Update 7 p.m. 3/26/2020: Clarke County now has 29 cases and Oconee County has 7. The numbers for the other counties surrounding Oconee are: Barrow (5), Walton (0), Morgan (1), Greene (1), Oglethorpe (0), Jackson (2) and Madison (3). The state now has 1,643 total confirmed cases, 509 hospitalized patients, and 56 deaths. The line chart below reflect the numbers as of noon today. The box above the lines includes the 7 p.m. figures. The increase in the number of cases in the state in the last 24 hours was 18.5 percent.
The Northeast Health District of the Georgia Department of Health has confirmed the first death in the district from COVID-19 with the passing of a 67-year-old Athens male at one of the area’s two hospitals.
The Northeast Health District consists of 10 counties, and, as of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, had 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with Clarke’s 17 and Oconee’s 5 dominating.
The Northeast Health District said the first casualty of the disease had existing medical conditions in addition to testing positive for COVID-19. No other details were provided in the news release, which was dated March 23.
The 7 p.m. Daily Status Report on Tuesday showed an increase of one case in Clarke County and one case in Barrow County from Tuesday’s noon Daily Status Report. The five cases in Oconee County were first reported in the noon report on Tuesday, up from three cases a day earlier.
The 7 p.m. Daily Status Report lists 1,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 37.1 percent from the 800 cases listed at 7 p.m. on Monday.
For the first time, the Daily Status Report listed the number of persons in the state hospitalized with the virus, 361, or 32.9 percent of the confirmed casts. The report listed 38 deaths, up from 26 a day earlier. The 38 deaths represent 3.5 percent of the confirmed cases.
Oconee County commissioners, responding to two requests on Monday that they issue a shelter-in-place order, said local action was unnecessary because the declaration of emergency by Gov. Brian Kemp “automatically puts Oconee County in a local state of emergency.”
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Spread To Surrounding Counties
The spread of confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the state has been dramatic in the last four days.
At 7 p.m. on the the 21st (Saturday), at least one confirmed case was reported by the Georgia Department of Health in 56 of the state’s 159 counties, or 35.2 percent.
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On Sunday evening, the virus was in 62, or 39.0 percent of the counties, and on Monday evening it was in 70 of 44.0 percent of the counties.
As of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a confirmed case of the virus was in 88 of the 159 counties, or 55.3 percent.
The spread of COVID-19 encircled Oconee County during this time period.
On Sunday, only Barrow and Clarke among the counties bordering Oconee had a reported case of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, only Oglethorpe and Jackson counties had no reported cases. (Oconee intersects with the tip of Jackson County just north of Bogart where Barrow, Jackson, Clarke and Oconee come together.)
On March 17, a confirmed case of the virus had been reported in only 27 of the state’s counties, or 17.0 percent.
The Oconee County web site outlines the requirements of Gov. Kemp’s executive order, which went into effect at noon on Tuesday and will remain in effect for 14 days.
It also notes that the Environmental Health Office is closing all restaurant dining rooms and limiting service to take-out, drive through, or delivery only.
Citizens are asked to report violations to the Oconee County Environmental Health Office at 706-769-7060.
“The Governor’s order requires individuals in a high-risk group to self-isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place in their residence,” the statement on the web site states.
“This group includes residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, those with chronic lung disease, individuals undergoing cancer treatment, those with confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus, or those who have had contact with an individual diagnosed with Coronavirus,” according to the statement on the web.
“Oconee County also strongly encourages all individuals to follow this advice to limit social interactions,” the statement continues.
“In addition, no more than ten people may gather at any business or other establishment unless individuals are able to maintain at least six feet of separation at all times,” according to the statement.
“The Department of Public Health has the authority to close any business or organization that does not operate in compliance with this order,” according to the statement.