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49% Chance of ONE COVID Positive in a Crowd of 10 in Bulloch

In an August 30th leaked White House Coronavirus Task Force report first released by WABE in Atlanta, Statesboro and Bulloch County—in addition to Candler and Evans counties—continue to be listed in the “Red Zone” for COVID positive cases

Nationwide, Georgia is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the 7th highest rate in the country. Georgia is in the yellow zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 5% and 10%, with the 18th highest rate in the country.

The report says that overall, Georgia has seen a decrease in new cases statewide and stability in test positivity over the last week, demonstrating continued week-over-week progress.

It also stressed that a key to continuing the decrease includes aggressive mitigation and prevention of spread from universities to local communities.

High Spread Continues In Statesboro

Bulloch County reported 88 new COVID positive cases today which brings our 14 day average of positive cases per 100,000 to 876 and percent of positive tests to 21.4%.   The New York Times has now moved Statesboro to fifth in the United States in bothWhere the Outbreak Is Worst Now: The metro areas with the greatest number of new cases, relative to their population, in the last two weeks” and “Where There May Be Bad News Ahead: the metro areas where new cases are rising the fastest, on a population-adjusted basis”.

On average, each person in Bulloch County with COVID is infecting 1.49 other people. As such, the total number of current cases in Bulloch County is exploding, putting the hospital system at risk. Aggressive action is urgently needed.

49% Chance of One Positive Person in Crowd of Ten in Bulloch

If you gather in a crowd of  ten in Bulloch County there is a 49% chance that one person in the group will be COVID positive.  Increase the crowd size to 25 and your chances increase to 82%.  A crowd of 50 increases the chances to 97%.  This is calculated using the Georgia Tech COVID-19 risk assessment planning tool. This interactive tool shows the risk level of attending an event in any county in America, given the event size and location (assuming 10:1 ascertainment bias).

Key White House report recommendations:

General Public

  • Wear a mask at all times outside the home and maintain physical distance

  • Business retailers and personal services require masks and safe social distancing

  • Limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer people and avoid gatherings over Labor Day.

  • Do not go to bars, nightclubs, or gyms

  • Use take out or eat outdoors socially distanced

  • Reduce your public interactions and activities to 25% of your normal activity

  • University students should have quarantine on campus or near campus and not return home to multigenerational households, where additional transmission could occur.

Public Officials

  • Close all establishments where social distancing and mask use cannot occur, such as bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues.

  •  Further limit indoor dining to less than 25% occupancy and expand outdoor dining.

  • Ask every citizen to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer people and ensure proactive communication about the risks of gatherings over Labor Day.

  • Ensure that all business retailers and personal services require masks and can safely social distance

  • Provide isolation facilities outside of households if COVID-positive individuals can’t quarantine successfully

  • University students should have quarantine and care sites on campus or near campus and not be returned home to multigenerational households, where additional transmission could occur.

  • Ensure all universities can fully test, isolate, and contact trace

  • Ensure all nursing homes, assisted living, and elderly care sites have full testing capacity in all towns with university students, so staff can be aggressively tested weekly to prevent spread from students to residents through staff.

  • Expand the protection of those in nursing home, assisted living, and long-term care facilities by ensuring access to rapid facility-wide testing in response to a resident or staff member with COVID-19, with the isolation of all positive staff and residents. Ensure social distancing and universal facemask use. Immediately conduct infection control surveys in all nursing homes with 3 or more new cases in the last week. Antigen testing capacity will continue to be supplied over the next 4-6 weeks to support routine LTCF testing from the Federal Government

  • Continue to enhance contact tracing and ensure the ability of cases and contacts to quarantine or isolate safely.

Testing

  • Require all universities with RNA detection platforms to use this equipment to expand surveillance testing for schools (K-12, community colleges, universities) and to support testing in communities surrounding universities

  • Ensure all hospital testing capacity is being fully utilized to support additional community, nursing home, and school (K-12) testing as ER visits and hospital admissions decline and additional testing capacity is available.

  • Move to community-led neighborhood testing and work with local community groups to increase access to testing

  • Surge testing and contact tracing resources to neighborhoods and zip codes with highest case rates

  • Diagnostic pooling: Laboratories should use pooling of samples to increase testing access and reduce turnaround times to under 12 hours. Consider pools of 2-3 individuals in high incidence settings and 5:1 pools in settings where test positivity is under 10%

  • Surveillance pooling: For family and cohabitating households, screen entire households in a single test by pooling specimens of all members into single collection device

Georgia Southern University

Currently Georgia Southern has 60 rooms set aside to quarantine students.  There are currently 9 in use.  DPH has 6 contact tracers assigned to Georgia Southern with a goal of increasing that to 16.

In Statesboro, the Department of Public Health has reserved testing hours specifically for Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. until noon.

These new reserved hours for free tests begin Wednesday, Sept. 2, at DPH’s COVID test site at the Bulloch County Health Department, located at 1 West Altman Street in Statesboro. To take advantage of these reserved times, you can call 855-473-4374 or enter your information online in advance at covid19.dph.ga.gov.

During the online registration process, once you reach the prompt that states: “You qualify to book an appointment online, Click next to register, DO NOT CLICK “NEXT” unless you want to register for testing at the site during the other times that are open (and not devoted to GS employees or students). Employees can then just show up at one of the days/time blocks that are set for Georgia Southern.

City of Statesboro Expanding COVID Testing

The City of Statesboro is working with a local health care facility to provide drive-up community wide testing starting next week.  The details have not been finalized at the time of this story.  We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Click here to review the leaked White House Georgia Report

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