As of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, both Butts County and Westbury Medical and Rehab have cause for celebration, with the numbers of deaths in the county — reported by the Department of Public Health (DPH) — remaining at 17 for the last 7 days, and with 92 Westbury residents having recovered from the virus and only 10 others remaining symptomatic.

As of May 12, Westbury has reported 24 deaths from the virus, with 92 residents recovered, 10 residents that remain symptomatic, and only one new case. The difference in the number of deaths reported by Westbury and the DPH is because deaths are not included in the DPH report until they can be confirmed as COVID-19 related.

“Some of them I think that DPH may not consider COVID-19 related deaths, but anyone (at Westbury) who tested positive at any point in time, we are considering them as a positive death,” said Westbury Administrator Jennifer Vasil. “Even though they may have had a stroke after having been considered recovered, we still have to include them.

“We’re trying to clarify that with the state, because it is going to get more muddy as time goes by,” she added. “DPH requirements and our requirements are different, so that’s why it really doesn’t line up.”

Vasil admits the past six weeks since the virus was first found in Westbury have been tough for the residents, their families, and the staff, having a chance to celebrate the recoveries put a smile on everyone’s faces (behind the masks).

“We celebrated recovery and victory over COVID-19 with three of our residents today,” Vasil said in a Facebook post on May 7. “We cannot wait to continue the celebration of many more residents with a parade next week!”

May 10-16 is National Skilled Nursing Care Week, and to celebrate the residents who have recovered, Westbury will be having a family and community parade for all residents on May 14.

“We ask that you decorate your vehicle with signs/posters, etc. for your loved one or decorate showing support/thanks for the facility,” Vasil wrote. “The parade will be broken up into 3 different parades depending on the hall that your loved one is on. We ask that anyone participating call the facility and speak with the Activity Director and let her know by 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13. At this time, the Activity Director will let you know what time your loved one will be outside for the parade, depending on their hall location.

“Some residents may not feel like participating, or may be unable to participate due to health concerns. If this is the case, we will let you know ahead of time if you are signed up to participate. All residents will have to wear an N95 mask in order to participate. If your loved one is unwilling to wear a mask or unable to wear one, they will be unable to participate in the parade.”

Vasil also thanked her staff for their efforts and Butts County community for their support during this crisis.

“Our staff love our residents, are dedicated to the care we provide, and are true healthcare heroes,” she wrote. “Our small community of Butts County has reached out in many ways to uplift and assist as we fight this tough fight and we are endlessly thankful for the support of our local community. We truly appreciate your continued prayers, support, kind words, and thoughts as we battle this invisible virus together.”

Butts County numbers on May 12 were 191 confirmed cases, 17 deaths, and 20 hospitalizations. The difference from the May 5 report were 39 more confirmed cases and four more hospitalizations, but for the first time since April 21, no increase in the number of deaths.

Of the 17 deaths, 15 have occurred at Westbury Medical Care and Rehab, one was an inmate at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison (GDCP), and one was a Butts County resident.

In Georgia, as of 1 p.m. on May 12, there have been a total of 262,179 tests completed, with 34,635 confirmed cases, 6,138 hospitalizations, 1,443 patients in intensive care, and 1,461 deaths.

In the eight-county area surrounding and including Butts County, there have been a total of 1,438 confirmed cases, 57 deaths, and 195 hospitalizations as of 1 p.m on May 12. That is an increase of only 2 deaths since the May 5 report. One occurred in Henry County, and the other in Spalding County.

Here are the counts:

♦ Henry: 614 confirmed, 15 deaths, 75 hospitalizations

♦ Newton: 260 confirmed, 8 deaths, 39 hospitalizations

♦ Spalding: 237 confirmed, 12 deaths, 39 hospitalizations

♦ Butts: 191 confirmed, 17 deaths, 20 hospitalizations

♦ Lamar: 40 confirmed, 1 death, 6 hospitalizations

♦ Monroe: 40 confirmed, 4 deaths, 8 hospitalizations

♦ Jones: 30 confirmed, 0 deaths, 4 hospitalizations

♦ Jasper: 26 confirmed, 0 deaths, 4 hospitalizations

A total of 66 active testing sites are now up and running around Georgia. The closest testing sites to Butts County are:

♦ Heritage Senior Center, 1050 Florence McGarity Blvd., McDonough, Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

To receive a test at this facility, please contact your medical provider or local public health officials for a referral: District 4 LaGrange Health District: 1, 800-847-4262

♦ Jasper County Health Department, 825 Eatonton St., Monticello, Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m

♦ Jones County Health Department, 114 Forest St., Gray, Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

♦ Macon-Bibb County Health Department, 171 Emery Highway, Macon, Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

To receive a test at one of these facilities, please contact your medical provider or local public health officials for a referral: District 5-2 North Central Health District (Macon): 1, 844-987-0099. You will receive a referral for the site of your choice.

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