Hart adds 19 COVID cases in one week


Local official questions state reporting

  • Virus

A jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases locally is mirroring a surge seen statewide, but a local official is calling into question the validity of the state’s reporting.

Hart County’s cumulative COVID-19 case count rose to 91 as of Wednesday’s daily status report issued from the state Department of Public Health, an increase of 21 cases from the June 30 report.

County administrator and Emergency Management Director Terrell Partain told The Sun that Hart County is seeing about three new cases per day, but some of those cases are listed at the same address. One of the addresses, where he said he knows only one woman lives, has shown six cases of COVID-19.

Partain said the reporting “doesn’t make much sense” but he doesn’t know whether it’s faulty reporting from the state or something else that is causing the discrepancy.

About three or four of the new cases are showing up at Whitworth Women’s Facility in detention officers and inmates, Partain said.

“I’d say we’re averaging about three (new cases) a day for the last week,” Partain said.

Partain said the number of cases is rising, with about 10 active cases as of Wednesday morning, but he doesn’t know if it’s a “spike” because he doesn’t know what next week’s numbers will be, he said. Regardless of reporting questions, Partain suggested following the governor’s recommendations in regards to going out into public.

The increase in positive cases can be attributed to more tests being administered, Partain said, including antibody tests which are included in the total case count.

District 2 Public Health spokesperson Dave Palmer told The Sun the rise in cases could be attributed to more testing and folks venturing back out into the public.

“We have seen an increase in the number of people coming in for testing. We also know that many people have returned to work, have gone on vacation or are doing other activities that may put them at risk for exposure,” Palmer said. “So, this has contributed to the increased numbers of positive cases that we are seeing.”

Public health officials continue to recommend social distancing, wearing a face covering when out in public, washing your hands often and staying home as much as you can to limit exposure to coronavirus.

Local doctor Daniel Gordon visited the Hartwell City Council’s regular meeting Monday night to urge city council members to use their platform to advocate for wearing masks in public. Gordon asked the council to consider mandating masks in city operated buildings.

“The amount of disease here is growing,” Gordon told the council. “I’m testing them and they’re happening in my office. We’re barrelling down the path of having more cases, more spread and having to deal with ‘are we going to have to shut down our businesses again?’ And that is not something we want. We want to protect our citizens and we want keep our businesses open.”

Hart County is one of 18 counties in the state that has not had a reported death from COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health. The youngest death in the state reported so far was a 17-year-old male in Fulton County.

Gov. Brian Kemp launched the “Georgia Safety Promise” campaign on Monday, urging Georgians to follow public health guidance, including wearing a mask in public when social distancing can not be maintained.

If you develop symptoms of the virus, you should isolate at home. If you have a fever, you should stay home until three days have passed since your fever resolved and it has been 10 days since the onset of symptoms, the Department of Public Health recommends.

The number of cumulative cases statewide topped 100,000 on Tuesday, as the number of deaths from the virus grew to 2,899.