Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District, issued a statement on Thursday, ahead of the 4th of July weekend. In it, he asserted that confirmed cases of the coronavirus have increased 21 percent districtwide over the past two weeks.
According to Dr. Voccio, “July 4th weekend is coming, but COVID-19 won’t take a break for the holiday. The virus is as infectious as ever. Remember, we depend on one another to keep our community safe and stop the spread to our friends and family. Avoid close contact with others, keep your distance, and wear a mask.”
Health officials are concerned about spread of the virus amid the re-opening of Northwest Georgia communities. Says Dr. Voccio, “Although an increase in cases with re-opening as people come into more contact with one another is not unexpected, the marked increase in cases is signaling that we need to take steps to limit further spread that could set back our re-opening.”
Most of the increase is among younger people; 22 percent of all current cases are among those 18-29. The previous average age of a patient one month ago was 55, now it’s 42.
Along with an increased transmission, an increase in testing could be turning up more cases that were previously unrecognized.
There has not been a corresponding increase in hospitalizations or fatalities, though that could take a few weeks longer after infections increase.