COVINGTON, Ga. — Ninety-nine new cases of the novel coronavirus and nine new deaths have been confirmed since Wednesday, the state said Thursday.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said it now has 287 confirmed cases as of noon Thursday.
Federal officials warned Wednesday of increasing numbers of COVID-19 diagnoses in the coming days as a backlog of tests is cleared and more patients are added to the tallies.
Newton County still only has three confirmed cases. Rockdale County has one confirmed case while Gwinnett County has gone up to 12 confirmed cases.
Sunday afternoon, the Newton County School System said one of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19. That worker is an employee of the Newton County Theme School in Covington.
Wednesday evening, NCSS confirmed a second employee had contracted the virus. The second case is a teacher at Clements Middle School who didn’t begin showing symptoms until after schools had closed.
“Because this individual was not present in any of our buildings and did not have any contact with students or staff at the onset of symptoms the Health Department has informed us that the risk of transmission is extremely low for our students and staff,” the school system stated in a press release.
The school system has refused to identify either of the employees’ roles at their respective school, or the sex of either employee.
The first case in Newton County prompted a self-quarantine of four Covington firefighters who responded to a call last Wednesday to help load a patient into an ambulance.
The patient had some symptoms associated with COVID-19 and the responding firefighters self-quarantined. However, the DPH said the patient did not apparently need a COVID-19 test and the firefighters broke their isolation.
At about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, DPH officials told Newton County emergency managers and the Covington Fire Department a patient from the assist call in fact did test positive for COVID-19.
The state Health Department recommended 10 days of quarantine for the four firefighters who were the primary responders on the call.
The city said none of the firefighters have shown signs of the virus.
Fulton County still has the most reported cases with 66, followed by Cobb County with 37 and Bartow with 26. Dekalb (22) and Dougherty (20) also have 20 or more confirmed cases.
The state says of the 287 cases identified, 81% of patients are ages 18 and up, and 35% are 60 and older.
The DPH said the county breakdown is based on the county of residence for the patient, when it’s known. Six cases are listed as “unknown” for the county.
In commercial labs, 13% of tests are returning positive results for COVID-19.
In testing at the state public health lab, the positive test rate is 22%.
Two people died after contracting coronavirus and receiving treatment at a hospital in Albany, officials at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital said.
The hospital said 23 people there had tested positive for COVID-19 as of noon Wednesday while more than 400 were waiting for the results of their tests.
A total of 10 people have now died in Georgia due to the virus. A 67-year old man with underlying health conditions was the state’s first death.
Emory Healthcare confirmed a death from the illness at one of its 10 Atlanta-area hospitals, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.