UPDATE 3/21/2020 noon: Numbers for Oconee, Clarke and Barrow counties remain unchanged from a day earlier.
UPDATE: Oconee county has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, based on the Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report for 7 p.m. on 3/20/2020. Clarke now has 10 cases. Barrow has one case.
This original post was based on data from Thursday and has been updated based on the Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report for 7 p.m. of 3/20/20.
The Georgia Department of Health reported Thursday that Clarke County has eight confirmed cases of COVID-19, up from five on Wednesday. Barrow County has a single case, first reported on Tuesday. (Clarke now has 10 cases, as of 7 p.m. on 3/20/20)
According to the Department of Health report for Thursday, Oconee County still has no confirmed cases, but the Oconee County web site reports a potential exposure of an employee at the County landfill off U.S. 441 in the far south of the county. (Oconee now has one case as of 7 p.m. on 3/20/20.)
All Oconee County Government Buildings were closed to the public yesterday and will remain closed until at least April 1, according to the county announcement.
Watkinsville closed City Hall Thursday afternoon until further notice.
Piedmont’s Oconee Health Campus on Virgil Langford Road and Jennings Mill Road now has a drive-through COVID-19 testing site, according to a joint Facebook posting on Thursday by Spencer Frye, Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, who represent Clarke and Oconee counties in the Georgia House of Representatives.
The three legislators noted the Department of Public Health’s report of the eight cases in Clarke County and the single case in Barrow and said “we anticipate this number is much higher” and said that they are “working hard to increase testing options for patients.”
(The Athens-Clarke County Commission late Thursday night declared a second local emergency to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Residents are required to shelter in place.)
The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report, showed, as of noon Thursday, the spread of confirmed cases of the virus from Atlanta east in an unbroken chain to Clarke County.
Oconee County borders and is south of both counties.
Walton, Morgan, Greene, and Olglethorpe counties to the south and east of Oconee County do not yet have any conformed cases. (This remains true on 7 p.m. on 3/20/20.)
Jackson and Madison counties north of Clarke and Barrow counties also have no confirmed cases. (This remains true as of 7 p.m. on 3/20/20.)
|Source: Georgia Department Of Public Health Daily Status Report 3/19/2020|
|Map Updated For Noon On 3/20/20|
The highest numbers of confirmed cases are in the metro Atlanta area, with 66 confirmed cases in Fulton County and 37 confirmed cases in Cobb County on Thursday. (The numbers are 88 and 47 as if 7 p.m. on 3/20/20, but Bartow County, north of Cobb, how is in second position with 54 confirmed cases.)
A confirmed case is defined as a person who has tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus, according to the Department of Public Health report.
Clarke County, with its eight cases, ranked ninth among Georgia’s 159 counties, following Gwinnett County with 12 confirmed cases and Fayette county with nine. (The ranking for Clarke is the same for 7 p.m. on 3/20/20, but Gwinnett now has 23 cases and Fayette 9.)
Georgia has 287 confirmed cases and 10 deaths. (The total number of confirmed cases is 485, with 14 deaths, as of 7 p.m. on 3/20/20.)
In the Facebook post from Thursday, Frye, Gaines and Wiedower state:
“We are working hard to increase testing options for patients and, as a result, wanted to provide one update.
“Piedmont’s Oconee Campus now has a drive-through test collection site.
“This site is for patients who have moderate symptoms that do not require hospitalization.
“In order to receive testing, patients MUST be pre-screened by calling tel:1-866-460-1119.
“If an individual meets the criteria for testing, he or she will then be assigned an appointment. No drops-in are accepted.
“Testing options still remain limited, but we are working with providers and the state to increase capacity quickly. As further updates become available, we will relay those.”
Gaines represents the 117th House District, which includes parts of Barrow, Clarke, Jackson and Oconee counties. The Oconee County precincts of Athens Academy, Marswood Hall (formerly called Malcom Bridge), and Bogart are in the 117th District.
Frye represents the 118th House District, falling entirely in Clarke County.
Wiedower represents the 119th House District, equally split between Clarke and Oconee counties.
The Oconee County announcement regarding the Landfill states:
“Out of an abundance of caution, the personnel operating the Oconee County solid waste collection sites have been placed under quarantine due to possible contact with COVID-19.
“These employees are not exhibiting any symptoms; however, we recommend following CDC interim guidance of self-quarantine for two weeks for all who have visited the Macon Highway Collection and Recycling Site (former landfill) or the Mars Hill/Jimmy Daniel Collection Site since Wednesday, March 11.
“This recommendation arises from an abundance of caution regarding the rapidly spreading nature of COVID-19.
“All collection sites are temporarily closed.
“Both the Macon Highway and Mars Hills/Jimmy Daniel Collection sites will be closed until April 1.
“All sites will undergo deep cleaning and sanitization. Staff is developing plans to allow for passive continued use of the sites for solid waste disposal.”