6 recover at local nursing home from COVID-19

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Six local nursing home residents have recovered after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to a report from the state agency tracking cases in nursing homes.

The Department of Community Health reports six of the 10 residents at Hartwell Health and Rehabilitation who were previously diagnosed with the novel coronavirus have recovered. 

The department does not list recoveries for employees. Twelve staff members at Hartwell Health and Rehab previously tested positive for the virus.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday that all nursing home residents in Georgia, at facilities with 25 beds or more, have now been tested for COVID-19.

“From the start of our fight with COVID-19, we have remained vigilant in protecting Georgia’s most vulnerable populations, including those in our long-term care facilities,” Kemp said. “This milestone marks an important victory in that mission, but rest assured, we will not take our foot off the gas. In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to ensure that vulnerable Georgians have the care and resources that they need as we work to limit exposure and spread.”

Recovered residents data is the cumulative number of residents who previously tested positive for COVID-19 who have now recovered from the virus based on subsequent negative tests, absence of symptoms or other appropriate criteria as assessed by the facility or otherwise ascertained, according to a release from Kemp’s office.

In the department of community health’s June 16 report, 3,587 of 6,413 nursing home residents statewide who tested positive for the virus have since recovered. 

A total of 1,144 residents in long-term care facilities have died in Georgia due to the virus since the department of community health began reporting the data.

The number of cumulative cases reported by the Department of Public Health rose to 44 in Hart County as of Tuesday, up from 39 confirmed cases last week. The department also reports there have been two hospitalizations in Hart County due to the virus and zero deaths.

Statewide, more than 59,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the public health department began tracking them. As of Tuesday, 2,529 people in Georgia have died due to the virus and 9,454 people have been hospitalized.

Restrictions easing

Kemp eased more pandemic-prompted restrictions for businesses and individuals on June 11.

Under an executive order, signed last Thursday by Kemp, live performance venues and large convention spaces will be allowed to reopen on July 1 as long as they meet social distancing and sanitation requirements. 

Capacity limits for restaurants were lifted under the order. Restaurants are still required to allow for six feet of space between groups.

The shelter-in-place order for most residents 65-years-old and older, except those with certain health conditions, was also lifted.

Overnight summer camps are permitted once again as long as attendants and staff at camp can prove they tested negative for COVID-19 before arriving at camp.

 Sports leagues at all levels are permitted to resume practices and games if their league allows it. Some of the leagues have already adopted distancing and cleaning rules.

Bars are now allowed to have up to 50 patrons at one time, or 35 percent of the fire capacity, whichever number is greater.

Walk-ins are now allowed at body art studios, barber shops, hair salons, their respective schools, massage therapy establishments and tanning facilities, but are  subject to specific requirements.

Capitol News Beat writer Beau Evans contributed to this report.