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Pike has second COVID-19 victim

Pike County now has two COVID-19 victims, a 46-year-old man with underlying health conditions and a 77-year-old woman. There are 33 confirmed cases in Pike. Gov. Brian Kemp outlined a plan to reopen businesses across the state by May 1. ”Last week, the White House issued guidelines for states to begin to safely reopen our nation’s economy. We appreciate their leadership and share in the president’s desire to reopen the economy and get Americans back to work. As a small business person for over thirty years, I know the impact of this pandemic on hardworking Georgians in every zip code and every community. With heightened supply and limited demand, crops are rotting and farmers are struggling to keep employees on the payroll. Our small business owners are seeing sales plummet, and the company that they built with blood, sweat, and tears disappear right before them. Contract workers are struggling to put food on the table. Our large businesses, which serve as anchors in many Georgia towns, are scaling back operations, leaving some with reduced hours and others with no job. These are tough moments in our state and nation. I hear the concerns of those I am honored to serve. I see the terrible impact of COVID-19 on public health and the pocketbook.” The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is increasing the number of specimen collection sites statewide for COVID-19 testing, and is revising the current testing criteria to accommodate more testing of Georgia residents. Effective now, all symptomatic individuals will be eligible for COVID-19 testing. Health care workers, first responders, law enforcement and long-term care facility residents and staff will still be prioritized for testing regardless of whether they are or are not symptomatic. Referrals are still required, however, there are now two ways to be referred to a DPH specimen collection site including from a local health department and through a health care provider referral. Individuals who meet COVID-19 testing criteria may now be referred to DPH specimen collection sites by contacting their local health department. They will be screened by appropriate health department staff and referred to the closest, most convenient specimen collection site. Contact information for local health departments can be found on the DPH homepage at dph.georgia.gov/, under COVID-19 in Georgia. Health care providers and/or physicians can and should continue to refer patients for COVID-19 testing. The COVID-19 testing line for Pike and other counties in the District 4 Health District is 1-800-847-4262 and their website is district4health.org. People should not arrive unannounced or without a scheduled appointment at a specimen collection site, hospital, emergency room or other health care facility. Only individuals who have been evaluated by public health or a health care provider and assigned a PUI # number will be referred to these drive-thru sites. ’Together we can stop further spread of COVID-19 in our state and save lives,’ said Hayla Folden of District 4 Public Health. ‘Stay home – the Governor has issued a shelter-in-place executive order that should be observed by all residents and visitors.’ Practice social distancing – keep at least six feet between yourself and other people. Wash your hands – use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% alcohol) if soap and water aren’t readily available. Wear a mask – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the use of face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially where socials distancing is difficult to maintain (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.), and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. For more information about COVID-19, go to dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

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