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Confirmed coronavirus cases in Forsyth County reach 50, top 4,700 statewide
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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Confirmed cases of COVID-19 from Forsyth County have more than doubled in five days, with three more reported Wednesday by the Georgia Department of Public Health on the same day that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp closed public schools for the rest of the school year and signed an order for a statewide shelter-in-place.

Forsyth County cases reached 50 on April 1 and the number in Georgia grew by 631, to 4,748 total, at the DPH's final daily update at 7 p.m.

Another 29 deaths from the virus were also reported, bringing the statewide total to 154 since the coronavirus outbreak began.

More than 20,000 tests have now been conducted, according to the DPH, and the rate of testing is expected to increase after Kemp announced a new partnership on Tuesday, March 31, between the University System of Georgia, the Georgia Public Health Laboratory and Emory University to increase Georgia’s COVID-19 testing to process more than 3,000 samples a day.

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.

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.

On Monday, March 30, officials with Scientific Games said it took 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.

Forsyth County's first death related to COVID-19 was reported on Tuesday, March 24 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.