DeKalb County officials alarmed about threat of Fourth of July COVID-19 infections

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange) — also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIH)

DeKalb County officials are planning to activate the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s warning system to send residents and visitors an alert about the threat of COVID-19 throughout the county during Fourth of July celebrations.

In a statement, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said that they are tracking an "alarming" increase in COVID-19 infections in both the county and the state.

Thurmond said that the county is especially concerned with the idea that tens of thousands of people will be gathering throughout the county to celebrate the Fourth of July, including large crowds at Stone Mountain State Park.

Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georgia

“Extraordinary measures must be taken to ensure that our residents and visitors are aware of the imminent threat and, more importantly, how to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus,” he said.

In order to try to reduce exposure, the county will send out email and voice messages to the county's CodeRED emergency notification system as well as targeting visitors to Stone Mountain Park with the county's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.

The county is urging all residents and visitors to protect themselves from the virus by wearing a mask in public, staying home whenever possible, practicing social distancing, and washing their hands often.

MORE: Georgia on track to surpass 1 million COVID-19 tests by midweek, data shows

DeKalb County currently has the state's third-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases - with nearly 6,000 according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The county has had 173 people die from the virus.

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