Georgia officials confirm two cases of coronavirus COVID-19

STAFF REPORT :::

Two cases of COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the novel coronavirus, have been confirmed in Georgia.

Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey M.D. and other state officials confirmed the cases involving two Fulton County residents. Both live in the same household and one recently returned from Italy.

Both have mild symptoms and are isolated in their home with other relatives in an effort to prevent the illness from spreading.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is working to identify any contacts who may have been exposed while the two individuals were infectious.

People who are identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly by a DPH epidemiologist and monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

Kemp on Monday night spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about the two confirmed Georgia cases.

The Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force was briefed via conference call at approximately 9:30 p.m. and at 10 p.m., a press conference was held with Kemp, State Epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek, Adjutant General Tom Carden, Georgia Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Homer Bryson and Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King.

“Our team has been working around the clock to prepare for any scenario. Already, state health officials have established contact with these individuals to gather more information, monitor their condition and determine any exposure,” Kemp said. “They are confident that our efforts to prepare for this moment have enabled us to manage these cases appropriately and minimize any risks moving forward. We remain in constant communication with our partners at all levels of government, and we will continue to update members of the public as information becomes available.”

Toomey stressed that officials believe the immediate risk to the general public remains low.

“We knew that Georgia would likely have confirmed cases of COVID-19, and we planned for it. The immediate risk of COVID-19 to the general public, however, remains low at this time,” Toomey said. I cannot emphasize enough the need for all Georgians to follow the simple precautions that DPH always urges to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.”

COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Those considered at risk for contracting the virus are individuals with travel to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 or individuals in close contact with a person with COVID-19.

The public is advised of these best practices:

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.

The flu remains widespread and active throughout Georgia, and authorities say it is not too late to receive the flu vaccine.

The flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, but it may prevent serious complications that require hospitalization and help prevent overburdening the health care system in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 and develop fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or urgent care center and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

For updated information about COVID-19, please visit dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.

For answers to frequently-asked questions, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.htm.

Gov. Kemp, Officials Confirm Two Cases of COVID-19 in Georgia

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