by Robin Kemp
The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Clayton County crossed a grim milestone this week.
As of July 17, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports 3,132 people have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and 84 Clayton County residents have died of the virus. 329 people from Clayton County have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
An unpublished report from The White House Coronavirus Task Force found that the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Clayton County and the Southern Crescent, was in “the red zone” as of July 10.
The “Governors’ Report” had this to say about Georgia’s situation on July 10:
. Georgia is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, and the red zone for test positivity, indicating a rate above 10%. - Disease trends are moving in the wrong direction in Georgia with record numbers of new cases occurring in urban, suburban and rural areas. Test positivity continues to increase. The number of tests has increased, but more testing is needed. - The following three counties had the highest number of new cases over the past 3 weeks: 1. Gwinnett County, 2. Fulton County, and 3. DeKalb County. These counties represent 25.9 percent of new cases in Georgia. - Georgia had 202 new cases per 100,000 population in the past week, compared to a national average of 119 per 100,000. - The federal government has deployed the following staff as assets to support the state response: 122 to support leadership, administrative, operations, and logistics activities from HHS, USCG, VA, and and 8 to support medical activities from VA. RECOMMENDATIONS Protect those in nursing homes and long-term care facilities by testing all staff each week and requiring staff to wear cloth face coverings. - Continue to vigorously investigate outbreaks and implement testing and intensifed contact tracing. - Move to community-led testing and work with local community groups to increase testing access. In high transmission settings, consider pooling specimens to test 2-3 persons at once to increase access and reduce turnaround times. For families and cohabiting households, screen entire households in a single test by pooling specimens. Provide clear guidance for households that test positive, including on individual isolation. - In all counties with 7-day average test positivity greater than 10%, close bars, require strict social distancing within restaurants, close gyms, and limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people. Allow local jurisdictions to implement more restrictive policies. Mandate statewide wearing of cloth face coverings outside the home. Encourage individuals that have participated in large social gatherings to get tested. - Increase messaging of the risk of serious disease in all age groups with preexisting medical conditions, including obesity, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Georgia’s recommendations to allow local governments to impose stricter COVID-19 policies, to mandate face masks statewide, and the risk to children stand in stark contrast to policies Gov. Brian Kemp has pushed in the past 48 hours. Kemp has filed suit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, claimed he could not mandate mask-wearing, and said that children are less susceptible to COVID-19:
GWCC as COVID-19 hospital
Meanwhile, the Georgia World Congress Center has been transformed into a makeshift hospital with 120 beds. Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Wayne Drash reported that area hospitals are so overwhelmed, some are looking for beds as far away as Louisville, KY and Orlando, FL to send COVID-19 patients.
Study: One COVID-19 carrier infects 5+ others
A new study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases finds that, on average, a person carrying the COVID-19 virus will spread it to 5.8 people. Researchers warned, “Our results suggest that a combination of control measures, including early and active surveillance, quarantine, and especially strong social distancing efforts, are needed to slow down or stop the spread of the virus. If these measures are not implemented early and strongly, the virus has the potential to spread rapidly and infect a large fraction of the population, overwhelming healthcare systems.”
Beware of snake oil salesmen
The Food and Drug Administration has a list of answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment availability, bogus “cures,” food shortages, and pets.
The former Rite Aid at the corner of Forest Parkway and Ash Street has been offering drive-through testing. Although the signs don’t indicate who is responsible, employees of Walgreens are working the site and tests are going to LabCorp. Expect a four- to seven-business-day wait for a phone call with test results. The wait can be over an hour but testing takes less than a minute and is free. Forest Park Police and Georgia Department of Public Safety officers have been on hand to keep things moving.
Clayton County’s Dead: Those We’ve Lost to COVID-19
Here is the official list from the Georgia Department of Public Health of the 84 known Clayton County residents who have died of COVID-19. That’s more than all Clayton County combat deaths in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War combined.
The list does not include personally identifying information. The youngest known death was a 26-year-old African American man. At least six people 90 or older, including two African-American men, two African-American women, and two white women, were among the oldest victims:
|.||Female||Clayton||Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander||Unknown|
The Clayton Crescent invites family members who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 to share your loved one’s name, photo, and story. It is our goal to ensure that these people are not lost in bureaucratic statistics. Every number in the count represents a human being.