Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal by clicking here. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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BREAKING NEWS: District 4 Health Issues a Retraction on Positive Pike County COVID-19 Cases
By Editor Becky Watts

LAGRANGE - District 4 Public Health has issued a retraction on yesterday's COVID-19 case count that included Pike County with three positive cases. According to the press release issued this morning, there are 76 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in District 4 and there are NO positive cases of COVID-19 in Pike County.

Pike County Times had some immediate concerns and questions about this situation. The first concern is that incorrect information was given to the public from an official source. The second was that the public may not pay attention to future information because of incorrect information being given to the media from an official source.

So Pike County Times contacted Hayla Folds, the Public Information Officer (PIO) for District 4, Georgia Department of Public Health, with some very pointed questions this morning. First, How did this happen? Second, what is being done to ensure that this does NOT happen again?

How did this happen?

PIO Folds responded by saying that, “The only explanation I have is human error in gathering the numbers.” She advised that someone pulled the information without filtering the positive results from the negative results from a county data list.

She apologized and said that she and the epidemiologist had the day off yesterday. “While the rest was much needed there was an error in gathering the numbers for the positive case counts. It was simply human error and we apologize for any confusion it has caused.”

What is being done to ensure that this does NOT happen again?

PIO Folds advised that District 4 will “report our numbers once a day for all 12 counties in ONE release” around 5 p.m. each day. “The information changes so quickly on our end that we are doing our absolute best to keep up with the information we have coming in to us. Our numbers are based on our local epidemiologist team.” She went on to say that the numbers given to the local media in this District are different from the State Department of Health because “the private lab test results get to us a little more quickly than the state.”

She emphasized that the following paragraph is important because no positive test results at this time “doesn’t mean that it isn’t in the county.”

“According to federal and state health officials, people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to be tested. Additionally, most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms do not need to be tested. The majority of people with COVID-19 can safely recover at home with self-isolation and symptomatic treatment. Diagnosis through laboratory testing does not change the care that they would receive. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 and should always consult their healthcare provider if they are sick.”


At this time, there are no positive results for COVID-19 in Pike County as was widely reported yesterday afternoon. However, just because there are not any positive results does not mean that COVID-19 is not in our county. “Cold-like” and “Flu-like” symptoms could mask a virus that can be spread with close contact.

Please practice handwashing, safe distancing, and staying home if possible to avoid spreading or coming in contact with those who may have this virus and not realize the seriousness of the sniffles that may be thought to be just from the pollen because it is that time of the year for sinus infections and the flu is still going around too.

Click here to see the corrected number of positive cases from District 4 Public Health in a county by county list issued this morning before 12 noon.

Click here to see Georgia Department of Public Health numbers with the understanding that the District 4 Department of Public Health obtains private testing numbers before the state does, and there is a lag in getting that information posted on the state website. Updates are provided on the state website at NOON and 7:00 pm every day.

And to compound matters, there is a lag of several days in getting the COVID-19 test done and obtaining the results.

Pike County Times will continue to monitor this situation and provide information to the public as it is obtained.

Thank you to First Bank of Pike for sponsoring Pike County Times’ Breaking News Alerts! First Bank of Pike has been serving customers in Pike County and the surrounding area since 1901 and offers Personal and Business banking with a personal touch. Services include checking, savings, money market, certificates of deposit, and IRA’s. Mobile Banking and Bill Payment services are also available! Click here for more. Please let First Bank of Pike know that you appreciate their sponsorship of Breaking News Alerts on Pike County's only FREE online newspaper!

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