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One year ago: Troup experienced first COVID-19 case

On Sunday, March 14, 2020, a press release from the District 4 Public Health confirmed the first Troup County case of COVID-19. 

Now one year later, Troup County has seen more than 5,000 positive cases and 165 COVID-19 deaths. 

“There were so many unknowns a year ago,” said Emory Clark Holder Clinic Pulmonologist Dr. Ken Horlander. “We didn’t know how deadly it was at that point. It was all just kind of very scary.” 

Horlander said following the first case, the numbers began to spike in Troup County and all over Georgia. WellStar confirmed it was treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after it was released that Troup County had its first case.

 “When we got that first case, I took it as no matter what we had a patient we had to treat,” Horlander said. “As healthcare workers, we were going to put the patient first.” 

The Troup County School System Board of Education voted to close all schools for two weeks starting Monday, March 16 through March 27. The original plan was for students to return March 30. 

Within a few days of the first case, everything began to shut down locally and across Georgia. Locally, the government entities declared a state of emergency in their respective cities. 

The details of the state of emergency provided that there were not to be any public gatherings on any publically-owned property. 

“There was a lot of misconceptions at that point in the health care environment,” Horlander said. “Everyone was worried about even being in the room with a patient. Healthcare workers were worried about getting sick and how to handle it if they were.”

COVID-19 numbers began to go down as everything in Troup County began to close or be canceled. 

“We improved, but then we got the explosion in August,” Horlander said. “The numbers were worse, but we were more prepared. We had people who hadn’t gotten better begin to get better.” 

Horlander said despite numbers spiking he felt at that point that healthcare workers had more of a handle on things. 

Currently, numbers are beginning to lower again after a large spike during the holiday season.

“I hope by the end of the summer this thing is almost over or so well under control,” Horlander said. 

“I think we will still have a few cases here and there, but it will be so few. I think two years from now it will be pretty much gone.”