Albany, Dougherty Co. leaders plea with public to stay home this holiday weekend

Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 6:31 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County’s COVID-19 Task Force is urging the Albany community to reconsider New Year’s Eve plans involving going out with others.

Especially after it was announced that Albany Mayor Bo Dorough is in quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure.

“It appears as we continue to move forward with COVID-19 that either we know someone that has been affected by COVID-19 in some way, or lost someone that we know due to COVID-19. COVID-19 is present in our community and continues to be a concern,” said Cedric Scott, Albany Fire Department fire chief.

As each speaker came up to address the public that concern became more apparent.

“Yesterday in Albany, at our emergency department, we admitted to Phoebe North 11 COVID patients, which is the highest number we’ve admitted since late April, in any single day,” said Dr. James Black, Phoebe’s director of emergency services.

A new variant of COVID-19 could further increase the spread.

“So, scientific research is underway right now to learn all that we can about the variations. The CDC put out a statement yesterday saying that it may be that the variant that we have in the United States, and in Great Britain, may contribute to more likely transmission of the disease, but there is no evidence to show that the disease will be more severe. There’s no evidence to show that the variant will be resistant to the vaccine,” said Dr. Charles Ruis, the director of the Southwest Health District.

Leaders are expecting more cases after the New Year’s holiday.

Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said the current death toll numbers are still unclear.

“Just this week, I got approximately 11 names that died in Dougherty County that are not on the list yet. So, we have to wait for those names to be put on the list. So, 212, is it real? It’s not the real number,” said Fowler.

And the worst might not be over yet.

“I believe, at some point in time, we had 22 patients in the middle of November. And then we had Thanksgiving, and you see a steady rise that began shortly after Thanksgiving. And then, you also see Christmas and the rise that continues in the early days afterward. Based on our projections, by late January or February, we could eclipse the numbers that we had in April,” said Black.

Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services Director Sam Allen asked listeners to use their imaginations when it came to a photo of a paramedic standing over a patient.

Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services' Director, Sam Allen, asked listeners to use their...
Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services' Director, Sam Allen, asked listeners to use their imaginations when it came to this photo.(Dougherty County Government)

WALB reached out to the city of Albany to find out if Dorough has been tested for COVID-19.

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