With cases of COVID-19 increasing prior to a holiday that’s typically heavy with travel and large gatherings, the North Georgia Health District offered some recommendations for preventing further spread of the virus this July Fourth.
“We realize many residents want to gather with family and friends for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but in light of the fact that COVID-19 is still transmitting in our communities here in Georgia, there are some key measures to keep in mind,” said Jennifer King, the health district’s public information officer.
“The most important one is if you feel like you could have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around someone over the past 14 days who tested positive, stay home, protect yourself and others and report it to your doctor or a healthcare provider.”
Just as one would typically take along a purse, camera or phone case or overnight bag during their travels, the public health district also recommends having an emergency kit handy that includes such protective and sanitary items as face coverings, tissues, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
“If you do celebrate with others, it is preferable that it’s outdoors and do not host or attend gatherings of large groups of people or share food or beverage items,” King noted.
Other July Fourth virus safety recommendations include:
﹣ Wear a cloth face covering.
﹣ Cover coughs and sneezes.
﹣ Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
﹣ Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.
﹣ Avoid physical contact with others by not giving hugs, handshakes, high fives or fist bumps.
﹣ Keep surfaces and objects that are being used disinfected.
﹣ Be mindful of people who are at high risk for becoming infected and have underlying medical conditions that could cause them to become more seriously ill with COVID-19.
In advertising the upcoming July Fourth fireworks display that will take place in downtown Ellijay, the Gilmer Chamber offered similar recommendations for those who will be attending the event. Fireworks attendees are encouraged to practice social distancing, wear masks and follow orders issued by the CDC and Georgia Governor’s Office.
Free coronavirus testing is still being done at drive-thru sites throughout the six-county North Georgia Health District, which includes Gilmer, Pickens, Fannin, Murray, Cherokee and Whitfield.
Testing is now done Mondays and Fridays at the Gilmer site, the ETC Pavilion on Legion Road.
People who want to get tested should first call 1-888-881-1474 to make an appointment or find out more about when and where testing is being done.