Virus

The Georgia Department of Public Health has now confirmed 197 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state — an increase of 51 over the last 24 hours.

That number is likely much higher given the lack of readily available testing to everyone.

The DPH is updating its online county-by-county tracker of confirmed cases every day at noon. As of noon Wednesday, March 18, there was still one listed case in Barrow County. Barrow County Emergency Services officials said Tuesday, March 17, that person had a Barrow County address but had been living in an assisted living facility in another county. Still, local health and emergency services officials have said they expect the virus to come to Barrow County.

Though the state still listed only one confirmed virus-related death Wednesday, a hospital system in Albany announced that two people had died and dozens of others were hospitalized, while more than 400 patients were awaiting test results.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, President Trump announced that he would invoke the Defense Production Act to allow for more necessary medical treatment equipment to be manufactured across the country.

There were more than 7,300 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Wednesday afternoon with over 100 deaths. While older people and those with certain underlying medical conditions remain the most at risk, during the federal Coronavirus Task Force news conference a top federal official said there were reports coming from countries like Italy and France that younger people are also becoming seriously ill.

WINDER COUNCIL MEETING TO BE CONDUCTED VIA TELECONFERENCE

The City of Winder announced Wednesday that the city council meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19, will be conducted via teleconference. The public will be provided access as required by state law.

To join the conference by phone, call the toll-free number at 877-858-5257. You can also join through your computer at https://zoom.us/j/275412894 or on the Zoom App on your mobile device. When prompted, the meeting ID will be 275 412 894. There is no password.

According to the meeting agenda, the council will vote on a $78,700 design/consultant agreement for the proposed walking trail linking Fort Yargo State Park with near downtown. It will also discuss updates to the city’s comprehensive zoning ordinance.

The public will be allowed to speak, but officials ask that the public wait until addressed by the mayor to speak.

OTHER UPDATES

•The Barrow County Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19, remains scheduled for normal as of now and will be held at 7 p.m. at the Historic Barrow County Courthouse.

•The Barrow County Board of Commissioners has canceled its Tuesday, March 24 work session and will hold only one voting session each month until further notice. The board’s next scheduled meeting is April 14.

•The Barrow County Board of Education meeting scheduled for March 31 is still planned for now, but may be set up as a teleconference meeting or eventually canceled, superintendent Chris McMichael said. A final decision is expected by the end of next week. A decision about the board meeting scheduled for April 14 will be decided on after the school system’s previously-scheduled spring break, April 6-10. Schools are currently closed until after that break.

•The Georgia Department of Driver Services has suspended all road testing, non-commercial and commercial, until further notice. Additionally, some DDS customer service centers have closed due to workforce shortages. Some licensing needs can be handled online at www.dds.georgia.gov or on the mobile app, DDS 2 GO.

Continue checking barrownewsjournal.com for the latest updates.

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