School quarantines increase again due to COVID-19

  • Virus

More students in Hart County are under quarantine as the number of COVID-19 infections slows locally and nursing homes are allowed to reopen. New data from the Department of Public Health, however, suggests Hart County has high transmission indicators. 
The Hart County Charter System reported this week there are 102 students who have been quarantined for possible exposure, but only three students out of 3,557 are currently confirmed to have the virus.
However, the number of infected employees with the school system rose to eight this week, up from five last week. Thirteen employees have been quarantined for possible exposure.
The number of new novel coronavirus infections in Hart County has declined in recent weeks, with 43 cases reported in the last two weeks, compared to 50 last week, according to data from the DPH.
Though, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Hart County rose to 21 as of Wednesday morning, Hart County administrator Terrell Partain said, an increase from 12 reported last week.
In total, 13 deaths attributed to the virus have been reported in Hart County with the youngest being a 50-year-old man with comorbidity, which means other factors contributed to his death, according to the DPH.
The DPH updated its reporting website this week to include more data on the number of recent cases, testing, and to track emergency department visits for influenza like illness. Hart County is not considered an emerging county of interest, but is considered a county with high transmission indicators based on data from Sept. 5 to Sept. 18, according to the DPH. High transmission counties are considered those with a 14-day case rate of more than 100 per 100,000 in population, more than 10 new cases in the past 14 days, a 14-day positive test rate of more than 10 percent and a 14-day total of more than 20 tests administered. Hart County checks all of those boxes, according to the DPH. Northeast Georgia counties including Elbert, Franklin, Stephens, Madison, Jackson, Hall and Habersham all qualify as counties with high transmission indicators as well. 
Hart County has seen 482 total cases since 
Gov. Brian Kemp moved last week to lift restrictions on elderly long-term care facilities that have been in effect in Georgia since the coronavirus pandemic hit the state in March.
As of Sept. 15, nursing homes, personal-care homes, assisted-living communities, hospices and other elderly-care facilities were allowed to reopen subject to continuing measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
The facilities will be allowed to reopen in three phases under Kemp’s order. Under the Phase I restrictions, visitation to an elderly-care facility will not be allowed in most instances. Non-medically necessary trips should be avoided, while screening of residents and staff will be conducted three times daily under both phases.
Visitation will be allowed under phases two and three, with outside visits preferred. Limited non-medically necessary trips also will be permitted under the second and third phases. Screening of residents and staff will only be required once a day under Phase 3.
A Department of Community Health report shows five residents at Brookdale Hartwell have died due to the virus. Five more residents have died at Hart Care Center with the virus and two residents at Hartwell Health and Rehabilitation died.
Statewide, more than 6,600 deaths have been associated with COVID-19, according to the DPH. There are more than 308,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Georgia.
Dave Williams with the Capitol Beat News Service contributed to this report.