoms. Health data remains completely confidential. This monitoring tool does not collect any data other than what is entered by the contact. This is how the process works: residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by trained public health staff, who will work with that individual to recall anyone that they might’ve had close contact with while infectious. Those contacts will then be interviewed by DPH to help us map and isolate the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state. If you are contacted by DPH staff, we strongly encourage you to participate in the contact tracing program,” Kemp said about contact tracing.

The governor also urged anyone who needs to visit their doctor for regular appointments or concerns outside of COVID-19 to please do so. Doctors’ offices and emergency rooms have protocols in place to prevent individuals from contracting the virus. Now is not a time to gamble with anyone’s health to avoid COVID-19.

Posted by Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

District 2 announces changes in specimen collection sites

Community, Health
testing guidelines specimen collection

GAINESVILLE, GA – District 2 Public Health announces updates to schedules, testing criteria and specimen collection sites. Previous testing criteria was to test individuals with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Due to new testing criteria from Georgia Department of Public Health District 2 anyone with or without symptoms can now be tested for Covid-19.

The Specimen Point of Collection (SPOC) in Hall County will now operate as follows:

Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. The Hall County SPOC is closed on Saturday and Sunday.

A Specimen Point of Collection (SPOC) will be opened at Habersham County Health Department. This site will be open Saturday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, and Sunday from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. The Habersham site will begin operations on Saturday, May 16.

For convenience, we urge residents to call their local health department or the call center to schedule a time to get tested. With an appointment, the average time to get through the SPOC is three to five minutes. All county health departments will continue to schedule appointments during normal business hours, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The call center hours are: 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, every day including Saturday and Sunday.

Specimen Collection sites in Franklin and Towns Counties will continue to operate on Tuesday and Friday of each week. Residents can contact the call center above, or call Franklin County Health Department at 706-384-5575, or call Hart County Health Department at 706-376-5117 to schedule testing at the Franklin County Health Department. To schedule testing at the Towns County Health Department, residents can call Towns County Health Department at 706-896-2265, Union County Health Department at 706-745-6292 or Rabun County Health Department at 706-212-0289.

Remember, for your convenience an appointment is needed at each of the Specimen Point of Collection. Please call the call center 770-531-5600 or your local health department to schedule an appointment for testing.

COVID-19 testing available to all Georgians

Press Release
testing

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has reached its goal of testing 100,000 individuals in 10 days. More than 108,000 tests were processed since Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, set the DPH goal last week.

“This is an important benchmark for Georgia as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” said Toomey. “Increased testing is critical to understanding where there are hotspots of infection and how best to mitigate them.”

Effective immediately, testing is available to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not. There are more than 65 specimen point of collection sites (SPOC) throughout the state, with an additional 30 mobile SPOCs –  locations and hours vary daily.

Individuals wanting to be tested can contact any Georgia public health department to schedule an appointment at a SPOC location convenient to them. Contact information for local health departments can be found on the DPH homepage at

https://dph.georgia.gov/.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Beauty industry prepares for life coronavirus

Business, Community
beauty

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – As salons, restaurants, and boutiques slowly open across Georgia, those in the beauty industry are taking special care to protect their customers.

These businesses can’t maintain the recommended six feet of separation and conduct businesses; stylists often come within inches of clients’ faces to accurately judge the length, cut, or color. It’s physically impossible for individuals who work in this industry to follow all the CDC guidelines. However, one of the biggest complaints from the public during this shutdown was the inability to “keep up with appearances.” Take away hair cuts, acrylics, and tanning beds, some people’s self-esteem starts to decline. The same can be said about social interaction which salons also offer communities.

“They’re desperate for some kind of normalcy, and I’ll [help] to provide it,” stated Amour Beauty Salon and Studio Owner Shannon Hogsed. “In a small salon and small town like we have, our clients are like family to us.”

The spacing of chairs in Amour Salon. Image courtesy of Amour.

Many people have weekly standing appointments with cosmetologists, and several are senior citizens.

Hogsed recounted how one of her customers no longer has a full range of motion in their arms. As a result, they can’t wash or fix their hair without assistance. The client’s been relying on their significant other since the shut down began.

From a sanitation standpoint, local salons are taking multiple steps to promote their clients’ safety.  Amour Beauty Salon isn’t allowing walk-ins for at least two weeks, no guests, cleaning after every appointment, clients wait in their cars, staff will have masks, clients will wear masks and gloves into the shop, and staff will take customers temperature. The owner Hogsed added that the stylists’ chairs were already spaced far enough apart to protect clients from anyone else in the shop. She also wants her customers to have spent some of the shutdown in self-imposed quarantine to ensure they don’t have the virus.

In the nail care world, Relax Nail Salon and Spa contractor Dee Dee Dyer uses her previous experience in healthcare to run the business.

“We always practice universal precautions because you never know what’s out there. We have stepped up more on our policies to ensure our clients and personnel are as safe as they can be in the shop,” she said.

Those working in the spa are wearing new gloves for each client and service, face masks, and are eliminating unnecessary points of contact for clients – such as nail polish bottles. The 1,300 square foot facility has separate rooms, so depending on the service, only the client and the beautician will be in a room.  A hospital-grade disinfectant is used on every surface and essential oils are diffused to purify the air.

Additionally, the business only books a set number of appointments per day and factoring in 15 to 30 minutes of extra time, so no one overlaps in the waiting area. Clients are also instructed to not show up early for an appointment. Extra people aren’t allowed in.

Inside Sunsations Tanning, multiple rooms are available to customers. Image courtesy of Sunsations.

As for Sunsations Tanning Salon, Brandy Walters has placed six feet markers inside and outside her store. She wears gloves for each appointment and changes them after every appointment. The salon has a stockpile of germicidal as well as Microban sanitizing surface spray for her doorknobs and desk.

“The state already requires me to have a salon-grade bed sanitizer in bottles in each room, plus a goggle sanitation station. Lastly, I will have hand sanitizer in the lobby restroom and each tanning room. Mainly [I’m continuing] what I do on a regular basis with a little more caution for my family, my customers, and their families. I will also be wearing a mask,” explained Walters.

All the businesses urge anyone who might be feeling sick to reschedule or reconsider visiting their salons on that day.

“My only concern is that some clients will become frustrated with a new way of doing things. Walters acknowledged. “With guidelines implemented, I do have faith in my customers that they will be patient and bear with the process until it becomes our new normal from now on possibly.”

Reopening Assistance

The reopening of Georgia also allows all the cosmetologists and technicians contracted at these salons to return to work. Since the predominant business structure in beauty is to “rent a chair” or work as an independent contractor, once the doors close no one receives income. Owners can’t pay rent, and beauticians could lose their license if they break shutdown protocols.

The federal and state government set up plans to assist small businesses and independent contractors in making ends meet during COVID-19. However, only one business Fetch Your News spoke with said they had received any government assistance.

Walters stated, “I did apply a month ago for PPP, Eidl, and unemployment. [I] have not received ANY money or assistance as of yet, nor have I been approved for unemployment. US small business owners were supposed to be ‘first in line’ for assistance. But, we were made wait an extra week before being allowed to apply once it went live. So, we [had to wait] two weeks, and monies ran out.”

Hogsed relayed that she was lucky enough to “put enough by to cover this last month’s expenses,” but she couldn’t get a phone call through to Georgia Department of Labor for small business assistance. She added that the federal loan application was over 50 pages and not easy to understand for most individuals.

Additionally, Hogsed said the money contained a quid pro quo as that it could only be used to keep the business running. It would cover rent, but not hair care products.

Customers won’t be allowed to touch nail polish bottles at Relax Nail Salon. Image courtesy of Relax.

Salons need to purchase new hair color, toner, and various products to efficiently reopen, and Gov. Kemp’s swift decision resulted in limited availability. Hogsed added that even the warehouses currently have reduced stock and are unsure when it will be available. Also, shipments have slowed, so it’s impossible to predict accurate delivery dates.

Dyer of Relax Nail Salon and Spa did receive small business assistance, but it took a month for the funds to arrive. It also wasn’t enough to cover the cost of all her expenses.

“In my opinion, the beauty industry has had a hard time keeping their doors closed. No financial help out there.  When we are closed, we are closed, no income.” She acknowledged. “So, to save what we have, we do not have a choice but to reopen. In our community, I feel much safer to start back, and I know the policies I have initiated are the very best I can do. If I were in a large city, I think I would wait longer.”

All three businesses expressed an eagerness from clients to support them once reopen. Some are anticipating a business boom with constant phone calls and promises of new business.

The shutdown has taught Hogsed, Walters, and Dyer to be appreciative of their customers, family, and ability to do what they enjoy.

Hogsed added, “prepare for anything.” She cited her faith that “God is good and merciful” and that He helped her make it through this time.

“This shut down has definitely taught me to never underestimate the power of the unknown and to never be content in knowing your business is doing great – overnight, [it] can change forever. And it’s out of your hands,” closed Walters.

“Being a business owner is actually an act of faith, we never know when something will come along, and we are no more,” Dyer said.

Each one of these women makes a difference in their clients’ lives. It might not always be noticeable, but it leaves an impact. By reopening, their businesses help everyone regain some sense of normalcy as the nation hopefully moves out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Shelter in Place order extended for medically fragile until June 12

Press Release, State & National
shelter in place

ATLANTA, Ga – Governor Brian P. Kemp signed Executive Order 4.30.20.01 which extends the medically fragile shelter in place and the Public Health State of Emergency until June 12.

The entire statement from the governor is below:

“Tonight at 11:59 PM, the statewide shelter in place order for most Georgians will expire. However, moving forward, I am urging Georgians to continue to stay home whenever possible. I want to thank the people of our great state who heeded public health advice, afforded us time to bolster our healthcare infrastructure, and flattened the curve. We were successful in these efforts, but the fight is far from over.

“In accordance with our executive orders, businesses across the Peach State must continue to operate with strict social distancing and sanitation rules to keep customers and employees safe through May 13, 2020. Those rules vary by business type for a measured, health-driven approach.

“The health and well-being of Georgians are my top priorities, and my decisions are based on data and advice from health officials. I will do what is necessary to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of our people. I will formally extend our public health state of emergency through June 12, 2020, to continue enhanced testing across Georgia, ramp up contact tracing, and maintain effective emergency response operations in every region.

“To protect vulnerable populations, I will sign an order today requiring medically fragile and elderly Georgians to continue to shelter in place through June 12, 2020. In addition, I will order long-term care facilities – including nursing homes, personal care homes, assisted living facilities, and similar community living homes – to utilize enhanced infection control protocols, ensure safer living conditions, and protect residents and staff from coronavirus exposure.

“Together, we will defeat this virus and emerge stronger. Thank you, and God Bless.”

Click here to view a video message from the Governor.

What’s “the new normal” for the community?

Community, Press Release, UCFD
new normal

BLAIRSVILLE, GA – Union County Fire Department and EMA issued the following statement concerning “the new normal” following COVID-19 and the governor’s reopening of the state’s economy.

“The Governor of the State of Georgia has signed an executive order on April 20th to allow certain businesses to open who have previously been ordered to close. This is being referred to as “opening up”. He followed up that executive order with another order on April 23rd that provided the guidelines for these businesses and extending other previous executive orders until May 13th. The businesses that are allowed to reopen must comply with certain restrictions and implement practices to reduce the exposure and spread of COVID-19. This can be very confusing and has raised a great deal of debate.

The “opening up” does not mean that we can throw caution to the wind or behave as if this is over. It is not over; this is our new normal for a while. The businesses that have chosen to open up must follow the restrictions and guidelines for the safety of employees and the customers. That is their responsibility. If anyone decides to go to these businesses, they must use common sense and practice all the precautions that have been taught over the last two months.

The new normal, for now at least, is practicing these precautions and preventive measures. This includes wearing a cloth mask. If you do not have a cloth mask by now, you are behind the times. People should get used to wearing a mask in public and get used to seeing others wearing them. The Governor’s executive order also “strongly encouraged” everyone to wear a mask when outside your home.

The mask is not only for your protection but for the protection of others. There is evidence that a person can be positive for COVID-19 and not be aware of it. They may have no signs and symptoms at all. They could also be spreading the virus without knowing it. This is why wearing a cloth mask in public is very important not only for your safety but for the safety of others.

According to the CDC, a cloth face covering or mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; be secured with ties or ear loops; include multiple layers of fabric; allow for breathing without restriction; and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape. The CDC has more information on how to make and use a cloth mask.

This is our new normal for now. As I have stated before, we all have a part to play and it is very important that people take this seriously and do their part.”

UPDATE: Union County Nursing Home patient tests positive for COVID-19

Health, News
Union County Nursing Home

UPDATE: April 27

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga –  In the April 27 Georgia Department of Community Health Long-Term Care Facility Report, it added a confirmed positive patient case in the Union County Nursing Home.

Previously, the government agency also listed a UCHS employee as positive for COVID-19. The April 27 data also increased the resident census to 140 residents.

Testing has become more available throughout Georgia, which will likely result in an increase in cases across the state.

Chatuge Regional Nursing Home also has one confirmed patient and one confirmed employee case.

Original Story Below

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – The Georgia Department of Community Health reported that one Union County Nursing Home Employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

As of April 24, no nursing home residents are listed as positive for COVID-19. However, a patient in Chatuge Regional Nursing Home was confirmed as positive on April 24.

Union County Nursing Home accommodates 138 residents according to community health. Chatuge Regional is home to 108 residents.

Union General Health System (UGHS) now has two confirmed employee cases since April 10 – one in Towns and one in Union. The health system’s policy doesn’t allow them to discuss employee or patient matters.

Both facilities previously closed the buildings to visitors and limited meals to in-room dining. UGHS has assured Fetch Your News multiple times that the system follows all CDC protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents in both nursing homes are considered high-risk by the CDC and W.H.O. Several long-term care facilities across the country have been ravaged by COVID-19 including ones in Athens and Macon, Ga.

The CDC website stated that older patients may not exhibit typical COVID-19 symptoms, “such as fever or respiratory symptoms. Atypical symptoms may include new or worsening malaise, new dizziness, or diarrhea. Identification of these symptoms should prompt isolation and further evaluation for COVID-19.”

National Guard with Union County Nursing Home Staff, courtesy of nursing home.

The National Guard first visited Union County Nursing Home on April 22 to begin cleaning out the facility and will continue to sanitize the system’s buildings throughout weekend.

Once COVID-19 enters a facility, the CDC guidelines recommend “restricting all residents to their rooms and having HCP wear all recommended PPE for care of all residents (regardless of symptoms) on the affected unit (or facility-wide depending on the situation). This includes: an N95 or higher-level respirator (or facemask if a respirator is not available), eye protection, gloves, and gown. HCP should be trained on PPE use including putting it on and taking it off.”

With the high risk of unrecognized infection among residents, everyone in the facility must follow the outlined measures. Experience with the virus suggests that a “substantial proportion of residents could have COVID-19 without reporting symptoms or before symptoms develop.”

Facilities also are recommended to have a separate area to care for patients confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19. Ill residents must be checked at least three times daily to quickly determine if the level of care must be escalated.

The public health can assist in making decisions about testing asymptomatic residents.

Neighboring Long-Term Care Facilities with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

The Blue Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care facility has two employees who tested positive for COVID-19.

Pruitt Health Blue Ridge has one positive patient.

Dahlonega Assisted Living and Memory Care has one positive employee.

Please keep all these individuals and residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in your thoughts and prayers are this time.

Free testing available from Public Health in Gainesville on May 1

Press Release
public health

GAINESVILLE, GA – On Friday, May 1, District 2 Public Health will join the Georgia Mountain Food Bank to offer free food distribution to residents. The event will be held at the lower field at Allen Creek Soccer Complex in Hall County. One package of food per car can be picked up between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or until supplies run out. In addition, public health will be on hand to assist anyone who is sick to register for an appointment for free testing for Covid-19.

Allen Creek Soccer Complex is located at 2500 Allen Creek Rd, Gainesville, GA 30507.

Towns and Union County residents, who don’t want to drive across the mountain, can take advantage of the drive-up testing location at the Towns County Health Department. Please call ahead to make an appointment, the Towns’ number is (706) 896-2265. Union’s number is (706) 745-6292. This isn’t part of the May 1 event, just a full-time testing site to serve the community. 

If you are sick now, call 770-531-5600 to schedule an appointment for free testing. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You must have an appointment to be tested. Also, a package of food will be given to each vehicle at the testing site while supplies last.

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