Hart meets threshold to allow mask mandates

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Gov. Brian Kemp is now allowing local officials to decide whether or not to implement mask-mandates, as the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hart County appears to be declining.

An executive order issued Saturday, Aug. 15 by Kemp extends certain coronavirus-prompted restrictions until Aug. 31, including the shelter-in-place for the medically fragile and long-term care facility patients. 

The order also allows local governments to implement face covering requirements in public if the area meets a certain threshold. The threshold is defined in the order as “the prevalence in a county of confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the previous 14 days is equal to or greater than 100 cases per 100,000 people according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.”

As of Thursday morning, Hart County has 295 cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks, meeting the threshold requirement allowing local governments to issue a face covering mandate.

The DPH reported Monday that 77 COVID-19 cases had been added in Hart County in the last two weeks as of Monday, a decline from the previous week’s report of 99 cases added in a two-week period. The reporting website managed by the DPH on Tuesday no longer listed the number of new cases added during the previous two weeks. 

Cumulatively since the state began tracking cases, Hart County has seen 363 cases of the virus and 50 hospitalizations and nine deaths as of Thursday morning. Hart County administrator Terrell Partain said there were 19 active cases in Hart County as of Wednesday morning.

The youngest death in Hart County was a 62-year-old male who had no comorbidity, while the oldest deaths were individuals more than 90 years old. Comorbidity is defined by the DPH as “any comorbid or simultaneously existing diseases or underlying conditions that would make the individual more susceptible to severe outcomes.”

Three of the deaths reported in Hart County involved no patients with commorbidity, while three of the deaths did involve comorbidity, according to the DPH. Comorbidity is listed as unknown in two of the cases. 

Hart Care Center saw another COVID-19 death, bringing the facility’s total to four deaths, according to the Department of Community Health. There are 47 residents at the facility who tested positive and 25 have recovered. 

Brookdale Hartwell has seen five resident deaths, 12 COVID-19-positive residents and two residents who have recovered.

Hart County has seen a total of 357 confirmed virus cases since the DPH began tracking the information.

As of Tuesday, there are 125 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the 12-county region that includes Hart County, according to a map provided by the Georgia Geospatial Information Office.