ATLANTA - As the number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus continues to rise in Georgia, health officials are asking people to be extra cautious about their activities.
Going to places like crowded bars and clubs could significantly increase the risk of catching or passing the virus along to someone else.
"You know, sometimes something might be allowed but it's not necessarily something you should do," said Lynn Paxton, Fulton County district health director.
Heretic, a bar in Atlanta, posted on their Facebook page stating they've been made aware of two people who were at an event on June 20 who have since tested positive for the virus.
According to the post, staff will now require temperature checks at the door and require people to wear masks.
Health experts say it's troubling that the 18-29 age group currently has the most cases in the state.
This age group is the most likely to visit places like bars and clubs.
Those in this group could be asymptomatic, but they could pass it along to someone else who is more affected.
Health officials said the precautions in place are just not enough to keep them from catching and spreading the virus.
Bars and clubs need to meet 39 guidelines, according to Governor Brian Kemp's executive order.
They include things like sanitizing the facility frequently, providing hand sanitizer for patrons, preventing congregating and preventing activities that enable contact between people.
According to Robert Bednarczyk, assistant professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory University, it's still a risky move.
"Going to a bar or a nightclub right now is going to have a lot more risk to it than many other activities. People tend to be packed a little bit more closer together, there may be less ventilation, you're not out in the open, as you be let's say, walking on the beltline, Bednarczyk said. "If people are trying to talk to each other, you may have to speak a little louder. If you're speaking louder, if you're projecting out a little more, there's a greater chance that those droplets that contain the virus to be spread out."
Bednardczyk said wearing masks could help, but it wouldn't get rid of the problem.
"They will keep those droplets closer to you. it'll offer less opportunity for that to spread to the people around you, but again, that being said, if you have many people that are congregated close together, it'll reduce that risk but it's not going to fully eliminate that risk," Bednarczyk said.
Paxton and Bednarczyk both understand the public's desire to get back to a normal life. They also understand the need for businesses to make money.
However, they both say right now is the time to evaluate the risks of taking part in activities.
"Take a critical look at what they're doing and where they're going. Try to evaluate, is this truly safe for me and safe for me to not get the virus or pass on the virus to someone else," Paxton said.
Those who do visit crowded bars of clubs should keep an eye on their symptoms. They should also keep in contact with those they were with, in case they start to develop any symptoms.
Paxton also asks people to please pick up the phone if the Fulton County health department calls.
They could be calling for contact tracing, letting you know you've come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
Best prevention measures:
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
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