Catoosa County Schools make temporary changes to COVID-19 protocols

RINGGOLD, Ga. (WDEF)- Catoosa County Schools started back on Monday and their Superintendent has made some temporary changes based off recent COVID-19 numbers.

As of yesterday, Catoosa County Schools are requiring students to wear masks on buses and while they change classes in the hallway. Superintendent Reese says that while the changes are temporary, the county is trying to avoid returning to a hybrid schedule.

Dr. Gary Voccio says, “In children, there is an 82% increase for newborns and four year olds and a 62% increase between ages 5 and 17. So, all age groups have been affected.”

According to the Georgia Department of health, Catoosa County has had over 270 new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.

Dr. Gary Voccio is the health director for the ten-county Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District.

He says that cases are rising all around the state.

“We are seeing a tremendous increase in COVID cases. We have not seen the numbers that we are experiencing now since last winter, I’m afraid to say. All increases are being seen in all age groups. All age groups have been affected. In fact, all age groups have been affected with being hospitalized, except for children fortunately.”

Catoosa County has been hosting vaccine events weekly.

News 12 asked Steven Henry, Catoosa County Commission Chairman, “How is Catoosa County doing on vaccinations at the current time? Are you seeing an increase in people wanting to get vaccinated, or are people a little bit hesitant still?”

Henry says, “You know, they are a little bit hesitant. But, we’ve started to do every Thursday from 5-7 at the Bibb Place campus, or the Colonnade over there and the first week, we did 75. The next week we did 124 and last night, we did 198. So, it’s climbing every single week. So, my hope is that we will have to put on some more hours and do it a little bit longer.”

Similar to Hamilton County Schools, parents in Catoosa County can opt out of the mask requirement.

Catoosa county says that they plan on opening another COVID-19 testing location in the near future.

For a full list of Catoosa County Schools mitigation strategies, click here.

Categories: Catoosa County, COVID-19, Featured, Health, Local News