The COVID-19 pandemic began in the state of Georgia on March 2, 2020, when the first case was diagnosed. The first death from COVID-19 was ten days later on March 12, 2020. The Governor declared a public health emergency two days later on March 14, 2020. On March 16, 2020, schools were closed by executive order.
The first shelter in place order came on March 23, 2020, and school closures were extended days later. By April, it was announced that schools would be closed for the remainder of the year. By April 23, 2020, the Governor issued an order allowing certain businesses to open--a controversial move so early in the pandemic. Mask ordinances were ordered in local counties, including Morgan County, but in the state, the Governor continued to recommend masks publicly without requiring them with a public mandate.
Nearly a year later, cases continue to rise. As of February 7, 2021, Morgan County was showing 1,063 cases of COVID-19. There have been ten confirmed deaths and three probable deaths from the virus. There have been 66 hospitalizations reported. There have a further 636 who have tested positive for COVID-19 antigens.
While Morgan County was one of the few counties to institute a local mask ordinance, businesses were allowed to opt-out as long as they posted a sign advising their refusal to cooperate with the public health ordinance designed to protect citizens from contracting this potentially fatal disease. Without enforcement, cases have continued to r
In Georgia overall, there have been 772,978 confirmed cases (3,209 of those cases reported in the last 24 hours). Confirmed deaths are currently at 13,326 for the state with another 1,766 probable deaths from COVID-19. Hospitalizations are at 51,842 as of yesterday. There have been 8,598 ICU admissions in the state of Georgia.
In the United States, there have been 27 million cases out of the 106 million cases worldwide. There have been a total of 463,000 deaths in the U.S. with 2.32 million reported globally. In the last 24 hours, 87,889 cases have been reported and 1,301 deaths have resulted from COVID-19. While 59.3 million patients have recovered in the world, more people are testing positive every day.
While the pandemic continues and more contagious strains of the virus are being reported, the CDC makes the following recommendations for minimizing the risk of contracting COVID-19:
- Wear a mask any time you are within six feet of someone who doesn't live in your household.
- Be sure to wear a mask properly, making sure it fits the face and covers both the nose and mouth at all times.
- Practice social distancing, staying at least six feet away from others.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
- Wash hands before and after handling your mask.
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces where social distancing is not possible including restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events, and other places where masks may not be worn or social distancing may not be observed.
- Cough and sneeze inside the mask or into an elbow, keeping the mouth covered at all times.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.
- Self-quarantine if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Monitor for a fever or other symptoms if you begin experiencing symptoms and get tested as needed.
Other tips to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include avoiding large parties or gatherings, which could become super-spreader events, wearing masks in public places at all times, and opting for socially distanced video gatherings over in-person attendance where masks won't be worn or social distancing won't be maintained.
To register for the vaccine, Morgan County residents can visit the Northeast Health District's website.