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Virus on the wane? Sheriff monitoring nine residences

With the first really warm Spring weather moving in over the weekend, people were out and about enjoying life. Some wore masks. Many did not. It was so nice, many seemed to forget about COVID-19 for awhile. The question is, however, has COVID-19 forgotten us? One can make the argument coronavirus is on the wane here. As of Monday, sheriff Brad White and his staff had only nine residences indicating a positive case in the 911 system. That number, provided by GEMA, dropped by five over the past week. One death which had been attributed to Lamar last week was removed from the count because it was determined the victim did not actually live here. Lamar’s first confirmed case was reported Monday, March 16. Two weeks later we were at three cases. For the next three Mondays the counts were 15, 18 and 27. Over the last two weeks, the DPH number had grown to 40. Those numbers are cumulative. DPH does not report recoveries. Testing has been limited here. As more testing is done, more positive cases will be added. Merging GEMA’s numbers with those from DPH, indicates 40 confirmed cases, one death, 29 recoveries and nine cases still active. One downtown business, a coffee shop, has closed for good. Other businesses are slowly coming back to life and no problems have been reported. Barber shops and salons which have opened are doing land office business by all accounts. Barnesville’s city hall lobby reopened Friday. City manager David Rose said social distancing rules were in effect and there had been no issues there. Dine-in restaurants remain largely shut down though one Mexican establishment did open with safeguards in place. Probate court, magistrate court and the superior court clerk’s office remain open by appointment but court hearings and trials are a long way off. On Monday, chief justice Harold D. Melton extended his statewide judicial emergency which was to expire May 13 to June 12. When superior court sessions do resume there will be considerable backlog though Towaliga circuit district attorney Jonathan Adams and his staff have been able to dispose of a few cases during the interim by pre-trial diversion and dismissals where evidence was lacking. ‘I expect we would have cleared 50 or more additional cases during this period if court had not been closed down,’ Adams said. Judges in the circuit were to begin experimenting with video hearings this week to see how they work out.

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