A second Augusta Commissioner has tested positive for COVID-19.
In a text to The Augusta Press Publisher Joe Edge, District 1 Commissioner Jordan Johnson confirmed he had COVID-19 on Jan. 5.
“Just tested positive for COVID-19,” Jordan texted shortly after 1 p.m. “Wanted to put it out there before it leaked.”
Johnson also posted the news on his Facebook page and Twitter account.
“As of noon today, I have tested positive for Covid-19. Please continue to wear your mask and keep your distance. If you aren’t vaccinated, get vaccinated. This variant will sneak up on you. I didn’t experience my first symptom until 7 p.m. yesterday. Be safe out there,” he wrote.
Johnson attended the Jan. 4 commission meeting. He could be seen in his seat, not wearing a mask. There is a mask mandate in effect for all city buildings, but commissioners are separated by plexiglass shields and routinely remove their masks.
Johnson sits next to District 8 Commissioner Brandon Garrett. Garrett is the other commissioner to test positive for SARS-CoV-2. Garrett was diagnosed with the virus late in August 2021, at one point posting to his Facebook page about losing his sense of smell.
Johnson is one of the thousands of new cases being reported across the country and locally in Georgia and South Carolina.
The climbing numbers have now prompted the Richmond County School System to announce two schools will transition to [email protected] instruction due to staff absences related to COVID-19. Sue Reynolds Elementary and Jenkins-White Elementary will begin remote learning Jan. 6 through Jan. 10 and return for in-person classes on Jan. 11.
In Columbia County, Associate Superintendent Penny Jackson said, “We continue to monitor our numbers and will adjust accordingly should our cases warrant a different course of action.” She added, “We have not had any discussion of going virtual.”
Stephanie Behrendt, communications coordinator for Aiken County schools said they continue to monitor COVID-19 cases in schools daily.
“Any decision made to go completely virtual will be made on a school-by-school basis but at this time it is unlikely that we’ll be going virtual based upon current data,” said Behrendt. “In the event we’ll need to go virtual, we are better prepared thanks to our school district’s one-to-one device initiative and dual modality instruction.”
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 55,973 cases, and the positivity rate has climbed to 10.8%. It had dropped to 9.8%. South Carolina reported it passed 1 million cases on Jan. 1 with a positivity rate of more than 25%, meaning one in every four South Carolinians currently being tested had the virus.
University Hospital reported nearly 20 new patients on Jan. 5, for a total of 107, have been admitted in the past 24 hours. The hospital is included on the list of locations where Gov. Brian Kemp is sending National Guard troops to provide assistance.
“Today’s numbers have caused us to open our third COVID-19 cohort unit,” said Director of Corporate Communications Rebecca Sylvester. “We requested four Guardsmen to assist with patient, visitor and traffic flow at the Emergency Department. We have not received confirmation on what we will receive and when.”
Augusta University Health had 78 inpatient COVID-19 cases on Jan. 5, 13 more than it had on Jan. 3.
Both hospitals report most patients admitted are unvaccinated.
Augusta Administrator Odie Donald and his spokeswoman Danielle Harris have not yet responded to whether they have been apprised that Commission Johnson has tested positive and if people attending the Tuesday commission meeting have been advised.