Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is encouraging people to be more vigilant about avoiding crowds as we enter the Labor Day weekend, after Hall County and the surrounding region saw COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations jump to record levels following the Fourth of July weekend.
“When you look at the objective data, there’s no doubt that our community got a little too relaxed as we celebrated Independence Day – and the resulting increase in COVID activity put people’s lives in danger and placed tremendous strain on our healthcare workers,” says John Delzell, MD, MSPH, one of NGHS’ COVID-19 Incident Commanders with a background in Public Health. “Please celebrate Labor Day safely and help stop the spread by avoiding large parties, wearing your mask around others, watching your distance and washing your hands.”
The NGHS7-day average of positive COVID tests hovered between 5-10% in May and June. Those levels were in line with the state average and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation that the positive rate should remain at 5% or lower for 14 days before communities fully reopen all services. On July 4, though, the NGHS rate jumped to 11.5% – then it leapt to a record 28% by July 16.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work by this community to steadily lower the positivity rate, which is now at 15%,” says Supriya Mannepalli, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s medical director of Infectious Disease Medicine. “While that’s still higher than the state average of 10% and the 5% goal set by the WHO, it’s still great progress trending in the right direction.
“We need to continue to work together to keep that positive momentum – especially as we head into a holiday weekend, schools are back in session and flu season is starting. Just keep following the simple precautions to help keep the people of this community, as well as local schools and businesses, healthy.”
ABOUT NORTHEAST GEORGIA HEALTH SYSTEM
Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 1 million people across the region through four hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has campuses in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega – with a total of more than 700 beds and more than 1,100 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. Learn more at www.nghs.com.