MONROE, Ga. — Several Walton County government offices are expected to reopen Wednesday after closing for a deep cleaning.
It was the second time in less than two weeks for county offices to close because of the COVID-19 illness.
The offices were to be cleaned and decontaminated after closing Monday afternoon, Chairman Kevin Little said in a statement.
The animal control, clerk of Superior Court, district attorney, facilities maintenance, human resources, finance and tax assessor offices closed. A private company was expected to clean those offices Tuesday.
Chief Judge John M. Ott also extended by a week the local judicial emergency he issued July 1 after an outbreak of COVID-19 in both Newton and Walton County courthouses and the death of Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. that morning.
Ott also was diagnosed with COVID-19.
The county said the Georgia Department of Public Health would conduct “contact tracing” and notify any individuals who had conducted business at those offices of possible exposure.
As of 2:50 p.m. Monday, there were a cumulative of 120,569 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia with 3,026 deaths.
Walton County had 569 confirmed cases with 29 deaths.
At one point this weekend, 63 out of 70 critical care beds across northeast Georgia were in use.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the illness caused by the coronavirus outbreak surpassed 3,000 in the state on Sunday.
“It’s clear that COVID-19 is part of our collective day-to-day reality and we have incorporated the treatment of these patients into our ongoing approach, while also meeting the health care needs of our much larger patient base,” Sydney Walker, communications specialist with Piedmont Healthcare, said.
Piedmont is the owner of Piedmont Walton Hospital in Monroe, which has seen multiple patients with COVID-19, including survivors.
Walker said the hospital wouldn’t release the number of patients admitted for COVID-19, as it wouldn’t for any other kind of illness.
Georgia had more than 116,900 confirmed cases from the first one in early March. In the U.S., there had been 3.2 million cases and 135,000 deaths.
The number of recovered patients in Georgia has not been made available.
Walker said people should continue to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also remember they can take care of other health care needs.
“We urge everyone to continue to keep themselves and loved ones safe across COVID-19 and wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance, but equally to seek health care when needed,” she said.
“It’s alarming that we continue to see people in our communities unnecessarily avoiding needed health care — even emergency care, when it’s a life-threatening situation like stroke or heart attack where every minute counts.”