Local COVID-19 cases continue to climb


Third death in Rabun County attributed to COVID-19

  • COVID-19 Update
    COVID-19 Update

CLAYTON—The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rabun County stood at 33 as of Wednesday morning, an increase of 10 cases since June 4, according to the Georgia Dept. of Public Health (GDPH).

An additional death due to COVID-19 was also confirmed in Rabun in the past week.

The victim was identified as a 37-year old female with no prior medical conditions, according to GDPH.

Privacy laws prohibit disclosing individual patient data without the consent of the person or their family.

The latest numbers show three deaths due to COVID-19 in Rabun County. Previously reported victims were a 68-year old female and an 82-year old male. Both had pre-existing medical conditions, according to GDPH data.

Despite the increase, Rabun County continues to report fewer cases of COVID-19 than surrounding counties, with 194.3 cases per 100,000 population

According to the GDPH, as of Wednesday:

-Towns County had 35 cases, one death and 290.8 cases per 100,000 population

-Habersham County had 600 cases, with 31 deaths and 1,310 cases per 100,000 population

-Stephens County had 158 cases, with six deaths and 600 cases per 100,000 population

In neighboring Macon County, N.C., The Franklin Press reported Wednesday that the number of COVID-19 cases there continues to climb, as the health department identified a third cluster in Macon County.

On June 12, Macon County Public Health (MCPH) reported that a third cluster of six cases was identified at Franklin-based Wind River Construction, the newspaper said.

The N.C. Department of Health defines a cluster as a minimum of five cases testing positive within a 14-day period, with plausible linkage among the cases.

The six employees of Wind River have been issued isolation orders, according to the health department, the newspaper reported.

“All additional employees are aware of their exposure, and are currently being contacted for testing,” the health department said in a release. “All employees who are awaiting test results have also been given instructions to quarantine until they receive a negative test result; those who test positive will be given isolation orders for 14 days or until they receive two negative COVID-19 tests within a 24-48-hour period.”

As of Monday, June 15, Macon County Public Health reported 230 total cases, including 18 recovered and one death. There were 211 active positive cases.

In Georgia, residents have been able to receive a free COVID-19 test for several weeks, but the service in not currently available in Rabun County.

The Rabun County Health Department can schedule a free COVID-19 test for anyone who requests it by calling (706) 212-0289.

COVID-19 tests are not always accurate, however.

Habersham County resident Jeff Spivey said recently he received a false positive result from a test taken at a private health care facility in Rabun County.

Because he works in the poultry business, Spivey said he was concerned about exposure, and wanted to make sure he had not come into contact with the disease.

He was given a serology test, which “involved a pin prick and a drop of blood,” Spivey said. “The nurse said ‘you’re positive’,” he recalled. “I was shocked.”

Spivey asked to see the test result, as he was familiar with it because similar tests are performed in the poultry industry.

“I could not see a line,” Spivey said, referring to a test indicator. 

Spivey said he contacted several friends in the health care field who agreed they did not interpret the test results as being positive for COVID-19.

Additional testing showed he was negative for the disease, he added.

Spivey said he did not receive proper counseling when his first test came back positive.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I was never advised to quarantine for 14 days. “(The nurse) gave me a brochure and a mask and asked me to be on my way.”

A total of 747,348 COVID-19 tests have been done in Georgia as of Wednesday, according to GDPH.

They report 2,529 deaths due to COVID-19 statewide.