Virus

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The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Barrow County has been listed by the Georgia Department of Public Health, though that person has been living in an assisted living facility in another county, according to a Barrow County Emergency Services news release.

“This is the first case listed by the Department of Public Health in Barrow County, but we are confident more positive tests are coming,” said Barrow County emergency management director Penny Clack. “This does not change how we are responding at this time and we want to remind citizens to continue following CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health recommendation to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

The state now has 146 confirmed cases of the virus as of noon Tuesday, March 17. Only one person has died so far from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, according to the state’s data.

Gov. Brian Kemp was scheduled to hold a web briefing with media at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Kemp on Monday, March 16, ordered that all public schools in the state be closed through the end of the month. And the state’s public health commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, said during a live interview on Georgia Public Broadcasting that the state is in the process of identifying supply sources to address medical and personal protective equipment shortages.

There are now more than 5,100 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and over 90 deaths, according to the latest figures. Washington State has been hit the hardest with 48 deaths.

The CDC has recommended that public gatherings be limited to 10 people.

Locally, a handful of restaurants in Barrow have either closed or are limiting their service to take-out/drive-through only.

In many cases, patients that develop COVID-19 are able to treat themselves at home and do not need to call 911, BCES leaders said.

"If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, and develop a fever and symptoms such as a cough and difficulty breathing, you should first contact your healthcare provider for medical advice," the release said. "If the symptoms continue to be mild, the CDC recommends that you stay at home except to get medical care. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home when possible. If you must come in contact with others, limit that contact as much as possible.

"While you are sick it is recommended that you wear a mask when you are around other people, or when you are caring for people that are sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and throw the tissue away. Then wash your hands immediately.

"Do not share household items such as plates and cups. Wash thoroughly after using them with soap and water. Clean all 'high touch' stuff such as countertops and tables daily. This can be done by following instructions on normal household cleaning products."

People are asked to call ahead before they visit their health care provider and let them know that they have, or may have COVID-19 and see what precautions they need to follow in order to avoid spreading the virus to others that may be there.

"The CDC also asks that you have your health care provider contact the local Public Health Department and let them know, even if you are self-isolating at your home," the release said. "They also advise to stay in contact with your health care provider for medical advice and set an appointment with them if the symptoms get worse or continue.

"Please call 911 if the patient has difficulty breathing/choking, is experiencing an allergic reaction, or has symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Also if the patient is confused, disoriented, or dizzy, has difficulty walking, speaking or seeing, and if they have sudden severe pain. The CDC also recommends that you do not call 911 if you want information of COVID-19, need a ride to the doctor’s office, want to get tested or have mild symptoms."

“As we have been saying for the last week,” Clack said, “let’s all stay calm and work together as we go through this event.”

Continue to check barrownewsjournal.com for the latest local updates.

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