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DPH: Covid cases increase over holidays; community members should stay vigilant
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This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. On Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, Pfizer said an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)

Following the Christmas weekend, Covid-19 cases are on the rise and Dawson County has the highest per capita Covid-19 infection rate, according to releases by the District 2 Public Health (DPH) and by Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services. 

“COVID-19 cases have rapidly increased over the holiday weekend,” the release said. “The number of positive cases nearly doubled in Georgia since Friday due to the fast spreading Omicron variant. The recent spike in cases mirrors the first months of COVID-19 infections."

According to a post by Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services, as of the beginning of this week Dawson County had 180 cases in the last two weeks, bringing the county’s total to 4,463. 

Both the post and the DPH release encouraged community members to not only consider vaccination, but to take other precautions as well. 

“Vaccination is the most important strategy available to us against COVID-19 variants, but we must also continue to use a layered approach of protection to keep our communities safe and healthy,” District 2 Public Health Director Zachary Taylor said in the release. 

A layered approach includes wearing a mask despite vaccination status, getting a booster if eligible, washing your hands often, social distancing if possible and getting a COVID-19 test if you’re feeling sick or have been around someone else who tested positive. 

The DPH has six free drive through testing locations in Forsyth, Franklin, Hall, Lumpkin and Union counties. Registration is available online and highly recommended before arriving to reduce wait times. 

“District 2 Public Health officials are urging communities to stay vigilant and use all mitigation strategies available to minimize the burden on hospitals, families and communities,: the release said. 

For more information on COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and district-wide data, go to phdistrict2.org