Bulloch County saw another 24 COVID-19 cases within 24 hours, with 723 reported Thursday, and top health officials say the pandemic would be slowed and perhaps stopped if only everyone would wear masks in public.
That message is being enforced with continued public distribution of free face masks in Statesboro and other Bulloch County cities, as well as the fact that more businesses are requiring masks be worn in their establishments, said Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn.
Locally, Walmart and CVS pharmacy have announced customers will be required to wear masks starting Monday.
The manager of Statesboro’s Walmart Supercenter declined to comment Thursday on whether the stores will offer masks to customers. A manager at Statesboro’s Walmart Neighborhood Market was not immediately reachable for comment Thursday.
In his daily report, Wynn quoted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield: “I do think if we could get everybody to wear masks right now – I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.”
Wynn strongly recommends wearing a mask “to protect others as well as yourself,” since a person can carry COVID-19 and not show any symptoms.
From Wednesday to Thursday afternoons, Georgia reported 3,441 new positive tests, 13 deaths and 244 more hospitalizations. In Bulloch County, the death toll remains at six, with 57 residents having been hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the 18 COVID-19 patients at East Georgia Regional Medical Center on Thursday, six were on ventilators, he said.
In the 24-hour period between 3 p.m. Wednesday and 3 p.m. Thursday, Bulloch County EMS transported one patient confirmed positive for the virus, as well as three “probable” cases, bringing the total transports since the beginning of the pandemic to 54 probable and 40 confirmed cases, Wynn said.
Anyone who wants a free COVID-19 test can now schedule one online at covid19.dph.ga.gov/ or by calling (855) 473-4374. The Specimen Point of Collection Center for Bulloch County is at the Bulloch County Health Department at 1 Altman St. in Statesboro.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.