Fulton County dad, son test positive for coronavirus after Italy trip

Georgia Department of Public Health officials have confirmed that a local father and 15-year-old son have contracted the coronavirus.

Both have mild symptoms and are being isolated at their residence.

Others in the household including a spouse and another child, have been isolated as well, and are being tested, according to Channel 2 Action News and state public health officials.

The two are the first cases in Georgia.

»THE LATEST: Complete coverage of coronavirus in Georgia

The DPH said they are investigating who the coronavirus patients might have been in contact with after becoming infected.

The children in the Fulton case are home schooled, according to a Channel 2 Action News report.

The 56-year-old man experienced symptoms following a trip to Milan, Italy. He returned home on Feb. 22, a Fulton County official said.

A father and son from Fulton County have the coronavirus. The cases were confirmed by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Both have mild symptoms and are isolated at their residence.

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The father and son saw a private doctor before being tested by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Channel 2 Action News reported. Both tested positive.

DPH continues to monitor the family, said Kemp in a statement.  According to the department, people who are identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly by a DPH epidemiologist and monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

“[State health officials] are confident that our efforts to prepare for this moment have enabled us to manage these cases appropriately and minimize any risks moving forward,” he added. “We remain in constant communication with our partners at all levels of government, and we will continue to update members of the public as information becomes available”

The illness, known as COVID-19, is characterized by fever and coughing and, sometimes, pneumonia and shortness of breath. Most of the cases have been in China, where roughly 80,000 have been sickened and at least 2,800 people have died.

Coronaviruses are similar illnesses to the flu. There are several strains, four of which actually cause the common cold, according to Dr. Cherie Drenzek, a state epidemiologist. Coronaviruses have been spreading in humans for years, and you’ve probably had one without knowing it.

Henry County leaders on Tuesday announced the south metro community was putting together a coronavirus committee to address issues with one voice should an infection be diagnosed in their area.

The county, which did not have any cases as of Tuesday afternoon, said the move was not to cause panic, but to assure residents that they have a plan should an infection arise.

“By starting the preparation now, we will be ready for it,” Assistant Henry County Manager Brad Johnson told an assembled group of leaders, including the mayors of Stockbridge and Hampton, County Commission Chairwoman June Wood and members of law enforcement, Henry Schools and health officials.

In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms discussed the city’s preparations for any potential health threat.

“The full efforts of the city are invested in the urgent and deliberate coordinated response with federal and state partners this health threat demands,” said Bottoms. “City officials — including those appointed to the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force— are working in concert to ensure the well-being of the people of Atlanta.”

Last month, Bottoms created the Mayor’s Pandemic Coordination Team, charged with leading the city’s strategic plan to ensure minimal impact to residents and city operations.

DPH commissioner Kathleen Toomey said the department was prepared for Georgia cases.

“The immediate risk of COVID-19 to the general public, however, remains low at this time,” said Toomey. “I cannot emphasize enough the need for all Georgians to follow the simple precautions that DPH always urges to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.”

The DPH best practices include washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. In addition, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Channel 2 Action News contributed to this report