Emergency room visits from COVID-19 or influenza like illnesses

The graphic on the left lists the changes to emergency room visits related to COVID-19 and the one on the right is emergency room visits with what is classified as influenza-like illness visits. Floyd County showed an increase in COVID-19 related visits and stayed the same on influenza-like visits.

Floyd County Schools have reported another round of COVID-19 late Saturday, this time at Coosa Middle School

A person at Coosa Middle School tested positive for COVID-19 and approximately 73 students and employees have been deemed close contacts by DPH guidelines and are receiving additional correspondence from the school.

"We continue to encourage all families to temperature scan and monitor students closely for any sign of potential illness," a statement read. "Students should remain at home if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, new or persistent cough, headache, loss of taste or smell, fatigue and/or stomach issues (diarrhea). Please remember that the school principal should be notified if parents or students develop multiple symptoms and/or a positive COVID-19 test result."

This follows Friday when 23 Pepperell Primary students were quarantined Friday after they were exposed on the first day of school to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Gary Voccio, the health director of the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District, said it’s to be expected.

“We need to expect that students, teachers, and staff are going to get infected. We will have more cases in schools. We have to be prepared for that. We also need to expect that kids will likely transmit it, at least to some degree, to adults, and we have to be prepared for that, too,” Dr. Voccio said.

Several other area school systems who opened earlier have either quarantined classes, temporarily shut down schools or have had to cancel games because of the coronavirus.

While there are Rome school employees who were previously under quarantine, there were no exposures at the school system and no quarantines resulting from the return to school, Superintendent Lou Byars said. A Rome High School volleyball game scheduled to be played against Cass High School was canceled Thursday because the Cass coach had been exposed to COVID-19.

Polk County has also taken a week off after a rising number of infections or exposures.

Woodstock High School on Wednesday became the second Cherokee County high school in two days to close because of a surge in COVID-19 cases. North Paulding High School has canceled in-person classes for the rest of this week and will begin a two days a week staggered scheduled starting Monday.

“It’s not going to be perfectly safe, and we can’t guarantee a parent that it’s going to be perfectly safe,” Dr. Voccio said. “I think many of our schools are going to see transmission, and it may be mild or substantial. We need to wear masks, physically distance when feasible, and wash our hands. It’s going to be a challenge.”

A DPH report stated Georgia’s statewide case numbers decreased by 7% over the past week, a DPH release stated. The CDC has seen a 22% decrease in cases over the past two weeks in the state with the highest infection rates in metro-Atlanta.

The information in the news release comes as national evaluations target Georgia as a state that is not making progress on curbing virus transmissions.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force report again put Georgia in a COVID-19 “red zone,’’ a designation that calls for aggressive steps to slow the spread of the virus, including a mask requirement. The report said Georgia had “widespread and expanding community viral spread,” the AJC said in an article.

COVID Exit Strategy still lists Georgia, as well as other Southeastern states, as having “uncontrolled spread’’ of the virus. The website also says Georgia is doing just 28 percent of the COVID testing that’s needed to curb transmissions.

And Georgia, despite lower case numbers, still is reported as having the second-highest COVID rate per capita over the past week, as indicated by the New York Times.

Twice this week, the number of Georgia virus deaths reported daily has climbed to more than 100, shattering the record for the previous high.

In the same DPH report that indicated state numbers were going down, Northwest Georgia is listed as an emerging hotspot. The report stated it came to the conclusion primarily because of outbreaks in manufacturing facilities.

In the past two weeks, Floyd County has reported 505 new infections, approximately the cumulative total of reported cases in the county from March through June. Friday, Floyd reported 59 new infections.

In a DPH chart, Floyd County is listed in the increasing category for the number of emergency room visits related to COVID-19. There were no numbers included in that designation. On Friday, the Floyd County Emergency Management Agency reported there were 57 COVID-19 positive patients at local hospitals and 4 people waiting on test results.

And late Friday, the AJC reported that Gov. Brian Kemp will sign an executive order that allows some local governments to require face coverings on their own property days after he abandoned a legal challenge that sought to block Atlanta’s mask mandate.

Text of the letter:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

You are receiving this message because your child has been identified as a close contact of a student or employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 at Pepperell Primary School. A close contact as defined by the Department of Public Health (DPH) is less than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes during the positive student or employee’s infectious period (this time frame is cumulative). Your child will need to quarantine effective immediately for a 14-day quarantine window. Your information has been shared with DPH and they will contact you with further guidance.

As you are reading this notification, we have implemented FCS safety protocols in partnership with the DPH for cleaning and sanitizing any affected areas.

Parents/guardians should notify the school principal if they or their child develops multiple symptoms and/or a positive test result. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever of 100.4 or higher, new or persistent cough, headache, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, and/or stomach issues (diarrhea).

If you have any general questions, please refer to the FCS Return to Learn Plan which can be found HERE or on the homepage of the district website- www.FloydBOE.net.

If your child is not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, your child will be provided with paper learning packets that will be available for pickup at the school on Monday, August 17th from 4:30 to 5:30. Any absence due to COVID-19 is considered excused.

We appreciate your continued support in keeping our staff and students healthy and safe!

Andy Miller from Georgia Health News contributed to this report.

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