NORTH GEORGIA & WESTERN N.C. – In an effort to keep our readers, up to date with the latest number of cases confirmed in Georgia and N.C., Fetch Your News will continually be updating this article with the most recent updates from the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).
Updated on September 25 at 5:15 p.m.
On September 25, DPH reported 53 new deaths, 132 new hospitalizations, and 1,547 new confirmed cases.
DPH confirmed 312,514 cases, 28,035 hospitalized, 5,156 patients in ICU, and 6,874 deaths. The 3 p.m. reported 2,847,494 tests have been completed. Total tests included 298,482 serology (antibody) tests. DPH added a column to the county-by-county tally to include the location of deceased patients from COVID-19. On March 28, the health department also included a breakdown of deaths by county, age, and sex.new deaths.
On April 12, the report started including non-residents receiving treatment as a separate line item. It made a significant dent into the “Unknown” category.
DPH told Fetch Your News that the “Unknown” number is a result of “clerical errors on the part of the reporting agency – nothing more. We have many new labs reporting, and they are not all as familiar with the system.” The department is working to resolve this issue when the staff has time. A few of the unknowns are also homeless.
On April 8, DPH Commissioner Kathleen Toomey affirmed that the department has the most accurate data, but it’s not real-time data due to backlogs. DPH can’t keep up with press releases from hospitals about new cases because of the delay in processing. Cases confirmed one week might not appear in the reports until the next. Fetch Your News will only report on local cases once, they are confirmed by the DPH or CDC.
In his March 23 press conference, Gov. Kemp mentioned the casualties from the virus, “I am saddened to announce that we have lost twenty-five Georgians to COVID-19. As we mourn, I ask my fellow Georgians to lift up their loved ones in prayer. Please keep them in your hearts and minds.”
DPH released details on the two March 18 deaths, stating the individuals were 42-year-old and 68-year-old women both in an Albany Hospital. They also had underlying conditions along with COVID-19. Please keep all these individuals and families in your thoughts and prayers.
Case location is “based on patient county of residence when known.”
“A confirmed case is defined as a person who has tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus.” – DPH.
Georgia County – Number of Confirmed Cases and Deaths
|County||Confirmed Cases||Cases per 100K||Total Deaths||Hospitalizations|
|Non-GA Resident/Unknown State||16425||0||157||624|
NC Confirmed Cases Data
As of September 25, 2020, NCDHHS reported 204,331 cases statewide, 176,422 presumed recovered, 3,409 deaths, and 903 hospitalized. The highest concentration is now in Mecklenburg with 28,416 cases and 347 deaths. NCDHHS reported 2,903,054 tests have been completed in the state. The confirmed cases report is released each day at 12 a.m.
NCDHHS has an interactive map for those who want to see the spread of the virus.
DPH, NCDHHS, and the CDC are urging people to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. If our readers are looking for more information on health practices, please visit the CDC website.
President Trump also released guidelines for the next 15 days, which can be read about here.
Georgian’s wondering about Gov. Brian Kemp’s actions and the state’s public health emergency, find out more here.
North Carolinian’s can find updates for Gov. Roy Cooper, here.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga – In the past week, two county courthouses closed due to confirmed COVID-19 cases. This week county commissioners revealed two vastly different bills for sanitization services. However, neither expenditure is feasible as a regular expense for counties if more virus cases arise within government offices.
Gilmer County paid Restoration 1 out of Dawsonville $6,007.81 for cleaning a 106,000 square foot courthouse and road department building. Fannin County Commissioners to pay a maximum of $70,059 to American Property Restoration out of Atlanta for cleaning its 69,752 square foot courthouse.
Since Tuesday, American Property Restoration dropped the price by five percent to $66,500.
Each county received disinfectant fog and surface wipe downs, but Fannin’s sanitization process included a negative air machine. It circulated the fog throughout the ventilation system to ensure the removal of COVID-19 throughout the building. Other additional charges in the Fannin bill include HEPA filters, labor for wiping down equipment, and PPE for workers. The 30 counts/charges for HEPA filters and labor for equipment wipe down was listed at $30 each.
The 24-person team required heavy-duty disposable PPE, and the company charged $48 per person.
As for disinfectant fog, Fannin paid $1.39 per square foot for the first 30,000 square feet and 50 percent off that price for the remaining 39,752 square feet. Gilmer paid six cents for 80,000 square feet at the courthouse.
Given the emergency nature of the COVID-19 situation, neither county had time to bid out the process. Both operated within a short window to quickly clean and reopen the courthouses.
Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton told Fetch Your News that this was a “true emergency;” he didn’t have time to shop around. Also, American Property Restoration specialized in COVID-19 cleaning.
“Not a matter to see who could do it the cheapest,” said Helton. It was about protecting the citizens of Fannin County from an unknown element. The advice about preventing COVID-19 continues to change almost daily.
Restoration 1 that cleaned Gilmer’s courthouse also had a professional COVID-19 virus disinfection team.
However, Fannin can apply for CARES Act funding from the State and receive reimbursement for virus-related expenses. Helton added that the knowledge of the funds made him slightly more comfortable with the price.
“If we prevented one citizen from going to ICU that cost would be comparable to $66,500 and would not be eligible for CARES funds,” added Helton.
Fannin hasn’t yet applied for the reimbursement because the state hasn’t made the portal available to smaller counties at this time.
In June, Gov. Kemp issued a letter explaining CARES Act funding policies to state counties. Previously, only the top five counties with the highest percentage of cases had access to the funds.
According to the letter of guidance from Gov. Kemp, local governments must apply to receive their 30 percent share of $1.23 billion. Once processed, the allocation will be available for “immediate advancement.”
How to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in courthouses
Turning to the future, Helton agreed that it’s not feasible for Fannin to spend $66,500 again, and the county probably won’t perform another cleaning to this extent at the courthouse. Possible future options include cleaning the office with the confirmed case was located, but they haven’t made a final decision.
The commissioners started requiring employees under their authority to wear masks while at work and strongly encouraged the practice among everyone in the courthouse, including the public. Temperature checks also began this week for those visiting the facility.
According to the CDC, the virus spreads “mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.” By wearing a mask in public areas, employees limit the spread of those droplets.
Helton wanted people to feel safe to visit the courthouse once it reopened.
Dr. William Whaley and Dr. Raymond Tidman discussed the effectiveness of closing to perform extensive cleanings on courthouses. Both agreed that cases will occur, but spending exorbitant amounts of money isn’t necessary.
“You can teach your own housekeeping staff what they need to know if there has been this virus [case],” explained Dr. Whaley. “If you just shut your doors for 24-hours, the virus is going to die because it doesn’t stick around on surfaces for terribly long.”
Afterward, if someone cleaned the surfaces and highly handled areas, the virus should be removed for that day. However, the practice must occur every day at the end of the day. The county and schools can go over cleaning protocols with their janitorial staff to begin COVID-19 recommended sanitization measures.
CDC guidance about disinfecting cites 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% 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.
Janitorial staff must wear the proper PPE to protect them from harmful chemicals and the virus.
Disinfection plans can adapt as more information becomes available about the spread of COVID-19.
“A COVID virus here or there is going to happen, and you do your cleaning, and that person goes home for a day or two and gets over it,” added Dr. Tidman. “The hair on fire stuff needs to quit.”
Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp provided an overview of the recommendations President Trump and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, or long-term care facilities, have become an accelerator for COVID-19. This is because residents, who are generally comprised of a vulnerable population, are even more vulnerable to the complications of the virus in enclosed environments like nursing homes.
The recommendations are as follows:
- Nursing homes should immediately ensure that they are complying with all CMS and CDC guidance related to infection control.
- As nursing homes are a critical part of the healthcare system, and because of the ease of spread in long-term care facilities and the severity of illness that occurs in residents with COVID-19, CMS/CDC urge state and local leaders to consider the needs of long-term care facilities with respect to supplies of PPE and COVID-19 tests.
- The facilities should immediately implement symptom screening for all staff, residents, and visitors, including temperature checks.
- All staff must use appropriate PPE when they are interacting with patients and residents, to the extent PPE is available and per CDC guidance on conservation of PPE.
To avoid transmission, facilities should use separate staffing teams for residents to the best of their ability, and as President Trump announced at the White House on April 2, 2020, the administration urges nursing homes to work with state and local leaders to designate separate facilities or units within a facility to separate COVID-19 negative residents from COVID-19 positive residents and individuals with unknown COVID-19 status.
These recommendations will help long-term care facilities as they consider how to best prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities. For more information on CMS actions, please visit cms.gov.
Today, Apple Inc. – in partnership with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – released an app and website
that guides Americans through a series of questions about their health and exposure to determine if they should seek
care for COVID-19 symptoms. The tool provides CDC recommendations on next steps including guidance on social
distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, recommendations on testing, and when to contact a
This launch is a direct response to President Trump’s call for an all-of-America approach and will help Americans heed
CDC guidelines and self-isolate to limit COVID-19 transmission.
Users can download the free app from Apple’s App Store or access the tool online at www.apple.com/covid19 .
Everyone has a role to play as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. The latest recommendations can be
found at www.coronavirus.gov .
CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable
or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most
pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.