The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Floyd County increased by three Tuesday for a total of 92, according to Department of Public Health figures.
Local hospitals were treating 16 people who have tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus and had 26 patients who are awaiting testing. An additional 17 people were tested and came back negative for the disease.
Locally two noticeable jumps in the number of Floyd County residents can be directly attributed to two events.
The increase of 11 cases on March 27 can be connected to an group of infections in a Redmond Circle nursing home. The other began on March 31 with a statewide ramp up of testing capabilities.
More than 9,000 Georgians have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday. Statewide, cases jumped over 1,500 — to 9,156 cases at 7 p.m. from 7,558 on Monday night. The death toll rose to 348 from 294 the day prior.
“We know that increased testing means the number of positive cases will increase. But along with that, we are also seeing further spread of COVID-19 throughout Georgia,” Kathleen E. Toomey, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “We can stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia, but every Georgian must take personal responsibility now and follow the prevention guidance to keep this deadly virus from taking any more precious lives.”
The number of cases in hard hit Cobb County has risen to 566, with 29 deaths. Cobb remains the county with the fourth-highest number of cases, behind Fulton County, Dougherty County and DeKalb County.
Bartow County recorded another death Tuesday, making 12 so far. Floyd County’s number of fatalities remained stable at 3.
Bartow, with 191 cases Tuesday, has slowly worked its way down the rankings as counties in the metro-Atlanta area and two South Georgia counties — Dougherty and neighboring Lee — rose to the top of the list in both number of cases and deaths.
So far, 33,785 Georgians have been tested for the coronavirus at state and private labs.
With 9,156 testing positive, the remaining 24,629 essentially represents the people whose tests returned negative for the virus. However, DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said that, due to differences in reporting by the various facilities doing the testing, “the negatives are underrepresented.”
Strong state revenue report likely the last for a while
Meanwhile, the state probably has received its last positive revenue report for a while.
The Georgia Department of Revenue reported Tuesday that tax collections increased by 9.8% last month compared to March of last year. The state brought in $1.83 billion in revenue last month, an increase of $163.5 million over March 2019.
While the coronavirus pandemic was starting to put a serious dent in Georgia’s economy last month, the rosy revenue report for March reflects a lag time between when businesses collect taxes and when they submit them to the state, said David Sjoquist, an economics professor at Georgia State University.
“March numbers are largely collected by firms in February,” he said.
The revenue increase in March was driven largely by individual income tax collections, which rose by 25.5% compared to March of last year. Individual income tax payments were up by 18.3%, while tax refunds plummeted 21.7%.
On the other hand, net sales tax receipts declined for the month by 2.4%. Corporate income taxes rose slightly, by 0.8%.
Sjoquist said the March report likely marks the end of positive revenues for the foreseeable future.
“The numbers next month will be quite a bit lower,” he said.
The General Assembly will have to grapple with the economic damage coronavirus is doing to the state’s bottom line when lawmakers resume a 2020 legislative session suspended indefinitely last month because of the virus.
Legislative leaders already have cast doubts on the state’s ability to continue making ends meet and still afford either the second installment of a $5,000 teacher pay raise Gov. Brian Kemp is recommending or an additional state income tax cut.
The $27.4 billion fiscal 2020 mid-year budget adjustment the General Assembly approved last month already is in place. The real challenge will be finding enough money to fund critical programs and services in fiscal 2021 starting July 1.