By Joe Johnson
The coronavirus death toll in Athens-Clarke County has reached double digits, and numerous residents of a local nursing home reportedly died after testing postive for COVID-19, the disease that is caused by the virus.
The county began the week with 69 confirmed cases of the highly-infectious disease and eight deaths as noon on Monday and as of noon Friday the number of cases rose to 81, with 10 deaths, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The DPH updates its coronavirus status report twice daily, at noon and 7 p.m.
The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in the 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Athens-Clarke, increased in that four-day time span 14 to 18, the DPH said.
The number of confirmed cases of the novel 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia increased from 7,314, with 229 deaths on Monday to 11,483 cases with 416 deaths as of noon Friday, according to the DPH.
In that same timeframe, the number of hospitalizations from the virus statewide increased significantly, from 1, 332 to 2,351, according to the DPH.
In the 10-county Northeast Health District, Athens-Clarke County had the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths from the disease,
The county on Friday afternoon was followed by Barrow County, with 48 cases of the virus and three deaths, the DPH said.
The county in the health district with the next most confirmed cases of the deadly disease is Oconee, which increased from 24 cases on Monday afternoon to 36 as of noon Friday, according to the DPH. The county this week experienced its first COVID-19 death.
Coronavirus cases in Jackson County increased from 17 Monday to 26 on Friday and also recorded its first death from the disease, while Greene County added 10 cases, bringing its total to 25, with one death.
Virus statistics in Madison increased from seven to nine, and the number of deaths in the county remained the same, at one, according to the DPH.
Morgan County jumped from five to 14 COVID-19 cases and Walton saw a significant increase from 23 to 36 cases, including two deaths, according to the DPH.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 and should always consult their healthcare provider if they are sick.
The DPH identified the Athens residents with underlying medical conditions who died from the virus as a males aged 60, 68, 98, and including a pair of 79-year-old males, and female patients aged 78 and 79. Two other fatalities were women, aged 65 and 78, and a 68-year-old male who the DPH did not know if they had underlying medical conditions An 89-year-old woman who had no underlying conditions also died from COVID-19, according to the DPH.
The patients in Barrow County who died were men, ages 64 and 66 and a 91-year-old woman, all of whom had underlying medical conditions, the DPH said, and the Madison County fatality was a 71-year-old man with pre-existing health conditions.
It was unknown if the 83-year-old man from Oglethorpe County who died from COVID-19 had any underlying medical conditions, according to the DPH.
The patients in Walton County who died from COVID-19 were both men, ages 74 and 75, but the DPH did not know if they had underlying healt issues.
Neither the 83-yer-old Oglethorpe County man nor the 85-year-old Oconee County man who died from the disease had underlying medical condition, according to the DPH.
Long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and congregate living settings for older people must strictly follow COVID-19 prevention measures to stop rapid spread of the virus, according to the DPH.
Locally, at the PruittHealth-Grandview nursing home off North Chase Street, 10 residents have died from COVID-19.
PruittHealth’s Communications Department on Thursday released to Classic City News the following statement:
We are saddened to share that 10 patients of PruittHealth – Grandview who previously tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 have passed away in the past few weeks. We cannot confirm the cause of death for any of these individuals and encourage you to contact the medical examiner or the Department of Public Health for this information. As always, our first priority is communication with the patients’ families and our caregivers. PruittHealth-Grandview continues to operate at an Alert Code Red status and has been strictly following enhanced infection control protocols, including increasing cleaning frequency, postponing communal activities, ceasing visitation, screening staff and patients daily, restricting staff to only essential personnel, and ceasing new admissions. We ask for your prayers for the patients’ loved ones during this difficult time, and out of respect for them and the patients' privacy, we cannot share any more details at this time. We will continue to monitor the issue and its effects on our community as we follow the latest public health guidance. We ask any employee, patient, or family member with questions to contact our Emergency Operations Center at 855-742-5983. For updates and more information on our disease protocols, please visit PruittHealth.com."