Southwest district of the Dept. of Public Health seeing higher COVID-19 cases in eastern part of district

Southwest district of the Dept. of Public Health seeing higher COVID-19 cases in eastern part of district

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Southwest Health District has given us a glimpse of where COVID-19 cases are hitting the hardest in Southwest Georgia and why.

Dr. Charles Ruis, the Southwest Health District director, said they are seeing a number of positive cases in the eastern portion of the district’s coverage area.

Dr. Charles Ruis
Dr. Charles Ruis (Source: WALB)

That includes Dougherty, Worth, Thomas, Grady and Colquitt counties.

“The numbers are higher than they were back two months ago in early May,” said Ruis.

Ruis said Dougherty County was enjoying “good” COVID-19 numbers through mid-June.

He believes a combination of things is causing the higher numbers. One of them is that people are being more active in the community and spending less time at home. He said he also believes some people are not following the medical guidelines, especially some people who are sick and know it.

“People who are sick, who know they’re sick are supposed to stay home and while most people are complying with that, some are not and I know this because public health investigates every case of COVID-19,” said Ruis.

Ruis also said they are seeing a similar situation from people who are supposed to be quarantined at home. He said people are not wearing masks enough, especially when social distancing is not taking place.

“I think is why, primarily why, we’re seeing what we’re seeing,” said Dr. Ruis.

In June, Ruis said that the agriculture industry in Southwest Georgia had some COVID-19 cases. A month later, he said the Colquitt County Ag community may have hit its peak in cases as the spring crop cycle came to an end.

Ruis said he’s been in contact with farmers to learn what’s going on in the fields.

“So, it looks like there may be an improvement in the social distancing in that community. They still have a problem in Colquitt County with COVID-19, for sure, but it may be that they’re getting close to seeing the worst of it if they haven’t already seen it,” said Ruis.

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