Holiday weekend brings concern of COVID-19 surge

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the holiday weekend approaches, health and city officials worry about another surge in coronavirus infections.

Current numbers show over the past two weeks, cases have increased across the Coastal Health District, which serves Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties, by more than 100 percent.

“Yes, we are concerned,” Dr. Lawton Davis told News 3.

The CHD director knows history could repeat itself. Going into the last holiday weekend, the eight counties had a seven day rolling average of about 23 cases.

As of July 3, the average is 186.

“The level of community transmission in all of our counties is going up significantly,” said Davis. Certainly, Chatham and Glynn seem to be leading the pack right now, which makes sense because they are the ones with the big beaches and tourist accommodations.”

With tens of thousands expected to hit Savannah streets and bask on Tybee beaches, the Fourth of July could lead to our worst spike ever.

Davis says if it does happen, the impact won’t be seen until the end of the month.

“If anything has ever been an equal opportunity infector it’s this,” the director said. “It doesn’t care if you’re young, you’re old, your race, your ethnicity — nothing.

“You know, it will infect all of us with great abandon if we give it the opportunity.”

Masks lessen the likelihood of a significant increase in new cases. In Savannah this week, Mayor Van Johnson made wearing a face covering mandatory.

He says the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

“There are some businesses I’ve been getting calls about,” Johnson said. “I’ve made some phone calls to some corporate offices and some local businesses to remind them about what the ordinance says and obviously if they don’t want to comply we’ll have somebody come out and visit them.”

Both Johnson and Davis say it comes down to personal responsibility; avoid indoor crowds, practice good hygiene and wear face coverings.

Meanwhile, Davis says the health department is experiencing some resistance in their contact tracing investigations. He says the public’s cooperation is absolutely vital to slowing the spread of the virus.

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