Public health officials are asking Georgians to avoid travel and gatherings when possible during the Thanksgiving holiday as the pandemic rages across the country.
“The surge of COVID-19 infections in Georgia and across the country mean we must rethink our idea of a traditional Thanksgiving this year,” Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, the Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner, said in a statement.
The virus spreads easily whether gatherings are large or small and that spread puts people at risk, especially people who are elderly or have underlying medical conditions.
“Each family must assess the risk of exposure to COVID-19, especially among elderly or medically fragile individuals, as they weigh the decision to host or attend a holiday gathering,” Toomey said. “Everyone needs to follow the guidance of wearing a face mask, social distancing and washing your hands frequently. And get a flu shot.”
Polk County is still seeing a consistent number of new COVID-19 infections every day, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Through the first part of November, 187 new cases have been confirmed among residents as of Saturday, with 28 of those needing hospitalization. There have also been four new confirmed deaths due to complications caused by COVID-19 since the start of the month.
The two weeks prior to Saturday saw 121 new cases and 20 hospitalizations of Polk County residents. All four of November's deaths were reported during that time as well. So far Polk County has had 1,935 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus with 167 hospitalized and 33 deaths.
In the past week, Georgia is reporting nearly 2,400 new COVID-19 cases per day and around 30 deaths per day.
As of Thursday, Floyd Medical Center and Redmond Regional Medical Center reported they have a total of 82 COVID-19 positive patients in their facilities.
That number of patients is near the top end of the scale locally. Floyd County’s hospitals have also reported an uptick in emergency room visits concerning COVID-19 patients.
Nationally, the daily count of U.S. tests beginning on Sept. 15 has increased nearly 100%, based on a seven-day rolling average. However, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases has increased over 300%, to more than 161,000 as of Wednesday, according to an Associated Press analysis.