The numbers on the Cobb & Douglas Public Health website for the community transmission of COVID-19 continue into alarming territory.
The 14-day case rate per 100,000 of population now stands at 527 in Cobb County, more than five times the 100 per 100,000 rate that represents high community transmission. Neighboring Douglas County fares even worse, and 604 cases per 100,000 of population.
This comes as no surprise to public health officials.
Statewide, the Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report for COVID-19 yesterday showed a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, with a steep spike in the 7-day average among children, particularly in the 10-17 year old age segment.
COVID-19 in the schools
As we reported earlier, the first weeks of school showed a steep rise in COVID-19 cases among students in the Cobb County School District.
The figures for the district are released every Friday, and the current number stands at 822 as reported by the school district Friday August 13.
Guidance from the state
Thus far not much acknowledgement of the growing crisis has come from the governor’s office or the Georgia Department of Public Health, and no change in policy direction has been indicated since the state turned COVID policy in the schools over to the local school districts.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s office issued a press release on August 4 about his appearance on Fox & Friends that contained the following quotes, one of which attacked and sowed doubt on the national public health agencies:
“Georgians have been dealing with this pandemic and the reopening of our economy and schools since this time last year – and we were one of the first states in the country to do that. We don’t need mandates to know what to do. We need to talk to people about getting vaccinated to protect themselves from the Delta variant and these other variants that are out there. We’re starting to see our vaccination rates go up.”
“These mandates haven’t worked, and it makes it worse when the federal government is not consistent. I’ve been consistent for 15 months. We’ve got mixed messages coming out of the White House, CDC, and NIH, and that’s why people don’t trust the government anymore when it comes to COVID guidance. Mandates don’t work. We need to trust people to do the right thing at the local level.”
The Georgia Department of Public Health has issued three press releases since August 3, each of them urging vaccination. Those press releases do acknowledge the rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, but indicate no change in policy direction to address the crisis.