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COVID-19 cases on the rise across Georgia

The Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Public Health have instructed employers to use the symptom-based strategy for employees to return to work after having COVID-19 but not being hospitalized. Employers should not use the former test-based strategy (requiring two negative tests at least 24 hours apart), requiring employees undergo repeat testing, except in the event of severely compromised immune systems.

“The reason is that almost no one with COVID will remain contagious when 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms or since the date of the patient’s first positive test result,” says Dr. Charles Ruis, District Health Director for Southwest Public health District 8-2. “In addition, it often takes three months for the test result to revert to normal, and that could create a financial and health hardship on them.”

CDC has reported prolonged positive test results without evidence of infectiousness. In one study, individuals were reported to have positive COVID-19 tests for up to 12 weeks post initial positive.

The ability to promptly obtain COVID test results is a challenge due to limited capacity of commercial laboratories, adds Dr. Ruis. The unnecessary repeat testing also wastes the valuable supplies and human resources required for specimen collection.

Memorial Hospital & Manor Lab Manager, Leigh Ann Taylor has explained testing is done by a PCR test, which look for pieces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In order to perform a test, a nasal swab is taken by a healthcare provider and tested; it is then sent to a reference lab for test, but the result may take up to 10 days depending on the current volume.

The test is used to determine who has an active infection and helps identify people who are contagious to others, but does not determine who had an infection in the past, nor does it determine if a person who was exposed to COVID-19 will develop an active infection immediately after exposure.

The CDC, DPH and MHM are asking residents to practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene practices as the latest figures for the state of Georgia have gone up.

The Georgia State Department of Health has listed the following Covid-19 confirmed cases for Decatur County as of July 28, 2020 at 515 cases, with 8 deaths.

Regional figures include:

Grady County, 358 with 4 deaths, Mitchell County 555 cases – 41 deaths, Seminole County, 92 cases – 2 deaths, Thomas County 850 cases – 38 deaths, Baker County 52 cases – 3 deaths, Early County 326 cases and 31 deaths and Miller County 111, 0 deaths.