Chatham County Commission gets update on COVID-19 cases, testing from Coastal Health District director

Chatham County Commission gets update on COVID-19 cases, testing from Coastal Health District director

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Commissioners are getting the latest on coronavirus numbers, testing and preventative measures from the leader of the Coastal Health District at today’s commission meeting.

Coastal Health District Director Dr. Lawton Davis reminded County Commissioners the local approach to COVID-19 is a marathon not a sprint as he went over the latest numbers of cases in the County.

Dr. Davis began with a few general comments about COVID-19 in the community, noting the recent increase in reported cases in the Health District.

“Part of this is due to the fact that the demand for testing has increased dramatically,” said Davis.

Dr. Davis explained just in public health, they’ve set records two of the last four days in the number of specimens collected for testing.

He said, “Part of that is, the reason for the increased demand is that many of the businesses in the community are asking their employees to be tested before they come back to work.”

Davis believes the other reason is the fact that the number of reported cases is climbing, leading to more people feeling like they could’ve been exposed, and going to get tested.

“In addition to the increased demand for testing, we are also seeing an increase in the percentage of tests that come back positive. So the increasing numbers is not simply related to the fact that we’re testing more,” Davis said.

Davis also pointed out the average age of COVID-19-positive patients is getting younger, and the symptoms less severe.

“Although I must caution here that in the past week we are seeing a little uptick in hospitalizations again. It doesn’t seem that the severity of the illness overall is as great as it was early on. I can’t explain that.”

Commissioner Chester Ellis asked about test kit availability, and Dr. Davis assures Commission there are enough to go around to various testing sites.

And to finish his remarks, Dr. Davis was asked what advice he would give to those in the health district to protect themselves.

“To steal from Dr. Fauci, who I think it was yesterday, said Plan A, don’t go in crowds. Plan B, if you do, wear a mask. And if everybody would do that then we would reduce the number of infections and transmissions greatly.”

Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott said during today’s briefing that as long as Governor Brian Kemp’s executive order remains in place, that he will not consider making masks mandatory in Chatham County.

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