Voccio: Rising COVID-19 cases “worrisome”

July 8, 2020–4:51 a.m.


Later today, the Rome City Commission and the Floyd County Commission will hold a joint meeting to discuss the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community.

The meeting begins at 3 p.m. at the Forum.

On Tuesday, Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the 10-county Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest District, was a guest on WRGA’s First News with Tony McIntosh.

He said the positive rate for COVID-19 tests has doubled in the past month.

“The Centers for Disease Control has recognized Georgia as a ‘Red Zone’ for COVID-19,” he said.  “This means we have a significantly higher number of cases per our population than the country in general.  In Georgia, it’s 167 per 100,000.  The national average is 100 per 100,000.  So, our case rate is much higher.”

Most of the new cases are in the Metro-Atlanta area.

However, we are seeing rises in our cases in our 10-county Northwest Health District.

“Of course, the small North Georgia counties have smaller numbers,” Dr. Voccio added.  “However, our larger counties like Floyd, Bartow, Polk, and Paulding have a lot of case and they are increasing, unfortunately.”

Dr. Voccio said on Monday, 448 tests were administered in Floyd County and another 400 tests were performed in Bartow County before the test kits ran out.

“We are having people traveling from Columbus, Athens, and August,” he said.  “When I was visiting the specimen site on Friday, we had people driving through from Muscogee and Cobb Counties.  They said it is so much easier to wait in line for 30 to 45 minutes instead of waiting 4 to 5 hours.  Cobb County residents will drive an hour, get tested, and then drive back home.  So, it’s easier to drive that distance and get a test fairly quickly as opposed to waiting in line.”

As of Tuesday morning, there were 24 patients at Floyd Medical Center who had tested positive for COVID-19.  Another 6 were at Redmond.

Dr. Voccio urged everyone to wear a mask in public, wash your hands frequently, and continue to socially distance.

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