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Coronavirus case count growing

Lamar County had four confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of noon Monday, according to the Georgia Department of Public health (DPH).There were no reported deaths in the community from coronavirus at that time. There was confusion last week with the local case count. Lamar was listed at three cases all last week but that count dropped to two over the weekend. It turns out the third case was listed in error, dropping our number to two. ‘We have double checked the numbers and there was a duplicate in the system. Once the duplicate was removed, the Lamar County number dropped back to two,’ DPH spokesperson Hayla Folden said Monday. That figure doubled to four between 7 p.m. Sunday and noon Monday. Folden also gave some clarification on how the case count is compiled. ‘If there is a death, the case count number will not reduce. It will show the same number of positives plus a death. The number will also not reduce if people recover,’ Folden added. Lamar’s first two possible cases were students at Gordon State College who were exposed elsewhere. As of Monday, the latest DPH information on them was that one tested negative and the other was showing no symptoms. It is unclear if they are included in Lamar’s count of four as of Monday. Businesses are largely shut down. Grocery stores are operating but disruptions along their supply chains make it difficult for them to know what items they will receive and in what quantities they will receive them. Downtown Barnesville looked like a ghost town much of last week with virtually every store front shuttered. Virtually every facet of life is impacted. Here is a summary. Lamar County: ’We are emphasizing social distancing. The longer we can keep it away from here the better,’ commission chairman Charles Glass said. He noted a statistic which indicated Lamar’s approximately 19,000 citizens could require nearly 2400 hospital beds, according to worldwide trends. ‘Obviously, we don’t have those beds,’ Glass said. Barnesville: Public works employees have been separated into two crews and are providing only essential services and performing critical tasks. ‘Most all of our businesses have shut down. We are really proud of them,’ city manager David Rose said. The city hall drive-through window remains open and personnel can be reached by phone at 770.358.0181. Milner: City hall is closed but personnel there are available by phone from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Call 770.358.1604. Courts: Superior court, accountability court, parental accountability court and juvenile court have canceled all criminal and civil hearings through the end of April. Civil and criminal trials are canceled through the end of May. Schools: Lamar County schools will now be closed through April 30. The original school calendar called for classes to end May 22. It is growing less and less likely that students will return to classes this school year. Parents are advised to hold onto to student learning packets and Pre-K admission packets until restrictions are lifted to avoid the spread of coronavirus. ‘At the moment, having thousands of students return packets of paper to a team of teachers dramatically increases exposure for all. We are having students keep their packets for now. We will aim to clarify this in in our communications going forward,’ superintendent Jute Wilson said.  Churches: Live worship services have almost universally been discontinued. Churches are turning to video applications to live stream services to congregations. Hospitals: Spalding Regional and Upson Regional are operating but there are restrictions in place. Visiting hours have been cut short and entrances are being altered. Those entering hospitals are screened for COVID-19. Many elective surgical procedures have been postponed. Call before visiting for the latest information. Voting: The elections board office is open by appointment only. Absentee ballot and voter registration applications are still being accepted for the May 19 presidential preference/general primary. Early voting is set to begin on April 27, barring further restrictions. Call 770.358.5235 for information. Law enforcement: The sheriff’s office and police departments in Barnesville and Milner reported no issues due to the pandemic as of Monday. Library: The Barnesville library remains closed through the end of April. (Note: This story was compiled at noon Monday, March 30. Data changes twice a day. Updates are found in the Top Stories and COVID-19 sections of above.)

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