Mask mandate credited with lower COVID-19 cases in Dublin

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DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– Laurens County has recently seen a decline in COVID-19 cases. Local health officials attribute the lower numbers to a mask mandate.

On August 11, Dublin City Commissioners passed a mandate that required masks in all businesses, non-profits, or places providing goods and services.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, Laurens County had 30 new cases the day the mandate passed. As of Wednesday, the county only reported seven new positive cases.

Melissa Brantley with the South Central Health District, says cases have dropped at a dramatic rate.

“When we looked a the previous 14-day case count three weeks ago, we had 382,” Brantley said. “Two weeks ago, our 14-day case count went down to 299 people, and then our 14-day case count that just came out on Sunday went down to 201.”

Don Avery, the CEO of Fairview Park Hospital, says he noticed a drop in hospitalizations as well.

“We went from about 40% of our patients having COVID to now…13 or 14% of our patients,” Avery stated.

The mask mandate will stay in place until September 25, but may be extended.

Avery says the hospital expects another spike in cases after Labor Day, but encourages residents to keep practicing CDC guidelines.

“People have to stay the course,” Avery said. “Wear their masks, watch social distancing, and wash their hands, I just think that’s critical.”

Patients at Fairview can now have two visitors on non-COVID floors. Anyone coming into the hospital will be screened, and a mask must be worn.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.