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Newton County has first confirmed COVID-19 case
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Newton County has first confirmed COVID-19 case

Newton County has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, according to the latest update from the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

The latest update shows 99 confirmed cases in Georgia. 

Sunday, the City of Covington posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

Statement from the City of Covington Regarding Firefighter Exposure to COVID-19 Virus

"On Wednesday, March 11, four City of Covington firefighters responded to a call to assist loading a patient into an ambulance. One of the patients had some symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus and out of caution, the responding firefighters self-quarantined. Immediately after the assistance call, the City of Covington fire Department was in contact with the Department of Public Health to determine the appropriate course of action. At that time, the DPH advised the patient in question did not have symptoms to necessitate a COVID-19 test and quarantine was not necessary for the responding firefighters. At the direction of the DPH, the firefighters ceased their voluntary quarantine.

Around 10:30 p.m. on March 14, the Department of Public Health advised Emergency Management and the Covington Fire Department a patient from the March 11 assist call, who the doctors originally believed did not have COVID-19 did, in fact, test positive. City officials continue to stay in constant contact with the DPH, who has now recommended quarantine for four of the firefighters who were considered to be the primary responders to the call, for 14 days from patient contact (10 more days). The Covington Fire Department and EMA are providing all resources for the firefighters during this time, including providing all meals.

None of the responding firefighters show any signs or symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and the DPH has decided not to test the four elevated risk firefighters for COVID-19 because of their lack of symptoms.

From the beginning, the City of Covington has followed the directive of the DPH and will continue to do so. Again, none of the firefighters exposed have any signs or symptoms associated with COVID-19 and their current quarantine is out of caution.

Timeline of Events:

03/11/20 - Covington Fire Department responds to a “lift assist” to help a patient into an ambulance

03/12/20 , 06:45 a.m.: Hospital notifies of possible respiratory infection but not the flu. Covington Fire immediately isolates firefighters.

03/12/20, 09:52 a.m.: Department of Public Health advises to not isolate firefighters and continue normal duties.

03/14/20, 7 p.m.: Hospital personnel advise Covington Fire Department the patient in question tested negative for COVID-19.

03/14/20 10:30 p.m.: DPH advises the patient tested positive for COVID-19 and to begin isolation of four firefighters for monitoring."

Newton County spokesman Bryan Fazio said county officials are aware of and are monitoring the situation.

The Covington News will provide updates on this story as more information becomes available.