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Five more confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, from Forsyth County were reported on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 15 as the number of infections in Georgia topped 1,600.
While the Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total of 1,387 total cases in Georgia at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, including 10 in Forsyth County, the statewide number grew to 1,643 by the same time Thursday, March 26. The department is updating totals at noon and 7 p.m. daily, and the number of deaths has now reached 56, with 509 more hospitalized.
Thursday marked the second straight day of almost 300 additional confirmed cases, an increase that “is in part reflective of improvement in electronic reporting efficiency from commercial laboratories," the DPH said in a statement. "These reports often have sparse patient data and DPH will be working to complete these records, so data will change over time.”
Nearly three quarters of counties in Georgia now have a confirmed case of COVID-19, led by Fulton with 231 known cases. A total of 178 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 88-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 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