Test totals for Rabun residents missing from state reporting

  • Test totals for Rabun residents missing from state reporting
    Test totals for Rabun residents missing from state reporting

CLAYTON—How many cases of COVID-19 are there in Rabun County?

The Georgia Department of Public Health website reported Tuesday that eight people have tested positive for the virus so far.

In neighboring Habersham County, the number was 107.

But the number of people tested in each county is unknown, because GDPH does not break out that data on a county-by-county basis.

“We are not reporting COVID-19 testing by county,” said Dave Palmer, District 2 Public Information Officer Tuesday. “There are many health care providers who are testing, and it is more efficient to have centralized reporting for test results. The (GDPH) website shows the number of positive cases by county. Since the website is not in real time, there can be a delay in the actual number of cases in the county and the total shown on the website. However, we are conducting contact tracing on all positive cases in each county, and we have re-assigned personnel in our district to help with contact tracing.”

The demographics on COVID-19 cases is posted on the District 2 website, but categories such as age, gender and ethnicity are also not available on the county level, though the are posted for the entire state.

Not everyone who wants a COVID-19 test in District 2 right now will necessarily receive one.

“Current guidance is to test only individuals who have symptoms—fever, dry cough, shortness of breath,” Palmer said. “Referrals are still required” to be referred to a GDPH specimen collection site, he added.

“Individuals who meet COVID-19 testing criteria may now be referred to specimen collection sites by contacting their local health department,” Palmer said, “They will be screened by appropriate health department staff and referred to a specimen site.”

Health care providers and/or physicians can also refer patients for COVID-19 testing.

“If the individual calls the health department, or their provider, and is approved for testing through our specimen collection site, the testing is free,” Palmer said. “Most insurance policies will pay for COVID-19 testing. However, individuals should ask their provider how much their insurance policy will pay. Medicare and Medicaid will also pay for testing.”

You can reach the Rabun County Health Department at 706-212-0289.