COVID-19 cases in Cobb still below hospital capacity, testing increased

Janet Memark speaks at Healthy Start meeting used in article about questions on COVID-19 in Cobb CountyJanet Memark speaks at Healthy Start meeting (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

According to Dr. Janet Memark, the District Health Director of Cobb & Douglas Public Health, the hospital capacity in Cobb has not been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases at this time.

Memark has been a point person on the response to COVID-19 in Cobb County, and has advised the Cobb County Board of Commissioners on measures to take during the pandemic.

In an interview on the county’s CobbTV, she said, “A lot of the projections are showing that our peak is still a couple of weeks away for the State of Georgia.”

“I don’t have county-level information on that, but that’s kind of a guide to what we can expect, looking at our hospital volumes and things like that,” she said.

“For Cobb County I feel that we are more at a steady state right now.” she said. “We are staying below the hospital capacity, which has been very, very important.”

“It’s still been high, but below hospital capacity, and the number of cases are not rising as quickly as they were before,” she said. “So that shows that social distancing is really working.”

When will things be back to “normal”?

“Normal is a hard word to give a date on now,” Memark said. “I think we’re going to have a new normal as times progress.”

“So we really need a vaccine, which is still 12-18 months away to be able to go completely back to how we were before,” she said.

“Before that we’re probably going to have to take some baby steps, and be able to test as widely as we can.” she said. “But we’re still going to have to do some stuff to be careful.”

She said that masks, frequent hand-washing, and avoidance of close social contact in groups should continue until a vaccine is developed.

Testing at Jim Miller Park expanded

Cobb & Douglas Public Health is expanding the criteria for its drive-through COVID-19 testing at Jim Miller Park.

While the tests are still not available to the public at large, people with COVID-19 symptoms who meet the following criteria are now eligible for the tests:

  • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers
  • Persons residing in long-term care facilities or other group residential settings
  • Persons 65 years of age and older
  • Patients with underlying medical conditions
  • Household members or caregivers of any of the groups above 
  • Persons with close contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Persons with mild symptoms in communities experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations

The following people without symptoms are eligible as the supply of test kits allows:

  • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers that have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Residents of a long-term care facility or group residential setting experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19

According to a news release on the county website:

The testing is FREE, and we now have FASTER results.

Do you qualify for testing at Jim Miller Park?

To see if you qualify for COVID-19 testing, call your healthcare provider, a provider at a federally qualified healthcare center or call the Cobb & Douglas Public Health Call Center at 770-514-2300. It will be determined if a test is needed and then you will be scheduled. Testing is by appointment only.

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