'Case count reflects a snapshot of the past'

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As coronavirus continues to spread, public health officials are asking residents to look beyond the numbers that show the confirmed cases in each community and focus more on preventing the spread of the virus. Camden had four cases as of the noon update on Wednesday but those numbers are based on...

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As coronavirus continues to spread, public health officials are asking residents to look beyond the numbers that show the confirmed cases in each community and focus more on preventing the spread of the virus.

Camden had four cases as of the noon update on Wednesday but those numbers are based on when lab results come back positive days later, not on what may be happening now. 

“It's important to realize that the case count reflects a snapshot of the past. It can take up to a week or longer to get test results, so the numbers we see each day don't reflect our current reality,” Ginger Heidel, a risk communicator with the Coastal Health District, said in an update. “Also, some private providers may share test results with the public before those results are counted in the state database, which means the numbers don't always match right away.

“We realize this can be frustrating if you want a timely case count, and we wish all test results were available more quickly. But in the absence of widespread rapid testing, we encourage you to focus less on the exact numbers. The most important thing to understand is that the virus is here and we must all do our part to prevent further spread of illness.”

This time last week, the eight-county Coastal Health District was reporting 21 confirmed cases in seven counties, including one in Camden County. There are now 72 cases across all eight counties as of noon Wednesday, including 17 cases in Glynn County. Three people in Chatham and Bryan counties have died. Two were in their 80s, a third was 65 and they all had underlying medical conditions.

Locally, Southeast Georgia Health System has set up a free COVID-19 screening hotline at (912) 466-7222. The hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and staffed by nurses and advanced practice providers. Those who meet the criteria for in-person screening will be given an appointment and instructions for a virtual or in-person physical exam.

This week, officials also placed a 72-hour moratorium on hotels and other accommodations for travelers and set up checkpoints on Interstate 95 to stop non-residents from entering Camden. The moratorium was set to expire late Wednesday but the checkpoints will continue. Florida also began checking travelers Sunday morning on 95, looking for cars from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and asking travelers about where they were coming from and where they were going.

Camden will begin limiting the number of people allowed in big box stores this week and put a mandatory curfew into effect Monday, up from a voluntary curfew last week. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily until April 6 at the earliest and does not apply if you are traveling to or from work, seeking medical care, going to a pharmacy or getting food or fuel.