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8 more confirmed COVID-19 cases from Forsyth County as statewide mark reaches 3,000
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is depicted in an illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020. - photo by Associated Press

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Eight more confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, from Forsyth County were reported on Monday, bringing the county's total to 36 as the number of infections in Georgia topped 3,000.

While the Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total of 2,683 total cases in Georgia at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 29, including 28 in Forsyth County, the statewide number grew by 349, to 3,032, by the same time on Monday, March 30. The number of deaths has now reached 102 statewide, including one in Forsyth, with 773 hospitalizations.

The department is updating totals at noon and 7 p.m. daily.

Almost 13,500 tests have been conducted statewide, according to the DPH. Fulton County has the most cases with 503. About 115 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, March 23 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.

On Monday, March 30, officials with Scientific Games said it has taken steps to clean the gaming and lottery company's manufacturing facility in south Forsyth after an employee with one of the company's suppliers visited and later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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, March 27, 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.