ALBANY, Ga. — The Southwest Public Health District wants to remind residents that COVID-19 is still active throughout this region, and new cases continue to be diagnosed every day.
With the return of the school year and high school sports, many football teams have been required to quarantine following positive tests among players and coaches, said Dr. Charles Ruis, district health director for the Southwest Health District. Most recently, players in the Pelham City and Early County School Systems were informed of the need to quarantine through Sept. 25 following a game between the two high schools in which a COVID-positive player participated.
“We’re not doing this to make people feel badly about themselves,” Ruis said. “We just want to remind the community that the COVID pandemic has not ended. We all need to practice good hygiene, practice social distancing, wear masks or facial coverings when we can’t stay six feet apart, and stay home if we have COVID-related symptoms.”
Of utmost importance is the case investigation and contact tracing procedures that public health staff conduct following a positive test. Ruis implores Southwest Georgia residents to answer their phones even when they don’t recognize the number as it might be a public health official informing them of exposure to a person who tested positive. Typically, staff from both public health and the affected school system work together to notify individuals of potential exposure and to make informed decisions for the health and safety of the schools and the community, he said.
“Our job is to investigate positive cases to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community. We want everyone to be safe and healthy, that means following isolation and quarantine guidelines, and reporting suspected and positive cases to public health,” said Jacqueline Jenkins, epidemiologist, Southwest Public Health District.