11 of Fayette’s 24 schools now mandate masks; Georgia cases surpass million mark

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Statewide dats from hospitals and medical facilities show that almost 23% of all hospitalized patients are Covid-positive. Another 2.5% are being checks for Covid. That brings the Covid-related hospital patients to 1 out of every 4 patients. Aug. 17 graphic/Ga. DPH.
Statewide data from hospitals and medical facilities show that almost 23% of all hospitalized patients are Covid-positive. Another 2.5% are being checked for Covid. That brings the Covid-related hospital patients to 1 out of every 4 patients. Aug. 17 graphic/Ga. DPH.

With rising Covid cases in Fayette County classrooms,  11 of the system’s 24 schools are requiring face coverings for students, staff and visitors for a 10-day period, according to the system’s public information chief, Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.

That comes as the state of Georgia passes a milestone: just over 1 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 since March 2020. With the 18,283 cases added from Friday to today (Aug. 17), just under 10% of the state’s population has been infected in the nearly 18 months of the pandemic.

The schools ordered to mask up and the start and end dates of the mask mandates are as follows:

• McIntosh High and Flat Rock Middle — Aug. 12-25

• Spring Hill Elementary, Huddleston Elementary, Crabapple Lane Elementary, Kedron Elementary, Robert J. Burch Elementary, and Bennett’s Mill Middle — Aug. 16-27.

Cleveland Elementary, Inman Elementary, and Sara Harp Minter Elementary — Aug. 17-30.

Here’s what parents of students at Inman Elementary were told in an email Aug. 16:

“FCBOE: August 16, 2021 Dear Parents/Guardians: Our Covid-19 Task Force has been closely monitoring case counts at all of our schools.

“As stated in previous messages, we will take action and adjust our protocols as needed at individual schools to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.

“Due to the increasing number of positive Covid-19 cases at Inman Elementary School, face coverings are mandated for the next 10 school days, August 17-30, for all students, staff, and visitors.

“The school will have face coverings available in the front office for anyone who needs them. This mandate is for Inman Elementary School only, and does not impact other schools at this time.

“This action is one step we are taking to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 at Inman Elementary School. However, we need your help as well. Please help us by following these guidelines:

“Screen your children in the mornings for cold-like symptoms. Keep children who are experiencing cold-like symptoms, or are sick, at home. Continue to stress to your children the importance of frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitizing throughout the school day; especially, before and after they eat, and after restroom breaks.

“With your cooperation, our students can stay in school, and continue receiving face-to-face instruction with their teachers. We appreciate your support of our school system and Inman Elementary School. Sincerely, Fayette County Public Schools”

Meanwhile across Fayette County, case numbers are also rising: 155 new test-confirmed cases since Friday, and 430 cases in the past 2 weeks, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Case numbers in Fayette, as shown in the chart below, have exceeded the summer 2020 surge and are approaching the largest surge from December 2020 into February 2021.

Fayette’s low 2-week percentage of positive tests has now been eclipsed by Jefferson County in eastern Georgia. Fayette has risen to 4.0%, while Jefferson is now lowest in the state at 3.3%, DPH reported. For comparison, neighboring Coweta has popped up to a 2-week rate of 21.8%, while the statewide total is 16.6%.

Covid-caused deaths — a trailing statistic — has risen slowly: 333 since the beginning of August for the entire state, 2 fatalities in Fayette.

The numbers as of Aug. 17 (since pandemic beginning):

• Georgia cases: 1,000,872

• Fayette cases: 7,518

• Statewide deaths: 19,044

• Fayette deaths: 164

• Georgia hospitalizations: 69,367

• Fayette residents hospitalized: 340

• Fayette residents with at least one vaccination dose: 66,822 (60%)

• Fayette residents fully vaccinated: 60,168 (54%)

BELOW, DPH chart shows Covid cases over time in Fayette County:

BELOW, DPH chart shows Covid over time in the state of Georgia:

19 COMMENTS

  1. MASKS or NO MASKS? This has become a divisive issue and frankly, I can see both sides of the argument. Much appreciation to the Fayette County officials who make the tough decisions that will be both widely praised and widely criticized — but never unilaterally appreciated.

  2. “Requiring face coverings” is about as ineffectual a statement as can be made, and yet another reason why government cannot be trusted as stewards of your health. Nothing less than a properly fitted K/N-95 mask (preferably one tested by the CDC/EPA and listed on their website) that stays over the nose and mouth all day long is effective at preventing transmission. These dollar store procedure masks and home-made-from-a-t-shirt face coverings are apotropaic at best even when worn properly. And children cannot be counted on to wear them properly.

    The school system needs to go full virtual right now, or this will only get worse.

    • I disagree. The school system should remain open. Let us ask ourselves, why should children be forced to wear masks? Who is at risk for the COVID delta variant?

      1. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children” (Children and COVID-19, State Level Data Report, August 16, 2021).

      2. According to Yale Medicine, which cites the CDC, “virtually all hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated [according to the CDC] (5 Things to Know About the Delta Variant, August 13, 2021)

      3. It is worth mentioning the “unvaccinated” from statement #2 refers to unvaccinated adults, not children.

      So kids very uncommonly contract severe illness, and the most at-risk population is unvaccinated adults. My solution: all eligible individuals receive the vaccination. If an eligible person opts out, or is unable to receive the vaccination due to other medical/religious issues, then that person wears a mask and/or accepts the risk of not being vaccinated. You DO NOT make me or my kids wear a mask because someone else chooses not to be vaccinated, and you do not shut down the schools to protect unvaccinated faculty/staff.

      • Your #2 is not a logical argument. Of course the hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated, because what they’re NOT telling us is that they are accounting for all hospitalizations and deaths from the beginning when a vaccine wasn’t even out yet. So yeah, while the statement “hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated” is an accurate statement, it is totally taken out of context and is misleading for anyone who doesn’t do their own research.

        Why are they having to push this vaccine so hard? Why are they having to bribe people with ball game tickets, lottery winnings, scholarships? Why aren’t people just lined up out the door ready to get this so-called vaccine? It’s because, thankfully, there are still a lot of smart people out there that use common sense and research all sides of this. Not just the ones being fed to us from the CDC and the White House. There’s got to be something wrong with it.

        And what’s with your comment “you do not shut down the schools to protect unvaccinated faculty/staff.” That’s a bit harsh. Wow…. here comes the masked vs. unmasked / vaccinated vs. unvaccinated civil war that’s been being pushed on us for several months.

        • Wow. #2 isn’t a logical argument? So you realize the hospitalization and death statistics in #2 are specifically related to the delta variant, correct? I didn’t take the data one bit out of context. Last I checked, the delta variant developed after the vaccine was mass produced/disseminated…nice try. Did you bother referencing the source before you refuted it?

          And my comment “you do not shut down the schools to protect unvaccinated faculty/staff” isn’t a bit harsh. I’ll tell you what is harsh. Abridging the freedom and liberties of my family because other people decide to not get vaccinated. If certain people don’t want to get the vaccine, that’s fine, it’s their right to choose. They assume the risk, and they can wear masks all day long. My family and I, however, will live life normally because we are vaccinated and not at risk for serious illness.

          • Yikes…. better get back out there and do some more research on the SERIOUS side effects coming from the breakthrough infections. Don’t count your chickens yet. Hopefully you and your family do remain well and unharmed by any of these side effects. But don’t put your head in the sand just yet. A “vaccination” isn’t a get out of jail free card. It’s happening EVERYWHERE right now. Maybe give Dr. Joseph Mercola a chance. He’s very good at explaining things. And he’s not the super-spreader the government paints him out to be….

            Agree to disagree, I guess. I’ll remain unvaccinated. And if they tell me to wear a mask, I’ll wear a mask. It’s not fun. But I’ll take my chances with Covid before I get the vaccine.

        • You are wrong. People aren’t lined up to get the vaccine because of their ignorance and arrogance. There is no reasonable argument against vaccination for COVID-19. These vaccines are safe, effective, and free.

          • Nobody actually knows if they’re safe. None of the vaccines have been through full safety testing, which is why they’re only approved under Emergency Use Authorization. Moreover, the RNA vaccines are the first of their kind ever deployed, and they have none of the longitudinal data that justifies claims of safety or efficacy that other vaccines are able to point to. There are still significant concerns about RNA vaccines and their long term effects. And these aren’t coming from anti-vaxxers – they’re coming from the man who invented the RNA vaccine.

            news[dot]yahoo[dot]com/single-most-qualified-mrna-expert-173600060.html

            And they’re not free. The US Government paid $39.5Bn to big pharma to produce these vaccines. That works out to $594.29 for each of the 66.5 million doses administered. If you’re uninsured and not eligible for free COVID shots through the government, your out-of-pocket cost will be between $35 and $54.

            www[dot]healthaffairs[dot]org/do/10.1377/hblog20210512.191448/full/

            You clearly don’t have command of the facts where this issue is concerned, so you really should reserve your judgement to yourself.

    • As inconvenient as it would be for a lot of families to turn their entire work schedules upside down for their kids to be home virtually learning, I think it is necessary also. These masks are not working, for the very reasons you listed!

      • I agree, masks appear to be less effective against the delta variant. But kids aren’t getting seriously ill. And the vaccinated population isn’t getting seriously ill. Statistics demonstrate only the unvaccinated are at elevated risk for serious illness/death due to the Delta variant.

        Do not tread on my rights and freedoms because other people chose not to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated? You assume a higher health risk and you probably need to mask up. That’s your problem, not mine. Me, well, I’m vaccinated and my liberties WILL NOT BE TREAD ON because of someone else’s decision (or lack thereof).