In context: As Gordon County continues to battle the COVID surge, one that claimed five residents there last week, Sheriff Mitch Ralston has become of the first community leaders to speak out about those hesitant to get a vaccination to now consider doing so.
Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston urges citizens to consider getting COVID 19 Vaccination:
Media release: “As sheriff of Gordon County, the physical safety of each and every person in our community is, and always has been, my first priority. Now, we are facing a critical resurgence of the the COVID 19 virus, in a new, much more contagious, and potentially even more deadly form, the Delta Variant.
“Earlier this week, I met with representatives of our local hospital at their request. We rely on them daily for our healthcare needs for ourselves, our spouses, parents and our children. They play a major role in our community. The news from the hospital is deeply disturbing. The hospital is, in their own words, is “overwhelmed” with patients suffering from COVID 19. (AdventHealth Gordon reported 53 COVID patients on Friday). The hospital, and others in Northwest Georgia, are operating well beyond capacity. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is over capacity, and many patients are on ventilators. The doctors said that the acuity of the infections is much worse than in the initial outbreak, and the patients are in large part young and otherwise healthy.
“I have also met with several doctors who practice medicine here in Calhoun. They have told me clearly that 95% of the people being hospitalized are unvaccinated. 100% of COVID patients on ventilators are unvaccinated. As much as this situation is tragic, we have the ability to mitigate and alleviate it. The medical facts are undisputed: the vaccine prevents infection in most cases and absolutely lessens the severity of the sickness in almost all cases. Unfortunately, almost 70% of our county remains unvaccinated.
“It would be irresponsible of me not to address this issue, with truthful and accurate information from doctors and other heath care providers that we know and trust. The doctors who treat us when we’re sick. They have told me clearly, convincingly, and with one voice to take the vaccine. Vaccinations are available free of charge at the local Health Department. All 3 vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson are available. Vaccinations are also available at local drug stores, primary care providers, and urgent care facilities..
“I am not talking about relying on mainstream media reports, social media posts, conspiracy theories or the opinions of people in Washington, D.C.. I am emphasizing the importance of relying on the people we trust to practice medicine here in our own community. I am a devout conservative, a freedom-loving American, and a follower of Christ. I would never compel anyone to surrender a freedom but I am in fact addressing a life-and-death issue. I love Calhoun and Gordon County, and I deeply and sincerely care for everyone here.
“I urge you to follow your healthcare providers’ advice and take the vaccine. Please continue to pray for the people on the front lines fighting COVID 19, the healthcare professionals and the first responders, as well as all the sick. May God Bless You All.”
Nearly 1,000 people get free COVID tests at Emerson, Catoosa sites this week. Both locations opened this week and 410 people were tested Thursday at the LakePoint site in Emerson and, at the Catoosa site, 562, according to Logan Boss of the state Department of Public Health’s Northwest District office. To be tested:
- Emerson: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., LakePointe Sports Complex
- Catoosa at the Colonnade, Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m, 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold.
- Registration link
The PCR testing is done by nasal swab to determine the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has COVID-19 type symptoms or has been in close contact recently with a person infected with the virus needs to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are fully vaccinated.
- Region report: 711 virus deaths and 99 “probable” deaths since March 2020.
- 152 virus patients in Floyd, Redmond on Friday; no change. Floyd had 93 patients; Redmond, 59 patients; two others awaiting test results.
- 53 patients at AdventHealth Gordon on Friday.
- 413 new cases in NW Georgia since Thursday; 163 in Floyd; 85 in Bartow; 55 in Gordon; 55 in Polk; and 26 in Chattooga.
- 8,403 new cases in Georgia since Thursday.
- 59 new deaths in Georgia since Thursday.
Sept. 3: Rome City Schools will host a vaccination event at the Rome High School College and Career Academy from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Schedule a time here. The vaccine event is free and open to the public; walk-ins are welcome.\
Another 1,847 people completed both doses of the COVID vaccine in Northwest Georgia through Friday (Aug. 20) vs. reports from Aug. 13. That means 30.3% of residents in the five-county area have completed either both doses or received the single-shot alternative.
Floyd County continues to lead the region in vaccinations (34%) but showed little change from the previous week. Bartow, Polk and Gordon each increased a percentage point, from 29 to 30%, Statewide, the average was up to 42%.
Some 3,129 additional residents received their first dose last week, up from 3,008 the first week.
Free COVID-19 vaccinations are available daily for eligible individuals at health departments: Bartow (770) 382-1920 / Chattooga (706) 857-3471 / Floyd (706) 295-6123 / Gordon (706) 624-1444 / Polk (770) 749-2270