Newscast/Rant:  16 coronavirus cases at Cartersville Medical; 86 await results. Truett’s, Harvest Moon close. Rant: Make the tough call.

Newscast/Rant: 16 coronavirus cases at Cartersville Medical; 86 await results. Truett’s, Harvest Moon close. Rant: Make the tough call.

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Today’s headlines:

  • 16 positive tests at Cartersville Medical between March 9 and today. Plus: Other hospital updates, statewide reports.
  • Truett’s Chick-fil-A in Rome closes temporarily after ‘one or more team members experienced symptoms consistent with COVID-19.’ Riverside, mall locations open. Also last night, Harvest Moon announced it was closing, citing opinions from health officials. That includes Moon Roof and Dark Side.
  • Business: From smart ideas to chamber’s ‘triage’ page, businesses, restaurants, banks and credit unions, others adapting to latest changes.
  • Closings/changes: First Baptist Rome closes; services online, Facebook. Latest feeding updates for area kids. ‘Sacred Sounds,’ other events delayed or canceled.
  • 14 charges now filed against a suspected drunken driver in a Blue Ridge collision that killed a Rome 2-year-old.
  • Floyd Medical Center is leasing the ground floor of the 330 Physicians Center and is negotiating for the second floor.

RANT OF THE DAY: Make that tough decision.

Within an hour Tuesday afternoon, the coronavirus story changed dramatically in our area. For most of the day, additional closings trickled in. Two of three area hospitals shared perhaps the mildest reports since the initial positive test nearly two weeks ago.

The most expected event happened, the cancellation of the 2020 men’s and women’s ACC tennis tournament here in Rome. We’ll miss a lot of exposure but remember the first edition here drew under 1,900 fans – and that was an ACC record.

But then came word that Truett’s Chick-fil-A in Rome was closing. Not just the dining room, which went dark on Monday, but the drive-through as well. Some employees had exhibited corona virus symptoms. No one has tested positive.

Still, that was enough for Greg Major to decide to lock the door on one of Rome’s favorite restaurants. Most will acknowledge that Truett’s is something of an influencer for other area restaurants. The quick—and correct – decision by Chick-fil-A spoke volumes.

We also note that the Riverside Parkway container location of Chick-fil-A remains open as does the mall location – that later is doing curbside delivery as well.

But then the news got worse. The daily report from Cartersville Medical Center came in with a stunning set of numbers: 16 people had tested positive there for coronavirus since March  9 (four remain under care)  and another 53 were hospitalized awaiting test results. Still another 33 were home, also waiting to hear their prognosis.

The Cartersville update came almost six hours after the latest state report that showed Georgia with 146 confirmed cases. We’ll be watching at noon today to see if the next report reflects the medical center numbers.

The evening was capped off with Harvest Moon’s announcement that all of its restaurant group was closed until further notice, citing advice from healthcare officials. That includes the Moon Roof and Dark Side of the Moon.

Even as we hear good news about the most popular local patients, April and Kyle Abernathy, we’re hearing more about “community spread” at the hospital in the largest county in our region and possible symptoms at one of the most popular restaurants in Northwest Georgia.

That’s on top of Monday’s report that a second Floyd County Schools employee tested positive for the virus, an educator who visited both Cave Spring Elementary and Alto Park. That’s a second case for the Cave Spring school, the first being its principal.

And the Cave Spring cases bring us to the point of today’s rant. Once area leaders knew coronavirus was in our schools, it was seen as the trigger point to take even more aggressive action. We assume all the national and international reports were just eye candy for clicks and TV and social media.

But with the reports we’ve seen this week – a surge in patients in nearby Cartersville, employees at a leading dining and community spot complaining of virus-like symptons, the closing of the restaurant group that never gets the credit it deserves for reigniting interest in downtown Rome – we have to ask: What will it take for even more aggressive, proactive steps to “flatten the curve” in our area?

We have one assumption and we’re hoping it doesn’t come to that. That would be a death in our area and even funeral homes and churches have announced family only crowds at memorial services.

There’s enough evidence on the table to mandate next steps. What are we waiting for?

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