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State confirms Forsyth County's sixth COVID-19 death

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Forsyth County's sixth death from COVID-19 was documented Friday afternoon by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The individual was identified as a 59-year-old man. It's not known whether he had underlying medical conditions.

Forsyth County had 184 confirmed cases of COVID-19 by Friday afternoon, according to the DPH's latest daily status report at 12 p.m., 15 more than the previous day. Confirmed cases continue to grow statewide, with 17,194. About 19% of cases have required hospitalization.

In Forsyth County, the victims have ranged in age from 59 to 87. Four have been male and two female. None were known to have underlying medical conditions.

There have been 650 confirmed deaths statewide from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, though official counts likely lag actual deaths due to delays in reporting death certificate data, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms, but some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

Health officials have stressed that confirmed cases and deaths do not represent the full picture of COVID-19 in the community. 

Georgia rolled out new guidelines this week to expand testing for the virus. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 is now eligible for testing, while health care workers, first responders, other critical infrastructure workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities can now get tested whether they are symptomatic or not.

A referral from a healthcare provider has been required for testing at a specimen collection site, but individuals can now also receive one by calling their local health department.