COVID-19 cases increasing in Coastal Empire since last week

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Coastal Health District says coronavirus cases have been steadily increasing since Tuesday of last week. Health Director Doctor Lawton Davis says starting this week, the region will start to see the health effects of a busy Memorial Day weekend and recent protests.

“Remember: the virus has not gone away and be careful,” said Dr. Davis during a Zoom call with reporters. He says he is tired, too, but warns now is not the time to let your guard down.

“Just because it’s okay to do things now that we couldn’t do three months ago,…doesn’t mean you have to go and do those things,” he said of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s recent decision to eliminate pandemic capacity limitations in restaurants and to increase capacity in bars.

Dr. Davis says bars are especially dangerous because of their inherent nature.

“Typically, people are closer together. They have a drink or two and they talk loudly and tell jokes, which his what we all like to do, but when you laugh and speak loudly, you exhale a large volume of those potentially infectious droplets,” said Dr. Davis.

Late last week, Dr. Davis says the Coastal Health District reported 43 new cases in a single day. It was the third-highest case increase in a 24-hour period.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Health reports Chatham County is the 16th most impacted county in the state. This time last month, it was the 20th.

“If you’re going to be around someone else and they’re an older individual or have underlying health conditions, wear a mask,” he said.

Since the first reported case in the district, Dr. Davis says officials have learned that sunshine and ultraviolet rays can deactivate the virus. And it is unlikely that people can contract the disease from a surface.

But, he says there are still many unknowns, including if people are immune after contracting the virus.

Health experts say for now, the best defense is to wear a mask and social distance.

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