White House Coronavirus Task Force suggests Georgia could see second surge of COVID-19 cases

Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 8:38 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Georgia is being recognized as having the 34th highest rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force Weekly Report says there are concerns in Georgia, suggesting a second surge of COVID-19 cases could be on the way. Dr. David Blake, a professor at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, said we may not see those trends until a couple of months out.

"We are heading in a bad direction but it is not really a time to panic yet, and there are still lots of things to do about it,” said Blake.

Blake said the new information from the White House Coronavirus Task Force is in line with his research.

“Coronavirus season is considered November through February and we are just now getting into it," Blake said. "There is every reason to be concerned about what is coming.”

In the report, Georgia is listed in the yellow zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 5 percent and 7.9 percent with the 29th highest rate in the country.

The three counties with the most new cases are Fulton, Gwinnett, and DeKalb counties. These counties represent roughly 25 percent of new cases in Georgia.

Blake said those numbers could go up in less than two months.

“I would put us at about 40 percent of our summer peak right now, so that means we are a little less than halfway there,” Blake said.

The task force made a couple of recommendations for Georgia to avoid a second surge in COVID-19 cases ahead of the fall flu season.

Ensure all k-12 schools are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, including mask usage, and are conducting routine COVID-19 tests to all teachers and faculty.

All nursing homes, assisted living, and elderly care sites have the full testing capacity and are isolating positive staff and residents

The task force also highlights the importance of continued mask-wearing and social distancing, which Georgia Governor Brian Kemp emphasized to News Leader 9 following a rally.

“I’m encouraging people to wear their masks, practice social distancing, wash your hands follow the guidelines," Kemp said. "That will help and as Dr. Toomey reminds me, get a flu shot. If we do those things, that will mitigate the flu season and continue to battle COVID-19.”

Locally, Muscogee County remains in the yellow zone with a steady positivity rate of roughly six percent. It’s is a much lower figure than what we saw at the height of COVID-19 cases in mid-July when positivity rates reached nearly 10 percent.

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