WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic and urges steps to curtail the spread of the viral disease

The World Health Organization officially upgraded the COVID-19 viral disease to a pandemic on Wednesday and urged countries to take whatever steps necessary to curtail the spread of this viral disease. COVID-19 has now spread to 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people. This is the first time a coronavirus has reached pandemic proportions, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The United States, along with seven other countries, are now reporting more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 and 120,000 people worldwide.

A group of 34 Georgians who were aboard the Grand Princess that docked at Oakland in California after 21 people on the cruise tested positive for COVID-19 were transferred to quarantine at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta early this morning.

On Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released the latest information of confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Georgia. He also advised that the first confirmed COVID-19 patient has been transferred to Hard Labor State Park for isolation. All but one individual (Fulton) are hospitalized. One of the Cobb presumptive positives has a travel history outside of the country. The sources of the other infections are unknown. There were six confirmed cases and 16 presumptive cases, broken down as follows.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases (Total: 6)

Fulton County: 3
Floyd County: 1
Polk County: 1
Cobb County: 1

Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Cases (Total: 16)

Fulton County: 3
Cobb County: 6
Fayette County: 1
DeKalb County: 2
Gwinnett County: 2
Cherokee County: 1
Charlton County: 1

The overall risk of COVID-19 to the general public remains low, although elderly people and individuals with chronic medical conditions may have increased risk. Based on cases already identified, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta gave the following mortality rate statistics of COVID-19 when compared to the flu. Although there are far less cases of COVID-19, the mortality rate, especially for older individuals or those with underlying conditions, is significantly higher making it essential to stop the spread as much as possible.

The Governor urged all Georgias to follow basic prevention measures:

▪ Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
▪ If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
▪ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
▪ Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
▪ Stay home when you are sick.
▪ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
▪ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 and you develop fever with cough and shortness of breath within fourteen days of your travel, or if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms.

For information about COVID-19, visit dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.

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