Georgia’s first coronavirus cases reported in father, 15-year-old son

The first cases of coronavirus in Georgia are tied to a father and his 15-year-old son, according to reports.

Health officials in Georgia on Monday confirmed the state’s first two cases of the novel coronavirus, adding to a seemingly growing list of illnesses in the U.S., which has now seen at least nine deaths from the virus.

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In a news release on Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) said the two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Fulton County and involved two people who live in the same household. One of the two had recently returned from Italy, which has experienced a surge of cases in recent weeks. No other details were provided.

However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, citing public health officials, reported that the father, 56, was infected following a trip to Milan, which is located in Italy's Lombardy region — a region in the northern part of the country that’s been hit hard with the virus in recent weeks. He returned to the U.S. on Feb. 22 and began experiencing symptoms — reported to include fever, cough and shortness of breath — shortly after, the oultet reported, citing a Fulton County official.

He and his son saw a private doctor before they were tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

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The father’s spouse and second child are being tested for the virus, but results are pending. All household members are currently isolated. Both children are homeschooled.

The Georgia DPH is now working to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus while the two were infectious. (It’s worth noting that scientists think people who are asymptomatic can spread the virus, though how often this occurs is currently unclear.)

“People who are identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly by a DPH epidemiologist and monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms,” health officials said.

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“Our team has been working around the clock to prepare for any scenario. Already, state health officials have established contact with these individuals to gather more information, monitor their condition, and determine any exposure,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement.

In response to the cases, health officials reminded residents of best practices for staying healthy — which includes proper hand-washing. You can read more about washing your hands correctly here. Other ways to protect yourself can be found here.