VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Lowndes County is continuing to experience a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, according to a new Georgia Department of Public Health report.
The increase first began in October and has not slowed since, with the total confirmed cases rising to a current number of 5,350 in the county.
This is an increase of 760 cases since Nov. 11 and an increase of 1,325 cases since Oct. 11, now bringing Lowndes County’s percent positive to 14 and 18 percent between Dec. 5 and 11.
The county’s current percent positive reflects an increase of seven to 10 percent from the same time frame two months prior, according to the GDPH report.
Officials believe the catalyst for the increasing cases is that people are getting too comfortable with not wearing their masks or social distancing.
"[During] Thanksgiving, we knew there would be an increase, that's why we want to bring it to everyone's attention now. Just a couple of weeks away from Christmas, we don't want to see these numbers continuing to grow especially at the rate they are," said Kristin Patten, spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Health.
Dr. William R. Grow, director of the South Health District of Georgia, which encompasses Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift and Turner counties, expressed the severity of the situation in the county.
“We are extremely concerned at the continuing increase in cases in Lowndes County. This increase is substantial and should serve as a serious reminder to everyone that COVID is very present in our communities,” said district health director Dr. William R. Grow. “While we understand that a vaccine seems to be close, that does not mean that residents should stop taking precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing. Practicing these precautions is especially important as we approach Christmas.”
Total cases across Georgia’s South Health District are 12,224, an increase of 1,884 cases since Nov. 11 and 2,942 since Oct. 11.
The GDPH reminded residents in the report about the importance of social distancing, masking, washing hands and getting the annual flu shot as the Christmas season approaches.
Free COVID-19 testing is available in all 10 counties across the South Health District, for more information, click here.