In less than two weeks, the number of Bulloch County residents testing positive
for COVID-19 has almost tripled, with the count reaching 14 Thursday. Seven
patients testing positive for the coronavirus were being treated at East
Georgia Regional Medical Center, according to Ted Wynn, director of the Bulloch
County Public Safety and Emergency Management Agency.
The Bulloch County Emergency Medical Service “transported five COVID-19 positive patients in the last three days utilizing PPEs (personal protective equipment) and protocol to decontaminate” the ambulances, he said in a statement released Thursday.
Like all other counties, Bulloch is concerned with the availability of safety equipment and supplies to protect EMTs and health care workers, he said.
Obtaining PPE “continues to be a challenge to procure in light of uncertainty in length of (the) pandemic,” he said, adding that he and other county officials are working with the state in further measures to protect first responders.
Hopefully, the state will allow 911 centers to “obtain (the) address(es) of COVID-19 positive individuals to allow first responders to be informed,” he said.
This does not mean a COVID-19 patient’s identity or other personal medical information will be released publicly, he said.
As Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-at-home order moves into its third week, expected to expire April 30, the state’s state of emergency is extended until May 13. In keeping with the governor’s mandate, all county and city offices are closed to the public, businesses ruled “non-essential” are temporarily shuttered, and law enforcement officers are patrolling those businesses that are open to check for compliance, making sure there are no gatherings of more than 10 people and that residents are observing social distancing by staying 6 feet apart, he said.
Anyone witnessing a violation of the state mandate is asked to contact the Georgia State Patrol (912-688-6999), the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office (912-764-8888) or the Statesboro Police Department (912-764-9911.)
“Do not call 911,” he said.
Bulloch County VOAD (Volunteer Organization Active
in Disaster) and other entities continue to work to meet the community’s needs,
and Bulloch County Schools “continues to support at-risk youth with over 5,000 meals daily,”
Those meals consist of bags containing two meals each — breakfast and lunch — and serve around 2,500 children in the community, according to Hayley Greene, public relations and marketing director for Bulloch County Schools.
The Department of Public Health Specimen Point of Collection located at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds on Highway 67 remains operational for referrals only. People must have an identification number issued by the Department of Public Health or a health professional in order to be tested; walk-ins are not tested.
As of Thursday evening, Georgia had 10,885 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,298 hospitalized and 412 deaths. There have been no COVID-related deaths reported in Bulloch County.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.