Bulloch County logged its second COVID-19 related death Saturday, with the number of positive cases rising to 30.
The second victim in Bulloch County to succumb to the disease was a 42-year-old woman “with underlying conditions,” said Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn. The first coronavirus-related death in Bulloch was that of a 65-year-old man.
The presence of the coronavirus in Bulloch County and surrounding areas is becoming more evident as further testing and reporting is conducted.
As of Friday, the Georgia Department of Health listed three more area nursing homes as having staff or residents testing positive for COVID-19. This is in addition to four others listed last week.
In a DPH report dated Friday, April 17, Westwood Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Statesboro, Pruitt Health in Swainsboro and Pleasantview Nursing Center in Metter were added to a list of long-term health facilities in Georgia where the coronavirus has made an appearance. According to a statement released on Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s website (gov.georgia.gov), the DPH will report a weekly list of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state on a weekly basis. (A complete list can be downloaded at https://dch.georgia.gov).
Also listed in the report were Syl-View Health Care Center in Sylvania and Orchard Manor in Pulaski. Those two facilities were also in the April 12 report from the Governor’s Office, along with Statesboro nursing homes Heritage Inn and Eagle Health Care.
The DPH report released Friday stated Westwood, with an occupancy of 43 residents, had one staff member test positive for the virus. Pleasantview, with 114 residents, also reported one staff member with COVID-19, as did Pruitt Health, which has a residency of 75.
Last week, Syl-View reported it had 69 residents, with three testing positive for the virus.
The April 12 report indicated Eagle Health and Heritage Inn each had one person at the facility with COVID-19 but did not list whether the positive cases were staff or residents.
National Guard offers help
Last week, the Georgia National Guard performed a deep disinfecting cleansing of Heritage Inn and is slated to do so at Eagle Health as well, both at the request of their parent company, Ethica Inc., Wynn said. The Guard did not announce their appearance at Heritage and have not said when they plan to perform the same service at Eagle, he said.
The service is available for all long-term care facilities and must be requested through county emergency management agencies.
The Bulloch County Emergency Management Agency’s Facebook page “bombed,” Wynn said. The page has been rebooted, and residents are encouraged to visit it, become familiar and keep up with the latest COVID-19 and other important news.
The page “crashed due to several issues such as foreign interference and new parameters from Facebook,” he said. “We believe going forward that these issues will not surface again.”
The link to the new page is https://www.facebook.com/bullochema/.
“Please … like and share so we can get back to over 10,000 followers soon,” he said.
Expanded testing continues at the specimen collection center at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds on Highway 67. Walk-ins are not accepted, but anyone with COVID-19 symptoms — dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, loss of sense of smell and taste — may obtain a referral number from a local health department or health care provider, he said. The center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
Wynn expressed concern that personal protective equipment for first responders is “getting in short supply,” but requests for restocking were made Monday.
As of noon Monday, Bulloch County EMS had not transported any COVID-19 confirmed or suspected positive patients since Friday, Wynn said. East Georgia Regional Medical Center “cared for five COVID-19 patients each day, Friday through Monday.”
“Numbers are holding steady. That is encouraging news,” he said. “It appears that deaths related to COVID-19 in Georgia may have peaked.”
As Monday evening, there were 19,399 positive coronavirus cases in Georgia, with 3,703 hospitalizations and 775 reported deaths.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.