As school started — then restarted — in Polk County over the last month, the number of people affected by COVID-19 continued to increase, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
More than 500 new cases of the virus were confirmed in August, while 41 residents required hospitalization and nine more were reported to have died as a result of complications caused by the new coronavirus as of press time Friday afternoon.
The data is part of the organization’’s COVID-19 daily status report, which is available online at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report.
The number of Polk County residents hospitalized and died because of COVID-19 were more than the previous five months of the pandemic combined.
The total number of Polk County residents who have died from the virus was at 15 on Friday afternoon. August’s deaths included a 90-plus-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man, the youngest Polk County resident to succumb to the virus.
While most of the Polk residents who have died from COVID-19 have had previous health problems, it was unknown if the 56-year-old man and a 79-year-old man whose deaths were reported in August had comorbidity.
August saw Polk School District return to in-person classes on Aug. 3 except for around 12% of the system’s nearly 8,000 students, whose parents decided to sign them up for online — or distant — learning through at least the fall semester.
Some early positive cases of COVID-19 led to student and teacher quarantines among Polk County schools and the district elected to have a teacher work week from Aug. 17-21 to allow educators to improve their online classroom websites and to have time for a deep cleaning of facilities.
The district then moved to a four-day school week with students only attending classes Tuesday through Friday with teachers using Monday as a work day for lesson planning for both in-class and quarantined students.