CAIRO — Grady County Administrator Buddy Johnson said changes to Grady County’s strategy for combating the novel coronavirus may be made within the next several days after a record number of new cases of the virus were identified in the past week, though he has no information on what those changes may be.

Data from the Southwest Georgia Public Health District last updated Wednesday afternoon shows that 491 Grady County residents have now been diagnosed with the virus, a sizable gain from the 402 cases the Department of Public Health had recorded last Thursday, and at least one county resident may have succumbed to the virus for the first time in three months.

Johnson said any changes the county commission makes to its virus strategy will come from the state first.

“We are maintaining the state’s requirements and will adjust as they do,” he said.

The 89-case increase in the past week marks the largest addition in the number of cases recorded in Grady County in a seven-day period since DPH began tracking data in March. An official with Archbold Medical Center said Thursday that all four beds in the intensive care unit at Grady General Hospital were filled with patients infected with the virus, and six patients in total were hospitalized.

“Fortunately, not all COVID patients require critical care services,” said Ashley Griffin, Archbold spokesperson. “When we’re unable to provide critical care services, we closely work with Archbold Memorial Hospital to transfer patients for the care they need.”

DPH data also shows that six Grady County residents have died of the virus, an increase from the five deaths the Grady County Health Department has listed since mid-May. Representatives with the Grady County coroner’s office stated they were unaware of any new deaths attributed the virus that occurred this week.

COVID-19 testing will be conducted at the Grady County Health Department every Tuesday and Friday this month from 8 a.m.-noon.

Patients are encouraged to schedule appointments by calling 229-352-6567 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays or between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays. Patients can also visit covid19.dph.ga.gov and select “Take the Screening Questionnaire” to begin the application process.

Visit southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org to see the full testing schedule for all southwest Georgia counties.

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