White House coronavirus task force report shows Georgia improving, but state remains in Red Zone

White House coronavirus task force report shows Georgia improving, but state remains in Red Zone

ATLANTA — There are positive signs for Georgia in the latest White House coronavirus task force report obtained by Channel 2 Action News.

It states Georgia has seen stability in new cases and a decrease in people testing positive since last week. But Georgia remains in the Red Zone for cases per capita, with the 14th highest rate in the country.

Dr. Danny Branstetter, with Wellstar Health System, said he takes the good with the bad.

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“We have seen a positive trend downward,” Branstetter told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson. “We’re seeing fewer patients in our hospitals. That’s good. But we still see patients who are severely ill. So this does not mean that the virus is less, causing less of disease.”

The report shows Georgia with 113 new cases per 100,000 people last week. Three-quarters of Georgia counties have moderate-to-high levels of community spread. The positivity rate is down by 1.3%.

“That’s been encouraging to me,” said Kelley Krohnert.

She has been tracking the state data since May and analyzing it on COVID-Georgia.com. Krohnert told Johnson that there’s been a steady decline in a lot of areas over the past month and a half.

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“We look at the current hospitalizations. They’ve been going down. The number of people under investigation, as they call it, the PUIs, they fluctuate some but, generally, been trending down as well," Krohnert said.

College campuses remain a big concern in the task force report. It recommends state officials to “strengthen the detection of silent spread on campuses through routine testing.”

The task force report warns of students spreading the virus to communities off campus and hometowns.

“I care about it. So I’m just going to test it like maybe once a week or every other week,” University of Georgia student Janerika Owens said.

Last week, UGA announced a 70% drop in cases on campus.

Owens said she feels safe on campus but still worries about asymptomatic students.

“I have parents that I want to see. I don’t want to bring it back to them because their immune system may not be as strong as mine,” Owens said.

Doctors said by the end of the week, they’ll know if there will be a spike in COVID-19 cases because of Labor Day celebrations.

Before then, the task force recommends Georgia officials cut hours at bars and restaurants in counties with universities.

Doctors said whatever the numbers are now, an upcoming and unknown flu season can change everything.

“It really is going to depend on the efforts we do to prevent the spread of viruses,” Branstetter said.

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