After our previous two spring/summertime holidays -- the Fourth of July and Memorial Day -- many parts of the nation had a spike in new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases as people let their guards down and flocked to beaches, lakes, pools, parks and other places to celebrate like they have in years past.
But 2020 is a year unlike almost all of the others.
With the specter of COVID-19 looming over our lives, officials are worried that another warm holiday weekend will lead to yet another spike in COVID-19 cases.
On Friday, Gov. Brian Kemp and the state Department of Public Health launched a media blitz to coincide with the Labor Day weekend. Kemp flew around the state urging Georgians and visitors to the Peach State to take precautions while enjoying their holiday weekend.
Those precautions are being called Four Things for Fall COVID-19 prevention. They are:
• Wear a face covering in public.
• Stay 6 feet away from others.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Follow the public health guidance outlined in Kemp's executive order.
As a fifth tip -- to keep the alliteration of Five Things for Fall intact -- is getting your flu shot.
"This year it is more important than ever to get a flu shot," said Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health. "We want to protect people from getting the flu and prevent our healthcare providers and hospitals from being overburdened with flu and COVID-19 patients."
On Friday afternoon, the state reported 279,354 cumulative, confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,931 deaths attributed to the virus. Whitfield County is up to 4,079 cumulative, confirmed COVID-19 cases -- an increase of 266 in the past two weeks -- with 55 deaths attributed to the virus. Out of 159 Georgia counties, Whitfield County ranks 25th in the number of cases per 100,000 residents.
We understand the desire to spend this Labor Day like we have past years, surrounded by friends, family, food and fun. Please, take COVID-19 seriously. If you do celebrate, take these precautions to heart.
Not only are we keeping ourselves safe, we are keeping others safe.