Elected leaders, residents react to Hancock County’s soaring COVID-19 cases

SPARTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The COVID-19 cases in Hancock County soar the top ten list of most impacted counties in Georgia. Sparta community members say they’re doing all they can to prevent more spreading of the virus.

“It’s devastating to hear because its such a small community,” said Keyonna Clark, a hairstylist at Prince’s Barbershop. “But there’s only so much we can take. But here we are strong, we have faith my motto is faith over fear.”

With about 8,400 residents in Hancock County, they have 118 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 10 deaths as of Friday afternoon, which based off per capita. This makes the county to the 8th most impacted county in the state — according to the Georgia Department of Health’s website.

Sparta mayor Allen Haywood says about ten days ago, residents received more access to testing which caused case numbers to rise.

“I think majority of our positive cases are in a couple of hot spots,” Haywood said. “Other than that, people are doing a pretty good job.”

He says two nursing homes — Providence Health Care Sparta and Sparta Health & Rehabilitation — have a lot of cases. There are 54 residents at Providence where two patients and five staff members tested positive.

Out of 54 residents at Sparta Health, 39 patients tested positive and nine have died.

Haywood encourages everyone to keep practicing good health hygiene.

“Keep social distancing. When you go to the grocery store, they’ve done a great job of spreading people out same thing goes for the pharmacy. They’re letting only four people in at a time and they’re in one door and out the other. Everyone has masks on,” Haywood said.

In an email from Sparta Health, it states: 

Our staff continues to work around the clock to provide compassionate care for our patients in the midst of this national health crisis. Sparta Health & Rehabilitation continues to follow CDC guidance as CDC updates their guidance based on new information learned about the virus.

Sparta Health & Rehabilitation has implemented numerous measures to help protect the health of our patients and our staff, including:

  • Restricting non-essential visitation
  • Reinforcing CDC guidelines for hand hygiene and environmental cleanliness
  • Reviewing infection control policies and action plans with staff
  • Screening health care workers prior to reporting for duty and not permitting staff with respiratory symptoms to work
  • Suspending group activities and communal dining to support social distancing

Given the recent and rapid spread of Coronavirus across the nation and state, and the vulnerability of the population we serve, we have been and will continue to be in communication with our Medical Director, as well as with the local and state health departments for guidance regarding patients who have an acute respiratory illness.

Additionally, as part of Sparta Health & Rehabilitation’s transparency regarding the Center’s COVID-19 status, the Center’s information is available at http://www.spartahealthrehabilitation.org/.

Providence sent this statement: 

“Resident safety is a top priority for us at Providence of Sparta Health & Rehab.  We are doing everything we can to ensure we stop the spread of this within our facility. We are in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps at this time. Our staff and residents are following the recommended preventative actions, we have restricted visitors from entering our facility, and cancelled all group activities within the building until the virus has been eradicated.  We encourage family members to continue to interact with their loved ones by using video chat, calling, or texting.”

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections’ website, Hancock County Prison has two confirmed cases.

Categories: Featured, Hancock County, Local News

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