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Authorities: COVID-19 cases on the rise in Dawson County
Photo courtesy of Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 cases have once again begun to rise in Dawson County and other counties across the state of Georgia, according to health officials. 

The current number of confirmed cases in Dawson County as of July 13, according to Georgia’s Department of Public Health Website, is 174, with 3 total deaths and 27 total hospitalizations. The total numbers for the state of Georgia are 116,926 confirmed cases, with 3,001 deaths and 13,259 hospitalizations. 

Larry Anderson, chairman of the Dawson County Board of Health and chair for the county’s pandemic planning medical committee, said that the numbers have been growing dramatically in Dawson County and the state as people relax on social distancing and mask use. 

“Just in the last 5 days we were up to 10 new cases, and adding about another 2 to 4 cases a day so we’re looking at an increase of about 14-18 new cases,” Anderson said when asked about the growing numbers in Dawson County. 

Hospitalizations from Dawson County have grown recently too, according to Anderson. 

“We stayed at a total of 20 hospitalizations for about the last 4 to 5 weeks and then over the last week it jumped to 7 new cases including one in the ICU,” Anderson said. 

The biggest age group to have been diagnosed with the virus lately has been younger people in their 20’s and 30’s, who don’t require hospitalization like older COVID-19 victims but who have come in for testing more recently due to not feeling well or already exhibiting symptoms. 

According to Anderson, the reason for the spike is that people are becoming more relaxed about social distancing and about wearing masks. 

“Some states and cities have made it mandatory to wear masks and others have not,” Anderson said. “But wearing a mask is the best defense against spreading the virus.” 

Anderson said that increased testing in the state hasn’t contributed to the rise in confirmed cases, but that it has led to a backup at the labs and testing facilities. 

“The testing does not cause the virus to be more prolific, the virus is here already and we just catch it more,” Anderson said. “Two weeks ago we could have test results back in 3 days; now we’re at 8 days because the demand has skyrocketed and we’re overwhelming the labs.”