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Local
Sites for early voting still under consideration as election draws near

Local election officials are hoping to pinpoint a site by the end of this week for early in-person voting in the June 9 primary election.

Floyd County Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady told a meeting of the Rome-Floyd County Joint 天天乐棋牌 Committee Tuesday that he is concerned the county administration building would not be the best location given social distancing rules in place for the election.

Early voting for the presidential and statewide primary elections is scheduled from May 18 through June 5, with one Saturday, May 30, included.

Special rules for the election call for no more than 10 voters inside the balloting area at any given time. Two other options are the Forum River Center and the Rome Civic Center on Jackson Hill.

County Commission Chair Scotty Hancock said the Civic Center probably offers better parking alternatives and there is plenty of room inside the building to space the voters and poll workers apart.

Everyone on staff at the elections office falls into the age group that Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered to continue to shelter in place, Brady said, adding that he does not want to jeopardize anyone’s health during the early voting period.

At this point, they’re down some of their pollworkers — usually older retirees — because of concerns about the new coronavirus.

Also, there will be at least one precinct change for Election Day voting.

People who vote at the Renaissance Marquis on U.S. 27 South will not be able to vote there because the nursing 天天乐棋牌 is on lockdown to protect residents. Instead, those voters will cast ballots at the Veterans of Foreign Wars facility located at 2642 Cedartown Highway, about a mile and a half north of the Renaissance Marquis.

Floyd County voters have responded in a big way to the Georgia Secretary of State mail out of applications for absentee ballots, Brady said.

He said more than 15,700 Floyd County voters have submitted a request for ballots and the county mailroom has more than five trays of actual ballots that have been returned to the local office.

Putting that into context, Brady said that Floyd County processed only 2,198 absentee ballots during the 2016 presidential election.

No decision has been made with respect to a drop box for absentee voters to return their ballots to as opposed to having to put a stamp on the ballot and mailing it back in, Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said.

There are numerous regulations that severely restrict the use of a drop box. One rule requires a video recording device that continually records the location. If the drop box has a slot that feeds a container inside a building, both the slot and the container must have video monitors.

“This is not putting up an old mail box in front of the elections office and throwing your ballots in it,” Brady said.

“I think we need to do what we can to do that in a location where we meet all those standards,” Hancock said. “I think financially we’ll be able to support that, do a couple of those drop boxes, because we can always get reimbursed, filing that as a COVID expense.”

Some of the concern regarding drop boxes may be diminished when the elections office reopens to the public on May 14. At that point anyone who wants to cast their absentee ballot could deliver it to the elections office.


 

Bigstory
Northwest Georgia counties falling in state rankings as virus spreads in metro-Atlanta, South Georgia

As time goes on, and epidemiologists find more people who test positive for COVID-19 across the state, most Northwest Georgia counties have slowly dropped down the state-published county by county list.

In early March through April, the list had Bartow County and Floyd County in the top 10 of Georgia’s 159 counties for number of infections.

That’s changed somewhat.

The nearby counties with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections are Cobb, Cherokee, Carroll and Bartow counties. But, Bartow — which in early March was in the top five counties regularly after a large infection at a church choir service — now ranks 16.

Cobb County still had the fourth most number of positive confirmed cases at 1,856, with 499 hospitalizations and 101 people dead as of Tuesday.

Cherokee County came in at ninth in the state with 509 confirmed cases, 91 hospitalizations and 14 deaths resulting from a COVID-19 infection.

Carroll County had 383 positive cases, 73 people hospitalized and 15 deaths.

Bartow County had 345 positive cases, 121 people hospitalized and 31 deaths.

As for Floyd County — the number of new cases reported by the state hasn’t tapered off, but has for the most part stayed in the single digits per day. As of Tuesday at noon, Floyd County’s number remained at 150 confirmed cases.

Only on three days since the first reported case March 8 has the number of new confirmed cases moved into the double digits. On March 31, April 1 and April 13 there were 19, 20 and 10 new cases reported respectively.

Those jumps in new cases locally directly correlate with a statewide increase in testing in the end of March and beginning of April and when the virus hit the Rome Health and Rehabilitation Center hard in early to mid-April.

When looking at new cases on a day by day basis, even the newly reported numbers on the state reports are generally several days old. The lag time is the difference between when a person is tested and when the result is confirmed.

Gathering and publishing data in nearly real time has a lot of difficulties, especially concerning the new coronavirus. For instance, the DPH released that there are 29,560 Georgians who have been infected with COVID-19 as of noon on Tuesday. That’s all reported cases that have been lab confirmed.

The state doesn’t adjust numbers for those who are no longer positive for COVID-19, so the totals reported will never go down.

Source: Georgia Department of Public Health 

This graph of Georgia COVID-19 cases over time was captured on May 5, 天天乐棋牌 at 11 a.m. from the Georgia Department of Public Health website.

In one graph published on the DPH website shows the daily reported number of new cases statewide. At first glance, it appears that the number of new reported cases over the past 14 days is decreasing. Those recent cases are shown in a shaded area and there’s a listed notation to the information — many new cases over the past 14 days may not be accounted for. That happens for many reasons — for instance, illnesses either haven’t been reported or test results may still be pending. The takeaway is those numbers which are initially lower in that 14 day period are likely to rise.

Local long-term care facilities

Of the 334 nursing 天天乐棋牌s with at least one positive COVID-19 case listed on a statewide Department of Community Health Report, seven are in Floyd County. The report only includes information for facilities with 25 beds or more.

The number of cases in these reports are cumulative and only appear to be updated when they increase. While they’re an indicator of the extent of an infection at a long term care facility, even a recent report may not be a clear picture of the current number of infections at that facility.

Chulio Hills Health and Rehab:

Residents: 76

COVID positive residents: 0

Resident deaths: 0

COVID positive staff: 3

Evergreen Health and Rehabilitation Center:

Residents: 91

COVID positive residents: 0

Resident deaths: 0

COVID positive staff: 1

Fifth Avenue Health Care:

Residents: 78

COVID positive residents: 1

Resident deaths: 0

COVID positive staff: 2

PruittHealth — Rome:

Residents: 94

COVID positive residents: 0

Resident deaths: 0

COVID positive staff: 1

Rome Health and Rehabilitation Center:

Residents: 57

COVID positive residents: 25

Resident deaths: 4

COVID positive staff: 36

Seven Hills Place:

Residents: 27

COVID positive residents: 0

Resident deaths: 0

COVID positive staff: 1

Winthrop Health and Rehabilitation:

Residents: 83

COVID positive residents: 0

Resident deaths: 0

COVID positive staff: 1


Evelyn Pullen, a second-grader at Berry College Elementary School


Education
Berry College's HackBerry Lab hosts virtual open house to showcase 200 student projects

Despite the Berry College campus being closed to the public, the HackBerry Lab open house continues virtually on the lab’s website.

Around 80 students participated in the annual lab showcase, many of whom had to work from 天天乐棋牌.

Over 200 projects were submitted and can be .

Zane Cochran is the director of the program, a creative workspace with all sorts of tools and technologies students can use to make their ideas come to life in the Creative Technologies program. The lab includes a 3D printer, a laser cutter, computers with different programs and other tools.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Georgia and forced Berry and other schools to switch to remote learning, Cochran, students and staff were faced with the major dilemma of not being able to use the lab.

“This is a program that relies on students having access to physical things and we knew that a lot of our students didn’t have their own 3D printers and things like that,” Cochran said.

Along with his colleagues in the creative technologies program, the director began putting together “care packages” with materials and tools for students to use. The packages included things like soldering irons, electrical components, filaments and other common tools and materials. Students either picked up the packages on campus or the staff mailed out the packages to students who were already at 天天乐棋牌.

“Many students had gone away for spring break and didn’t return, so even before classes resumed, we had already put together some of these packages and mailed them out,” Cochran said.

Many students had to come up with new projects and get creative with the tools they were given and the tools they had lying around their 天天乐棋牌s.

The open house website includes projects done by students during the beginning of the semester and projects they did at 天天乐棋牌 during the quarantine.

“You can kind of see that technology shift where students had to work under more constraints,” Cochran said.

Some projects were even inspired by the pandemic itself.

One student created a “social distancing alarm,” which uses a variety of sensors to detect if someone is closer than 6 feet to another person.

Other projects included apps, organization units, blankets and other sorts of creative technologies.


Local
Town Green fountain, Northside Swim center may not open until late June

As the temperature starts to rise, Rome and Floyd County residents may be missing their regular spots to cool off.

The earliest the play-in fountain at the Town Green and the Northside Swim Center could open this year would be June 20, County Manager Jamie McCord said Tuesday.

McCord gave the update at the city and county Joint 天天乐棋牌 Committee videoconference regarding several shared programs.

Whether the facilities open at all this year remains a question, based on state COVID-19 guidelines on the number of people that can take advantage of water parks.

Todd Wofford, the parks and recreation department director, said the whole concept of social distancing at the city pool off Kingston Avenue would be extremely challenging to manage.

“We need 190 people a day at $5 a day to break even,” Wofford said. “That doesn’t even make sense to open up a swimming pool for 10 people. That’s going to be a big question.”

With the uncertainty over an opening date coupled with the timing for the hiring and certification of lifeguards and other staff, getting the pool open may be difficult this summer.

“On the side of youth activities, I think we’ve got to use a lot of caution,” City Commissioner Craig McDaniel said.

City officials did not discuss any specific plans for the reopening of the Town Green fountain next to the Forum River Center.

McCord also reported that the annual Independence Day fireworks program is still on the calendar for July 4 — but there will not be any organized events in Ridge Ferry Park.

“We do plan on the park being open but the fireworks will be on Jackson Hill,” McCord said. “We have worked with local radio and media partners to simulcast music and information so, theoretically, you can still go anywhere in the vicinity of Jackson Hill and sit and watch.”

“I don’t see any scenario where it’s going to safe to put 8,000 people back in Ridge Ferry Park on July 4,” Wofford said. “And I don’t see that many people feeling comfortable to come down to the park.”

County Commission Chairman Scotty Hancock said that leadership will need to consider how to monitor places where people gather to watch the fireworks.

“They are going to gather if we have a fireworks show,” Hancock said. “They may not congregate at the park but they’re going to pick locations to gather to watch the fireworks show if we have it.”

McCord also said the Parker Center and all senior adult programming through the Parks and Recreation Department remains suspended until further notice.

The Ridge Ferry Park Farmers Market is still scheduled to open its annual Wednesday and Saturday morning run on June 3.


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