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Number of COVID-19 cases tops 1,000 statewide, 8 in Forsyth County; 32 deaths
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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The eighth confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, from Forsyth County was reported on Tuesday as the number of infections in Georgia topped 1,000.

While the Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total of 800 total cases in Georgia at 7 p.m. on Monday, that number grew to 1,026 by noon on Tuesday. The department is updating totals at noon and 7 p.m. daily, and the number of deaths has now reached 32.

Nearly three quarters of counties in Georgia now have a confirmed case of COVID-19, led by Fulton with 184 known cases. A total of 81 cases are still listed in unknown counties by the GDPH.

Publix supermarket confirmed Monday night that an associate at the Cruse Marketplace store, at 1735 Buford Highway in Cumming, tested positive for COVID-19.

Company officials say 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.

Another of Forsyth County’s positive COVID-19 cases is known to be an employee at Panduit Corporation’s manufacturing plant located at 1819 Atlanta Highway in Cumming.

As the number of cases starts to rise in Georgia, more protections are being put into place to prevent the spread of the disease.

Gov. Brian Kemp ordered for the closure of bars and nightclubs throughout the state and the banning of large gatherings during a press conference Monday afternoon. The order will be in effect until April 6.

The Georgia Department of Public Health will be authorized to close any business for noncompliance.

Kemp will work with the Department of Public Health to issue an executive order to require sheltering in place or quarantining for high-risk populations, such as those who live in long-term care facilities, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, or have a positive COVID-19 test, are assumed to have it, or have been exposed.

To address a shortage of health care workers, graduate nurses who have not yet taken their nursing exams will be able to seek a temporary license through the Georgia Board of Nursing, Kemp said.