>Listen by clicking the above arrow.
- Shaw temporarily closes five plants in Bartow County as fourth worker tests positive for the virus; Shaw is Bartow’s largest employer.
- Latest updates from region, state: 56 dead including four here. Local updates.
- Outtakes from Gov. Brian Kemp’s televised town hall meeting.
- Public Health director’s grim forecast: ‘We expect to see more COVID-19 cases and, sadly, more deaths.’ The initial cases ‘are related to one group gathering.’
- State prepares for onslaught in jobless claims; extends benefits amid robust February reports in Northwest Georgia.
- Education: Early look at what Kemp’s decision to postpone reopening of public schools means to Floyd County, Rome districts. GNTC to stay online for now.
- Helping: Tyson Foods steps up to help Floyd Schools, YMCA sponsor pop-up markets; Heritage Sleep Concepts changes operations, making needed masks.
Today’s other news:
- Suspect wanted on more than a dozen charges extradicted to Floyd County.
- Hixson, Tenn., man charged in latest child molestation/Internet solicitation case.
- Weather service: ‘Microburst’ during Tuesday night’s thunderstorm packed 80-mph gusts, flattened trees off U.S. 411 near Kingston.
- Health: Flu deaths in Georgia hold at 83 through March 14; almost double the toll from the previous season.
RANT OF THE DAY: A grim day in Georgia.
Those are tough words. We’ll get grief for it, for being so negative, but that’s not the intent. Here’s why we chose those words, based only on Thursday’s avalanche of reports:
- A fourth person in Northwest Georgia died, this one at AdventHealth Gordon. This victim joins one woman and two men who already have been claimed by coronavirus.
- At last count, 56 Georgians have died from the disease.
- The number of area residents testing positive hit 131 – and will climb even more today at noon when the next state report comes out.
- The region’s public health director warns of more positive tests and, as he says, more deaths. He joins state officials in tracing the local outbreak to one event – you know it as the March 1 gathering at The Church at Liberty Square. The state believes similar gatherings – funerals in two cases – likewise were the flashpoints for other lethal breakouts.
- Our governor ordered public schools closed through Friday, April 24, with classes resuming on campus on April 27. One state to our west, their governor has closed schools for the semester with distance learning having to suffice.
- Late Thursday, Shaw Industries announced it was temporarily closing five Bartow County plants after four associates tested positive for the virus. Shaw already had confirmed two plants had workers test positive.
- Earlier Thursday, the governor and labor commission announced extended jobless benefits as they expect an onslaught of reports as layoffs begin.
- The patient counts continue to rise at local hospitals.
- Spot shortages continue at local stores – at midmorning Thursday, you couldn’t find an egg at one of the more prominent grocers.
- In Cartersville and Bartow County, governments extended their respective emergency ordinances to include sheltering in place. That’s become standard policy across Northwest Georgia.
That’s how we define grim – all that announced in under 12 hours.
Sheltering in place will stop the spread. So will social distancing. The question is will we listen or will the governor, as he said Thursday night, have to resort to other options before him?
And here’s the irony in it all. State medical officials believe several church gatherings helped fuel some of the hot spots such as we have here and in Albany. It is chilling to hear Cartersville and Rome in so many state assessments of the crisis.
And yet churches were the first to adjust their services and then close their doors to help stop the spread. Many churches and their congregations have turned to Facebook Live and other methods to keep the message of faith and hope flowing in this time of need.
And no matter how grim the headlines become, please know that message will not stop.
- Newscasts and podcasts: Our weekday newscasts and Druck Report interviews. See HHPodcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify.
- Subscribe to our free local deal alert: Discounts, BOGOs, other local deals. Text 313131; Hometowndeal in the message field.
- Subscribe to our free newscast/podcast text alerts.Text 313131; in the message field, type HHpodcasts.
- Subscribe to our free major news alerts. Text 313131; in the message field, type HometownRome. Brought to you by Heritage First Bank.