On Thursday, September 10, Chairman John Daniell participated in a conference call with area healthcare providers and hospitals regarding COVID-19. Below is a joint statement that was issued following the call on Thursday, September 10:
This afternoon, we held another conference call update with our local hospitals, the Department of Public Health and other healthcare providers - including the University of Georgia Health Center.
We have seen in recent days a significant increase in cases, mostly among the college student population. This increase is concerning. We all recognize that our campuses are not in a bubble, and any cases among students can spread to the greater population - which is why we reiterate the importance of wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing.
Fortunately, the number of COVID-19 positive patients in our hospitals are decreasing locally - albeit not at the same level of improvement we’re seeing in other parts of the state - nor have we seen signs of hospitalization increases among students to date. Statewide, numbers continue to improve, and we must work to ensure our area follows.
Testing capacity and turnaround time remain strong through the Dept. of Public Health. We encourage individuals to get tested - particularly on the heels of the Labor Day holiday. We discussed data questions for testing reporting and our continued push to ensure individuals can get tested and get their results quickly. All facilities also reported they are in a good position in terms of available PPE.
Our healthcare providers asked that we emphasize the importance of flu shots. As we enter flu season, we would urge our community members to get their flu shots to support our hospitals. We also want to remind individuals that are contacted by the Dept. of Public Health for contact tracing to follow the provided guidance - especially any guidance given to quarantining. By following this guidance and by all of us continuing to do our part, we will bring our number of cases back down.
Thank you to our healthcare workers who continue their incredible work on the frontlines!