Two confirmed cases of coronavirus appear in Georgia

Alexis Hampton and Sarah Smith

UPDATE: Georgia Southern Marketing and Communications Department urges students to stay up-to-date with current travel alerts from the U.S. State Department and the CDC in an email sent out this morning.

The email also lists some of the symptoms to look out for if you have recently traveled to China, including fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

For more information from the university, click here.

STATESBORO — Gov. Brian Kemp confirmed two cases of the coronavirus, COVID-19, in Fulton County, Georgia on Monday night at a news conference at the state capitol.

The two people have been quarantined in the same home with mild symptoms, and Gov. Kemp said that there is no threat to the public. It is notable that one of the people in the household had just returned from a trip to Italy.

There is a Coronavirus Task Force to assess Georgia’s preparedness for the virus, which Gov. Kemp briefed Monday night. The task force has sent out guidance to hospitals and medical providers to prepare for any necessary treatments.

“They are confident that our efforts to prepare for this moment have enabled us to manage these cases appropriately and minimize any risks moving forward,” Gov. Kemp said. “We remain in constant communication with our partners at all levels of government, and we will continue to update members of the public as information becomes available.”

Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, DPH commissioner, said that health professionals knew there would be cases in the state sooner or later and that they are well prepared for them. Toomey also ensured Georgians that there is no reason to panic, and people should follow procedures that the Georgia Department of Public Health has issued.

Symptoms of the virus may resemble those of the common cold or flu, according to the DPH website. Some ways to prevent infection are to:

  • Get a flu shot
  • Wash hands regularly for 20 seconds with soup and water
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then disgard tissue
  • Stay home when sick

“It is important to remember that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds and this type of stigma should be avoided,” according to the GDPH website.

Since its outbreak, the virus has swept the nation with over 90 thousand cases in 53 countries, according to the New York Times. There have been over 100 confirmed cases and six deaths in the United States as of March 2.

Student opinions

“I feel scared for the elderly population and the children but not as scared for my age group,” Rachel Stackhouse, a nutrition major, said.

“I’m worried for the elderly population and people in lower economic statuses, because they may not be able to afford medical care, and they just keep going about their daily lives infecting others without realizing it,” John Frady, an anthropology major, said.

“I feel like it could possibly be a threat, but not really. I’m not that scared,” Frederick Smith, an economics major, said.

“Is there anyone in Statesboro who has it? No? Oh, then I don’t care,” Folakemi Sipeolu, computer science major, said.

“In a way, it is concerning, but it also feels like a bit of a media scam. There have only been a few deaths. I feel like they’re blowing it out of proportion like they did Ebola,” Madison Barnes, a marketing major, said.

For more information on stigmas and ways to prevent infection, click here.

Alexis Hampton, The George-Anne News Reporter, [email protected]

Sarah Smith, News Managing Editor, [email protected]