Columbus seeing increase in COVID-19 cases during the holiday season

Updated: Dec. 8, 2020 at 5:24 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - This extension of the public health emergency comes as Columbus is seeing an increase in coronavirus cases.

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said it’s not time to take our foot off the pedal yet. The state of public health emergency will last through January 9.

“As we all anticipated, following the Thanksgiving holiday, we knew we were going to have a surge simply because the weather was colder, people were celebrating, getting together even in small groups, and we have seen that increase in our numbers over the last week,” Henderson said.

A surge may be an understatement from Henderson as COVID-19 cases climb.

“We had the highest number of positive cases reported yesterday probably since July,” Henderson said.

According to data from the mayor’s office, Columbus saw 67 new coronavirus cases develop from Sunday to Monday. The number of new cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period continues to grow as well at 242 now, whereas the city was at nearly 100 fewer just two weeks ago.

“Our hospitals report a very modest increase of cases which tells me they’re doing an exceptional job,” Henderson said.

Henderson said hospitalizations are not increasing drastically, which is a good sign to see. But he does not anticipate this surge to end anytime soon because of the holiday season.

“Particularly during this season of Christmas when everybody seems to tap into a little extra kindness, we challenge everyone in Muscogee County to continue doing what you’re doing and that’s thinking about your neighbor, thinking about the people who might be impacted that you’re empowered just by wearing a mask, just by staying socially distanced, to perhaps stay healthy during this holiday season,” Henderson said.

The mayor said wearing masks is not to protect you if you’re healthy, it’s to protect those who are not. The mask mandate is still in effect.

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