COVID-19 Information and Alerts
General Information and Actions
COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new virus that causes fever, cough and shortness of breath. The virus can cause severe illness including pneumonia in high risk populations such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Newton County is taking steps to try and stop the spread of COVID-19 through the following measures:
- Adopting a mask ordinance
- Following the Governor’s Shelter at Home Ordinance
- Informing the public on COVID-19 best practices
- Operated under judicial emergency including prohibition on jury trial proceedings and conducting remote proceedings and in-person proceedings under public health guidelines
- Conducting BOC meetings via Zoom and Facebook Live and placing all meetings on our YouTube Channel.
Isolation and Quarantine Recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its recommendation for isolation and quarantine period in regards to COVID-19 on Dec. 27.
Given what the CDC has learned about the Omicron variant, it recommends people with COVID-19 should isolate for five (5) days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by five (5) days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.
Additionally, CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for anyone in the general public who is exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than two months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional five (5) days. Alternatively, if a five-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day five after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is the office responsible for administering COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine Vaccine supply is very limited. Public health departments are scheduling vaccines by appointment only, as are most other providers. Depending on vaccine supply allocations from the federal government, it may be weeks before additional providers will have vaccine available for quicker and more widespread distribution.
For more information visit https://dph.georgia.gov/
BOC adopts mask ordinance
The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution requiring masks in public areas in the unincorporated Newton County Tuesday evening. Masks are also required to enter Newton County government buildings. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided.
The ordinance follows Gov. Brian Kemp’s Executive Order from Aug. 15, 2020, permitting any local government to impose local option face covering requirements, for counties that meet the threshold requirement of more than 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. As of Aug. 17, 2020 Newton County had 1,813.91 cases per 100,000 people, per the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Effective at midnight to begin the day, Thursday, Aug. 20, the ordinance requires anyone over the age of 8-years to wear a face covering or mask in a public place in the unincorporated Newton County. Schools, daycares and other child care establishments should develop their own face-covering policies and procedures separate from this ordinance.
Exemptions to Newton County’s face covering ordinance include:
- When Social Distancing is both possible and being actively practiced;
- In personal vehicles;
- On residential property;
- On private property where the owner or legal occupant of the property does not consent to enforcement of this Ordinance (there shall be a presumption of consent to enforcement unless the owner/occupant affirmatively indicates otherwise);
- If a medical provider has advised against the use of a face covering due to an underlying medical issue or because wearing such covering presents a health, safety, or security risk;
- To the extent removal of the covering is necessary to receive personal services (e.g. haircuts or makeup);
- To the extent removal of a covering is necessary to treat or examine a person subject to the direction of a medical professional;
- When consuming food or beverages; however, a face covering shall be required when interacting with others who are not at an individual's immediate table (i.e. fellow patrons, servers, staff, etc.);
- To the extent temporary removal of the face cloth is necessary for the purposes of verifying a person's identity for the purposes of law enforcement, purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs;
- If a person is employed and working in their capacity as a governmental professional (i.e. public safety, fire, sanitation), or medical professional and is wearing more protective equipment or is otherwise prohibited from utilizing a face covering by the policy of their employer;
- If an employer consults with an occupational safety and health professional who determines in writing that face coverings are not appropriate for employees, because of heat or other health related or safety concerns;
- If wearing a mask poses a greater mental or physical health safety or security risk such as when a person has trouble breathing, is unconscious, is incapacitated, or is unable to remove or put on the face covering without assistance;
- If an individual has a bona fide conscientious objection to the wearing of a face covering based upon health, ethical, or religious reasons; or
- At any Polling Place, as defined under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-2(27), and no individual shall be denied ingress or egress to or from a Polling Place for failure to wear a face covering or face mask.
Anyone who violates the ordinance shall be given a written warning on first violation, and will be subject to a fine up to $50 dollars on the second. No violation of the ordinance is punishable by imprisonment.
The ordinance will expire in July 2021 or upon the expiration or nonrenewal of the Governor’s Executive Order.