The state of COVID-19 in Georgia and Troup County

Published 12:03 pm Thursday, October 1, 2020

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By Jack Bernard

Bernard is a retired corporate executive.

As residents know, Troup County had a rough start dealing with COVID-19. Total cases per 100,000 population are currently 3,971 for Troup versus 2,885 for Georgia.

But as of late, Troup has done better than the state as a whole. In the last 2 weeks (Sept. 29), Troup has had 115 cases per 100,000, much less than the state, 184/100,000. Even more important, the Troup County positive rate for those tested is down to 5.9%, which is better but still not good (see below for more on the rate).

Georgia as a whole is doing better dealing with the pandemic than it was a short while ago but is still in the middle of a virus crisis. Thus far, there have been 316,306 cases of COVID-19 in our state, including 6,994 dead and 28,339 hospitalized.

This is up from about 265,000 cases of COVID-19 in our state a month ago (Aug. 28), including about 5,500 dead and 24,000 hospitalized. Many of those released have had continuing medical issues due to the lingering effects of the virus. 

Although it’s not well understood, the positive testing rate is among the best indicators as to whether the virus is under control. Statewide, we have a 6.1% positive rate; COVID-19 experts indicate that unless the rate is below 5%, the virus is not under control. Using this measure, we are still not controlling the virus either in the State or the County.

There has been improvement. However, 1,206 cases as the 7-day average means Georgia is still twice as high as when we were in lockdown. By any objective measure, that is not good.

We are doing too little to control the spread of COVID-19 compared to others. It’s clear that Gov. Brian Kemp’s previous executive orders have been ineffective in containing the spread of the virus. A letter to Kemp by 2,100 physicians and healthcare workers made suggestions. Kemp has not followed through on these but should.

Further, Kemp should work with state leaders in order to ensure increased testing and contact tracing, such that testing is readily available in each county, development of a realistic plan to obtain test result turnaround within 24-48 hours,  increased ICU capacity in hospitals throughout the state and an adequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers. 

Unfortunately, due to the divisive state of politics, many have unconscionably sought to downplay the effects of the virus in Georgia. Kemp (much like Trump) has often refused to acknowledge facts as stated by his own health department. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci and others have predicted a fall rise in cases, a second wave, due to schools and the change of seasons. Unless Georgia wakes up and deals with the issues detailed above, we will continue to have many more cases and many more deaths. Remember Kemp’s actions… or inaction… when the next Governor’s race comes around.