Cases of COVID-19 continue to be on the rise in Lumpkin County.
The county gained 142 cases last week, currently totaling 701, up from 559 the previous week.
Although numbers in Lumpkin are still below the statewide average, they are trending upward at the same time cases in Georgia are trending downward overall.
According to David Palmer with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the statewide rate is 2,557 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, while DPH stats list Lumpkin at a rate of 2,074 per 100K population.
Fortunately, deaths due to COVID-19 did not see an increase this week as the total is still reported as 12 according to the DPH.
Hospitalizations did see a small increase this week, going from 70 cases last week to 76 this week.
Palmer said the most common way the virus is spreading is person-to-person.
"It is extremely important for people to continue the 3 W's: Watch your distance (6 feet apart), Wear face coverings, and Wash hands," he added.
Palmer also reminds people that when they test positive they need to isolate at home.
"When positive cases receive a call from a DPH contact tracer, they need to identify their close contacts so those individuals can be advised of steps they need to take," he said. "Everyone must do their part."
Secondary infection can also spread the virus, Palmer added. This includes touching surfaces and transferring germs to eyes, nose, or mouth.
He said people also need to continue to wash hands after touching surfaces and keep hands away from their face.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting that the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for COVID-19 are trending downward nationwide.
The Georgia DPH reports that cases statewide continue to trend downward since the second week of August.
"This is hopeful news," Palmer said, "but we must remain vigilant with precautions above (three W's), staying home when sick, and limiting contact with others."
Free testing is available to anyone at the Lumpkin County Health Department on Wednesdays between 8:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
According to statistics provided by the Lumpkin County School System to The Nugget on Monday, LCSS reported that 22 students (out of 3,752) have currently tested positive. This shows no increase from the previous week.
An additional 164 students are quarantined because they may have been exposed to someone who tested positive—an increase of of 36 from the previous week.
A total of four staff members—(out of 538) have tested positive for COVID-19—an increase of one from the previous week.