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Six more confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, from Forsyth County was reported on Sunday, bringing the county's total to 28 as the number of infections in Georgia topped 2,600.
While the Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total of 2,446 total cases in Georgia at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, including 22 in Forsyth County, the statewide number grew to 2,683 by the same time on Sunday, March 29. The number of deaths has now reached 83 statewide, including one in Forsyth, with 678 hospitalizations.
The department is updating totals at noon and 7 p.m. daily.
More than 12,500 tests have been conducted statewide, according to the DPH, and nearly three quarters of counties in Georgia now have a confirmed case of COVID-19, led by Fulton with 425 known cases. A total of 226 cases are still listed in unknown counties by the GDPH.
Forsyth County's first death related to COVID-19 was reported Tuesday by the GDPH. The individual was an 87-year-old male, according to the department. It's unknown whether the individual had any underlying medical conditions, according to department records. The DPH could provide no further information.
Little information has been available about the county's other positive COVID-19 cases, except that one is confirmed to be an employee at a Publix in Cumming and another is an employee at a manufacturing plant in the county.
Publix officials confirmed Monday night that an employee at its Cruse Marketplace store, at 1735 Buford Highway in Cumming, tested positive. The company said the store has completed a disinfection-level deep cleaning, using guidelines from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health.
“At Publix, the health and well-being of our associates, our customers and our communities remains our top priority,” said Maria Brous, Publix Director of Communications in a statement. “Following our disinfection protocol and with the support of the public health department, the store is operating normal business hours. We are thinking of our associate and their family during this time and wishing them a swift recovery.”
Publix also said they were told by the Georgia Department of Public Health that store customers are considered to be at low risk of exposure and the products sold at the store do not represent a risk to customers.
Panduit Corporation confirmed one of the company's employees at its manufacturing plant, located at 1819 Atlanta Highway in Cumming, also tested positive.
Spokeswoman Lisa Mattes said that the employee self-quarantined and the company notified any employees that the person may have come into contact with.
The plant was temporarily shut down until Monday, March 23. Mattes said the plant was also thoroughly sanitized and cleaned after its closure.
“We have taken very aggressive measures to secure the health and safety of all employees there,” Mattes said.
City and county officials have gradually ramped up measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the number of cases in Forsyth County, Georgia and the U.S. continues to increase.
On Friday, Forsyth County Commission Chairwoman Laura Semanson signed a declaration that ordered the closure of dine-in and/or outdoor/patio services at restaurants as well as the suspension of some penalties and fines for local business owners.
Many restaurants in Cumming and Forsyth County have already closed their dining areas and offered other service options to comply with social distancing practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but still remain in business.
Also on Friday, the city of Cumming extended the suspension of recreation programs and closure of all city facilities to the public.