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Troup reaches 100 COVID-19 deaths

Troup County reported its 100th death from COVID-19 on Tuesday, one week after the U.S. topped 200,000 deaths.

Troup’s number of deaths is the 14th worst in the state, despite being the 34th most populous county. Its death rate is 142 per 100,000 people, more than double the statewide rate of 65.6.

“Today has been a grim reminder of how prevalent and how dangerous COVID remains,” LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said. 

“First, we heard the news about our President and First Lady, and then the news that Troup County has surpassed 100 deaths. I just hope everyone will continue to treat this virus seriously and keep up the fight by following CDC and public health guidelines.”

The milestone was reached even as the county’s new case rate is at its lowest since May. As of Friday, the seven-day moving average of new cases was 5.6 per day, according to date posted Friday by the Georgia Department of Public Health. That number reached its peak on June 23 at 52.7, a day when 116 cases were reported.

The cumulative number of cases in Troup us at 2,837, a rate of 4,029 per 100,000 people. Troup’s cumulative rate of cases per 100,000 is the 35th worst among Georgia’s 159 counties. 

Older people have fared worse, as of the 100 people who have died in Troup County, 42 were 80 or older. The other numbers for deaths by age are: 25 people in their seventies, 15 people in their sixties, 11 people in their fifties, two people in their forties and five people in their thirties. Nobody under 30 has died from the virus.

Among the deaths were 52 white non-Hispanic people, 46 black non-Hispanic people, one white Hispanic person and one person with unknown race/ethnicity.

As is the case nationwide, Black people are disproportionately represented among the deaths — Black people make up 46% of deaths in Troup County despite being approximately 36.5% of the population. 

Thirty-six of the deaths were nursing home residents, according to the Georgia Department of Community Health. The vast majority of those have been at LaGrange Nursing and Rehab (20) and Florence Hand Home (15). Twin Fountains Home has had one death.

Dr. Kenneth Horlander, a pulmonary, allergy and critical care physician with Emory at LaGrange, said the milestone should remind people to continue to wash their hands, wear a mask and social distance. 

“We are still having people get extremely sick, in fact I had to intubate someone yesterday,” Horlander said. 

“It comes back to protecting others and yourself.”

Asked if he expected the county to reach 100 deaths, Horlander said it was hard to know what to expect at the start of the pandemic. 

However, given the county made national news for its summer spike, as well as what’s happened in nursing homes, he wasn’t surprised the county had reached 100.

“I’m not surprised that we hit 100 … when you’re dealing with it every day, it felt like 100 already,” Horlander said.