The Rome City Commission will meet virtually on Friday at 1:30 p.m. to discuss whether or not to extend the city’s face-covering ordinance for another 30 days.

“We’re still watching the case numbers climb,” City Manager Sammy Rich said. “This is another attempt to keep the community safe and take some pressure off our healthcare workers.”

Floyd County is still averaging over 700 new cases of COVID-19 every two weeks, with one of the highest rates of transmission in Northwest Georgia.

Testing in Rome and Floyd County is also above a 20% positivity rate, an indicator that the spread of the virus is greater than testing shows.

So far 110 Floyd County residents have died from a COVID-19 infection and another 19 people are suspected to have died from the disease.

The ordinance is set to expire Friday at 11:59 p.m. but an extension will likely pass.

The City Commission voted unanimously on Dec. 8 to enact the mandate to attempt to slow the rampant spread of COVID-19 locally that has broken previous infection, hospitalization and death records set in the summer.

Hospitals have reported extremely high caseloads of COVID-19 infected patients since early December and those numbers have pushed past previous peaks consistently since the beginning of the month.

As of Thursday there were 89 COVID-19 positive patients at Floyd Medical Center and 74 COVID-19 patients at Redmond Regional Medical Center.

Because of stipulations in Gov. Brian Kemp’s health emergency order, businesses can opt out of local ordinances requiring masks.

However, those businesses must post a visible sign stating they’re opting out.

However, employees in restaurants, retail stores, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies that have face to face interaction with customers must wear a face covering.

That includes businesses that opt out of the local ordinance.

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