The Voccio Viewpoint: Latest update from Dr. Gary Voccio of Public Health on state of coronavirus in NW Georgia. Plus, new CDC study on possible spread among school-age children.

The Voccio Viewpoint: Latest update from Dr. Gary Voccio of Public Health on state of coronavirus in NW Georgia. Plus, new CDC study on possible spread among school-age children.

Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the 10-county Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District, gives us a situation report on COVID-19 in Northwest Georgia, in this 4:34 video with Log Boss of the Health Department.

Voccio says Northwest Georgia continues to see increase in all numbers of COVID-19 cases in both the community at large and in hospitals. The increasing deaths is predominately among elderly, especially those in long-term care facilities, but also in hospitals.

“The majority of deaths are among the elderly, but a few younger patients have also passed away. Most have been 70, 75 or 80 years old, but a few 50-year-old in the hospital have also passed away. The median age of deaths is around 77 years old, but the median age of cases is between 39-40 years old, so younger population is still acquiring COVID,” he says.

Voccio also discusses a new CDC report just released on the rapid spread of coronavirus linked to some 260 cases at a North Georgia YMCA Camp at Lake Burton earlier this summer.

“This was a very surprising and large study put out by the CDC,” he says. “It does demonstrate that younger children may be able to spread the virus to other children. The study looked at multiple sets of kids that did acquire COVID in a camp setting where the only the camp counselors were wearing masks, none of the other campers were wearing masks and they were singing, lots of activities without social distancing.

“I think this shows that wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing is of upmost importance in preventing the spread of COVID. In this study, the ways to try to prevent the spread weren’t completely followed. If this report/study can be reproduced, every student, faculty, administrators…every one in a school environments should wear masks, physically distance and use hand sanitization.”

The AJC has an expanded report on the CDC study and closer look at what happened at the camp. According to the report, some 260 cases of the coronavirus have been tied to attendees and staff at a North Georgia YMCA children’s camp in June, making it one of the largest known superspreading events in the state. The report details how COVID-19 spread rapidly among children and teens within the camp and raises questions about the effectiveness of safety protocols as school districts and colleges contemplate reopening for in-person instruction this fall.

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