As you may be aware, late last night (March 2) Governor Brian Kemp and Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and chair of the governor’s COVID-19 task force, confirmed two cases of the virus in Fulton County. The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has since been detected in more than 35 locations internationally, including cases in the United States.
According to DPH, symptoms of COVID-19 may resemble the common cold or seasonal flu, which is a far greater risk this time of year. The best way to prevent infection with any respiratory virus is to use the same preventative strategies used during a normal cold and flu season: get a flu shot, wash hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness until they resolve. It is important to remember that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds and this type of stigma should be avoided.
Since early last week, GMA has been in contact with DPH and has full access to the Department’s Joint Information Center, which includes accurate and consistent messaging updates to disseminate to our valued cities. We will be diligent in sharing the vetted information we receive with you. We are currently working with DPH to share more information specific to local governments, but wanted to make you aware of several useful links in the meantime. Below, we’ve compiled a list of useful resources to prevent, identify and treat (if needed) cases of COVID-19. Please review and share this information with your respective councils, commissions, public safety departments and staff.
COVID-19 Health Advisories
Best Practices, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- The flu is still widespread and active throughout the state, so if you have not already gotten a flu shot, it is not too late. While the flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, it will prevent serious complications that require hospitalization and prevent overburdening the health care system in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
- If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 and develop fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
For more information please contact DPH directly:
Thank you for investing your time into learning more about this public health emergency and acting to keep your community educated and protected.
Tracy B Jones