Last updated on June 26, 2020
Updated to include video of Mayor’s address. Bulloch County is now a rural COVID-19 hot spot due to our increased number of COVID-19 positive cases. Statesboro Mayor Jonathon McCollar will address this designation and his concerns with the exponential increase in COVID-19 cases tonight, June 24th at 7 PM.
Grice Connect will carry the Mayors address live at 7 PM.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen steady increases in COVID-19 positive cases, along with increased hospitalizations, in Bulloch County. Even though local public safety officials and the medical community have pleaded with local residents to wear masks when in public, to adhere to social distancing and continue with hand washing they have seen their warnings go unheeded. As Statesboro and Bulloch County restaurants, businesses, gym’s and church’s have reopened, almost daily, we are seeing notices of closures due to staff members testing positive for COVID-19. As schools start training for athletic programs, we are getting reports now of high school and college students testing positive. In fact, the COVID-19 positives are trending much younger in Bulloch County and Statewide.
Bulloch COVID-19 Positives setting daily records
On June 1st, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 65 Bulloch County residents had tested positive for COVID-19. On June 14th they were reporting 103 positives and today reported 219 positives. Often, increased testing stated as the reason for higher positive cases. Since DPH does not report the number of tests conducted by county, the number of pending tests by county, the number of active cases, nor the number of recovered cases, it is difficult to determine locally how this impacts Bulloch County.
COVIDACTNOW.org released the percentage of positives and the infection rates by county. Bulloch County is trending up with now nearly 10% of all test returning positive with an infection rate of 1.06, which is also trending up.
COVID-19 Impacts Local Long Term Care Facilities
Local long-term care facilities are also reporting an increase in patients and staff members that are positive and one local nursing home is reporting five COVID-19 deaths, even though DPH is only reporting three total deaths for Bulloch County. These discrepancies in numbers have also been a point of frustration for local authorities. DPH states this is because of a lag of date received and entered from the Department of Community Health (DCH) which monitors nursing home COVID-19 data.
UPDATED 6/26/20 TO CORRECT POSITIVE COUNT FOR Brown’s – they currently have no positives. They are showing 2 total tested at this time.
- BROWN’S HEALTH & REHAB CENTER, 55 residents, 1 COVID positive staff member (CORRECTED 2 Patients Have BEEN Tested – NO CONFIRMED PATIENT POSITIVES)
- EAGLE HEALTH & REHABILITATION, 52 residents, 4 COVID positive staff members
- HERITAGE INN HEALTH & REHABILITATION, 65 residents, 9 COVID positive staff members
- THE LODGE AT BETHANY, 44 residents, 2 COVID positive staff members
- WESTWOOD HEALTHCARE & REHABILITATION, 38 residents, 1 COVID positive resident, 5 COVID deaths, 1 COVID positive staff member
Community and Business Leaders Frustrated by Southeast Health District’s Refusal to Release Helpful Data Locally
According to Rebecca Reis, Contracts Specialist & Risk Communication with the Southeast Health District each health district within the state of Georgia chooses which data they release. The Southeast Health District, which consist of 16 counties, including Bulloch has chosen to release data only to the state and not to each county. The reason they do this is to prevent a delay in data receipt and entry. They feel this will prevent more confusion by providing numbers at a county or district level for fear they may not align with the final state numbers daily. They think this will provide a greater clarity by using one source of numbers, which are at the state level.
However, health districts adjoining our district are releasing detailed information at the county level on a daily basis. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced yesterday that the Coastal Health District would begin reporting positive cases by zip code in Chatham County. Emanuel and Jenkins County are in the East Central Health District. This health district releases more detailed information directly to the local Emergency Management Agencies daily.
Citizens express frustration daily on social media about the lack of data released locally compared to adjoining counties. Business owners believe more detailed and localized information would be very helpful.
Ted Wynn Expresses Seriousness of Rising Positive Cases
Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn released a statement today stressing the seriousness of these rising numbers and pleaded with Bulloch County residents to take this seriously and to wear face mask when in public.
“While testing numbers have increased, we should realize the cases are there whether we test or not. Follow the guidance below and let us slow the spread in Bulloch. We must take this serious”, said Ted Wynn. “A face mask protects others should you be infected and unaware. It is not hard to see when out and about that many do not take this seriously. WEAR A FACE COVERING. COVID-19 is going to be around for a while. Wearing a face mask is as simple as being a good neighbor. While some states are seeing declines in numbers, others are going up. Experts believe we are still in the first wave, and we must remain vigilant.”