Virus update 1

The first coronavirus-related death for Barrow County has been listed by the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

There are seven Barrow County cases listed overall by the department, according to its 7 p.m. update Friday, March 27. 

The department is updating its county-by-county tracker twice daily at noon and 7 p.m., and the 7 p.m. Friday update began listing case and death totals by county. 

The number of listed of cases for Barrow County has grown from two to seven over the last two days. The DPH is not releasing any more information about the Barrow cases and whether they are linked. 

The number of confirmed cases statewide was at 2,198 as of 7 p.m. Friday, March 27, with 65 reported deaths and 607 hospitalizations. Fulton County had skyrocketed to 347 confirmed cases with 12 deaths, while DeKalb was at 219 with two deaths, Dougherty was at 203 with 13 deaths, Cobb was at 163 with five deaths, and Gwinnett had reached 121 with one death. 

Clarke County has 34 cases and two deaths, Hall has 30 cases, Oconee has reached 10 cases, Madison County has three cases and Jackson County has two. 

There were 207 cases and one death listed with an unknown county of residence. 

As of 7 p.m. Friday, the nationwide number of cases had surpassed 101,000 with more than 2,300 reported deaths. The U.S. now has more confirmed cases than any other nation in the world.

BOC APPROVES EMERGENCY ORDER

The Barrow County Board of Commissioners held a called meeting Friday afternoon and formally approved a local emergency order that went into effect for the unincorporated areas of the county Thursday, March 26. 

The order includes a ban on dine-in service at restaurants as well as the temporary closure of entertainment, fitness and recreation businesses, as well as nail and hair salons and any other establishments that cannot guarantee distancing of at least six feet between people. All public gatherings of 10 or more people on county property are prohibited under the county order, and most other public gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited without at least six feet of space between people.

The order is in effect until April 6, in conjunction with Gov. Brian Kemp's executive order that closes bars and businesses that can't guarantee six feet of space between people, but under the language approved, it would be extended if the governor extends the statewide order. 

Meanwhile, the City of Auburn strengthened its restrictions to a "stay at home" order in conjunction with Gwinnett County.

The cities of Winder and Statham have put in place similar restrictions to the county this week as well as nightly 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfews with a handful of exceptions. The county order does not include a curfew.

REPORTING VIOLATIONS

The Barrow County Health Department announced on its Facebook page this week that it has received numerous phone complaints against businesses, organizations and facilities not adhering to the governor's executive order.

The department asks that those who have a complaint about a site or business permitted by the health department to call the Barrow County Environmental Health Office at 770-307-3502.

All other complaints should go to www.gov.georgia.gov. Click on “Contact Us” and then click on “Constituent Services,” which will take complainants to a form to fill out.

They should include the following information in their report: Business name, address, county, telephone number and specific details for the complaint.

Barrow County Emergency Services also announced it has created a hotline for citizens to report violations. Citizens should call 770-868-1462 and leave a message with the date, time, location and type of violation that they observed.

ONLY CALL 911 FOR REAL EMERGENCIES

BCES also asks that people not call 911 to report violations, to ask what COVID-19 symptoms are, to ask for information on cases listed by DPH or for other information about COVID-19.

"(911) is for emergencies and we want to keep the lines open and available for those emergencies," officials said. "Let's all stay calm and work together through this event."

Check back at barrownewsjournal.com for more local and statewide updates. 

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