35 new cases reported over past seven days

  • COVID-19 Update.
    COVID-19 Update.

CLAYTON—The Georgia Dept. of Public Health (GDPH) reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 in Rabun County over the past week, bringing the cumulative total number of cases to 200 locally.

Three deaths and 32 hospitalizations in Rabun County have been caused by the disease, GDPH says.

Of the cumulative total--which reflects the total number of COVID-19 positive test results since March--many have recovered and some have shown no symptoms after testing positive, but the exact numbers for each category are not available on the GDPH website.

Cumulative COVID-19 totals for neighboring counties as of Aug. 4 included:

Towns – 120

Habersham – 1,089

Stephens – 579

Macon (N.C.) – 464

Oconee (S.C.) - 771

Last week, GDPH began reporting a new statistic, a 14-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases. The average for Rabun County was 77 last week, while this week’s number dropped slightly to 74.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta issued a new report on the spread of COVID-19 among children attending summer camp in North Georgia.

The CDC referred to the site as “Camp A” in its report, but over the weekend, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Camp High Harbour in Rabun County was the source of one of the largest “superspreading” events in the state.

A total of 260 COVID-19 cases have been traced back to the camp, the newspaper reported. Most of the attendees were from other areas of the state, so their test results were not reported for Rabun, but instead went to their home county.

The CDC report, which is available online, was the subject of national news stories in such media outlets ad The Washington Post and Good Morning America over the weekend.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continued to impact the local business community.

Fortify Kitchen and Bar in Clayton announced on their Facebook site that they were closing down for a second time after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

After a deep cleaning of the facility, the restaurant hopes to reopen Aug. 12.

Chik-fil-A in Clayton resumed operations in the past week, after being closed for a time due to the coronavirus.

The city of Clayton learned over the past work that one of their employees has been hospitalized due to COVID-19.

"We are all one big family and truly care about the wellbeing of our employees,” City Manager Cissy Henry said Tuesday. “This is all scary for the whole world but it really hits home when it’s family members."

The Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta will reopen to receive coronavirus patients on Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday. 

The facility, which has a capacity of 120 beds, will house 60 beds initially and increase based on need.

“These additional hospital beds will provide relief to surrounding health-care facilities while providing top notch care for patients,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a prepared statement. “My administration is laser-focused on expanding hospital surge capacity while working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.”

This will mark the second time the convention center has been tapped to help with an overflow of coronavirus patients. A 200-bed alternative care facility there was activated back in April as COVID-19 cases soared and state officials rushed to boost emergency bed capacity.

Its operations were paused in late May as the governor moved to relax business restrictions and jump-start the state’s flagging economy.

But COVID-19 cases have been rising again since the beginning of July. As of Thursday afternoon, 18,303 Georgians suffering from coronavirus were hospitalized, including 3,354 patients in intensive care.

The number of confirmed cases in Georgia had risen to 182,286. The virus had killed 3,671 Georgians.

Grady Memorial Hospital will serve as the lead hospital for clinical oversight for the 120-bed facility at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Staff Writer Megan Broome and Capitol Beat News Service contributed to this article.