Virus update

There are now 42 confirmed coronavirus cases in Barrow County, and more than 1,500 newly-confirmed cases and 54 additional deaths were reported across the state Tuesday, April 7.

As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, there were 9,156 confirmed cases in Georgia and 348 reported deaths from COVID-19, according to the latest figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Three deaths have been reported in Barrow County — a 66-year-old male, a 91-year-old female and a 64-year-old male, all of whom had underlying conditions, according to the department.

The state is also reporting 1,899 hospitalizations (20.7 percent of all cases) and more than 33,800 tests being conducted and processed, over 2,600 more since Monday night.

The state has not released any data on how many people have recovered from COVID-19 or how many people have been hospitalized on a county-by-county basis.

State officials have said the number of actual cases is likely far higher due to the lack of readily-available testing for everyone and the prioritization of testing those who are really sick and "medically vulnerable" people such as those in long-term care facilities as well as health care workers and first responders. Officials are also expecting the numbers to increase as the state's daily testing capacity is boosted through a plan implemented last week by Gov. Brian Kemp and the University System of Georgia.

A DPH spokesperson also told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday there is a lag in reporting death totals.

The number of cases and the daily death toll in the state are currently expected to peak around April 21.

Fulton County has the most confirmed cases in the state with 1,185 and 39 deaths. Dougherty County in southwest Georgia has the most deaths (56) and has 973 confirmed cases. DeKalb County has 673 cases and 11 deaths; Cobb County has 566 cases and 29 deaths; and Gwinnett County has 540 cases and 13 deaths, according to the latest numbers. 

Also around Barrow, Hall County has shot up to 215 confirmed cases but has not had any reported deaths. Clarke County has 78 cases and nine deaths; Oconee County has 33 cases and had its first death reported Tuesday; Walton County has 25 cases and two deaths; Jackson County has 23 cases and no deaths; Madison County has nine cases and one death; and Banks County has four cases and no deaths.

The department currently lists 441 cases and six deaths with an unknown county of residence. 

The department's next online update is scheduled for noon Wednesday, April 8. 

Like most of the country, Georgia continues to be under a shelter-in-place order with a handful of exceptions through April 13, but Kemp is likely to extend that as the numbers continue to climb. 

“We know that increased testing means the number of positive cases will increase. But along with that, we are also seeing further spread of COVID-19 throughout Georgia,” DPH commissioner Kathleen Toomey said in a news release. “We can stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia, but every Georgian must take personal responsibility now and follow the prevention guidance to keep this deadly virus from taking any more precious lives.”

The CDC is recommending that cloth face coverings be worn by people when out in public, particularly in grocery stores and pharmacies. 

The nationwide numbers continued to grow more bleak Tuesday as there were over 387,500 cases and more than 12,200 deaths as of 7 p.m. 

Anyone who believes they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or believes they may have been exposed to the virus is advised to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or any medical facility.

The Northeast Health District of the DPH, which includes Barrow County, announced Tuesday it would offering drive-through testing by referral only at a mobile clinic in Barrow. The location was not disclosed. The district had already opened a mobile clinic for referrals in Athens.

The clinic is for people who are mildly ill and do not require medical care or hospitalization, and you must fall into one of the following three categories:

•health care workers and other first responders.

•people working with and caring for vulnerable populations, such as long-term care facility staff.

•people living and working in congregate settings where the disease can spread rapidly.

Providers who would like to refer patients to the mobile clinic should call 706-340-0996. Members of the general public who do not have a doctor or health care provider may also call the number to see if they are eligible for testing at the location.

A statewide COVID-19 hotline is available at 844-442-2681.

Continue to check for the latest local and statewide updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

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