MOULTRIE, Ga. -- Colquitt County may be on the mend from COVID-19, but that’s no reason to get lax on its prevention methods.
Positive case numbers skyrocketed in May, and saw something between stagnation and slight increases throughout the June-July period.
It was revealed that Colquitt County’s agricultural/migrant farmer population getting tested was the reason why. Dr. Charles Ruis, Department of Public Health Southwest District health director, said they were able to track the averages during that period too.
“The number of new cases were averaging around 30 everyday, of course some days higher than that,” Ruis said. “In July, they remained pretty high the first week or two.”
But around the middle of July, the DPH saw a sustaining trend: the average was decreasing. It decreased so much that in the past 10 days -- this interview took place on Aug. 3, so it’d be the last seven days of July and the first three of August -- the average decreased to a little under 10 cases a day.
If the trend continues, Ruis said, Colquitt County will be in a much better place. The future is still a bit unpredictable, so this isn’t the time to stop taking prevention and protection seriously, he said.
“Citizens of the county have an awful lot of their destiny in their hands based on their choices and their actions,” he said. “If people make good choices, there’s a good chance we’ll continue to see improvement.”
There’s nothing different in that department. You’ve still got to maintain social distancing, washing hands often, and, as always, if you’re sick stay home.
That would lead to a “tremendous reduction in spread,” Ruis said.
“Most of the time when we’re investigating cases of COVID, we’re learning that a person attended a function where there was somebody sick,” he said. “We believe it can be spread before a person becomes symptomatic and that’s the reason why we strongly emphasize the mask.”
The DPH recognizes the desire for social interaction whether it be spending time with family or friends or going to an event, but the risks must be considered should anyone do this, especially if the aforementioned rules haven’t been followed.
Ruis said people really need to wear masks, but an important part of that is knowing which mask to wear.
N-95 masks are not intended for the public, he said. They are intended for those taking care of someone with COVID-19 -- basically healthcare providers.
Surgical masks are intended for the public as long as the supply is not compromised for healthcare providers.
“Nowadays, surgical masks are fairly easy to come by,” Ruis said. “If a surgical mask is not available then a simple cloth mask can be used.”
The aim of the N-95 is to protect the one wearing it while the aim of the surgical mask is to protect the community from the one who is wearing it.
“For the average person going around in the community, a mask or a face covering may help protect that person if they’re not sick, but our main objective is to protect the community from that person,” Ruis said. “If we’re sick and don’t know it, it will help to contain the virus and help to avoid spreading it.”
And that’s what they want the public to continue thinking, especially since Colquitt County is on a downward trend.