by Wayne Hardy and Stephanie Hill
White County is on pace to have its second-highest COVID-19 case count in a single month.
November’s total reached 208 confirmed cases as of a Nov. 23 update from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Counts for previous months include a high of 363 in September, 217 in August, 144 in July and 117 in October.
The county’s seven-day moving average of new cases has risen to 17.6 as of the Nov. 23 DPH update. That’s the highest the average has been since 19.9 on Sept. 22, a day after the county reached its peak average of 20.3 on Sept. 21.
DPH listed 105 new cases reported for the county from Nov. 17-23. Previous weekly case counts over the past month were 52 from Nov. 10-17, and 42 from Nov. 3-10. The 208 confirmed cases reported to DPH over the first 23 days of November are more than triple the 68 cases reported in the final 23 days of October.
There have been 1,129 total confirmed cases reported in White County during the pandemic, as of Nov. 23.
Of the 1,120 confirmed cases list in the Nov. 22 DPH status report, White County Emergency Management Agency considered 764 recovered. The agency’s weekly update considers a case to be a recovery 21 days after the case report is provided to the county.
As of Nov. 23, DPH reported that there had been 27 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in White County. The ages of the deceased listed include men ages 26, 36, 60, 65, 68, 74, 79, 81, 82, 83,83, 84, 85 and 88, and women ages 43, 54, 56, 71, 76, 77, 82, 87, 88 and four over 90. All but five are listed as having chronic health conditions.
New cases also have risen steadily statewide since October to their highest rate since spiking during the summer. The increase comes at as many public health officials are concerned about further spread at family gatherings during Thanksgiving.
In a video message posted to social media Sunday, Gov. Brian Kemp emphasized steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus as the holiday season begins.
“As the weather turns cold and people spend more time inside, we have seen Georgia’s case numbers increase, and we continue to ask the people of Georgia to do a few simple things to limit the spread,” he said.
In addition to wearing mask, socially distancing, washing hands and following the guidance of public health official outlined in his executive orders, the governor also encouraged people to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza to help prevent a twin pandemic of COVID-19 and flu.
Kemp said he understood wanting to spend time with loved ones during the holidays but urged families to look at other options during the pandemic such as virtual or outside gatherings or limiting get-togethers to only a few people within the same household, while also considering the risk of including those more vulnerable to COVID-19 such as the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions.
“Our fight with COVID-19 has uprooted so many of the norms we are used to, and I know it has been hard on Georgians and their families, but we cannot let up,” Kemp said. “If all Georgians commit to using best practices and heeding the advice of our public health officials, we can win this fight and return to normal safely and quickly.”