Unprecedented increase - 10 positives

  • The Elberton Star is dedicated to keeping the citizens of Elbert County informed about the local effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
    The Elberton Star is dedicated to keeping the citizens of Elbert County informed about the local effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Elbert County had a five-day stretch from Wednesday, April 22 until Sunday, April 26 of 10 positive tests of COVID-19, increasing the number of locally confirmed cases from five to 15.

The total of 15 locally confirmed cases, according to Practice Administrator Brooke McDowell of The Medical Center (TMC) of Elberton and Elbert County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Chuck Almond, are cases in which positive tests can be confirmed by McDowell and/or Almond.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), on Tuesday, reported that Elbert County has 19 positive cases, which can’t be confirmed by Almond. 

“When we are made aware by the healthcare facilities, we verify that information prior to notifying the public,” Almond said. “As these processes continue, there are more and more sites becoming available in our public health district and other places. Citizens who seek private, clinic or drive-through testing may NOT be reported to us here at EMA. But it will be reported to DPH and be shown on their website for our county. We were made aware of an error in reporting on the governor’s list of long term care facilities that was not confirmed or factual. We worked diligently to have that removed from the list. We did this work to clear the facility and confirm that there were NO cases of COVID-19 at that nursing home. We CANNOT control the DPH website and (DPH’s) numbers.”

As of Tuesday morning, locally,  officials can confirm 115 tests for COVID-19. TMC has tested 89 patients and Elbert Memorial Hospital (EMH), according to Head Nurse Tammy Harlow, has tested 19.

According to Almond, he can confirm four drive-through testing cases at an unknown testing facility in Athens and two tests at Athens Regional (Piedmont) Hospital. Almond has also confirmed a test (that was positive) at an unknown location.

Of the 15  COVID-19 positive cases in Elbert County, 12 have been reported by TMC (10 in five days), two were confirmed by Almond at Piedmont, and the one was confirmed by Almond from an unknown location.

TMC has reported 71 negative results and EMH has reported 19 for a total of 90.

Still pending are the results of six patients at TMC (tested on Monday) and four at the Athens drive-through location.

Test results for COVID 19, which at one point earlier this month were returning from Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) in North Carolina at a rate of seven to nine days, are now getting back to TMC in about 36 hours, according to McDowell.

“They (LabCorp) have really stepped up their game,” McDowell said last week.