Reports of a small outbreak of COVID-19 at a Rockmart plant coincided with a foreboding milestone for Polk County last week as the new coronavirus continues to be a threat to high-risk age groups.
Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed last Thursday that they are investigating multiple employees of Tip Top Poultry in Rockmart who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Logan Boss, Northwest Georgia public health district spokesman, said in an email they have identified nine cases at the chicken processing plant located at 479 Nathan Dean Bypass.
He said they have provided management with recommendations on health and safety to keep other employees safe, but did not go into specifics.
Tip Top is one of the top employers in Polk County. The plant remains opened and there has been no indication that the virus was spread between employees.
Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the Northwest Georgia public health district, has said the new coronavirus continues to be a fairly communitywide spread, meaning it is possible to contract it in public much like the flu.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Polk County stood at an even 200 as of press time last Friday. The total was after an increase of 22 in a week as Georgia closed in on 73,000 cases statewide since the outbreak began.
While Polk County’s total number of cases has continued to steadily increase, the number of residents who have been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 have remained at 15 for several weeks. One death of a county resident due to COVID-19 was reported in May and is the only one so far.
Hospitals in Rome confirmed a total of 10 patients were being treated for COVID-related issues as of Friday, a slight increase from recent weeks.
Since May 29, Polk County’s number of cases has grown by 87. Many public places and restaurants have reopened with health officials continuing to encourage people to wear face masks and regularly wash or sanitize their hands.