Coronavirus, Health

Fulton Health Director Reports Progress On Testing As Numbers Continue To Climb

Deaths from Georgia's summer spike remain elevated, having averaged 68 over the seven days ending Friday. COVID-19 deaths often follow an extended illness and may not be recorded for weeks after they occur.
Deaths from Georgia's summer spike remain elevated, having averaged 68 over the seven days ending Friday. COVID-19 deaths often follow an extended illness and may not be recorded for weeks after they occur.
Credit Ted S. Warren / Associated Press file
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Georgia’s coronavirus numbers continue to show a pandemic that’s still going strong across the state.

With the seven-day average being down from just one week ago, state officials have confirmed another 2,400 cases of the coronavirus on Monday.

Active hospitalizations remain mostly steady at just over 2,800. With about 24 of those patients, receiving care at a pop-up hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Georgia trails California, Florida, Texas, and New York when it comes to the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In recent weeks, testing sites in Fulton County have been bogged down with an onslaught of people wanting to know their status.

And that problem became even more complicated when labs weren’t turning around the results fast enough.

Fulton County’s Director of Board of Health, Lynn Paxton , MD, spoke to WABE’s host of “Morning Edition,” Lisa Rayam to say things have changed.

Fulton County Board of Health Director, Dr. Lynn Paxton. (Photo courtesy of Lynn Paxton)

Dr. Paxton reports progress even as the infection rate throughout Georgia continues to climb.

“We took a number of steps to deal with it. So now we are actually back to normal in terms of our turnaround times and the like. It’s a lot faster to get appointments for example. We now have a system to go online and make their own appointments. For those that do call in, we’ve added more telephone lines. The wait time is much less than before,” Paxton said. “The lab turnaround time is usually 2-3 days.”

Contact tracing is done by telephone. Dr. Paxton said people who have tested positive are notified over the telephone as well as other means.

“We ask how are they doing and ask who they have been in contact with. If the person that we are trying to get into contact with gave the wrong phone number, that’s an issue. We do keep trying. We have a campaign on YouTube that gives patients instructions.”

Looking at the big picture, Dr. Paxton says, Georgia is still reporting a large number of COVID-19 cases every day. In terms of the numbers, “We still have a long way to go,” Paxton concluded.

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