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New COVID-19 hotspot emerges in Hancock County

State says two nursing home outbreaks have driven higher COVID-19 numbers in that county.

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ga. — Hancock County, located between Atlanta and Augusta, is a new COVID-19 hotspot because of an outbreak in two nursing homes.

Hancock County has gotten a lot of attention over the last few days among state officials trying to wrangle the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, according to Gov. Brian Kemp.

The most alarming COVID-19 outbreaks in Georgia are in the southwestern part of the state.  Yet, Hancock County's rate of COVID-19 infection is now on par with some of those counties in the state's southwestern region. 

Kemp says much of Hancock County’s outbreak is tied to two facilities. As of 1 p.m. Friday, Hancock County had 146 cases. One hundred-ten of those came from the two nursing homes, according to the Georgia Department of Health

The state said one of the nursing homes, Sparta Health and Rehabilitation, has had 52 positive COVID-19 residents and 20 staff members with positive cases. The state says 13 residents at the facility have died from COVID-19.

RELATED: Real-time updates | Coronavirus in Georgia

The other nursing home, Providence of Sparta Health and Rehab, has 27 positive cases of COVID-19 and 11 staff members with positive cases of COVID-19. The center lists one death from the virus.

The state's long-term care COVID data is here

"They look like a hotspot. I don’t think it’s a countywide problem," Kemp said. "This quite honestly is what we’re seeing around the state. We’re not seeing large community spread right now. We’re seeing it tied to a specific facility or neighborhood or instance."

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19: Georgia Coronavirus Interactive map

Hancock County has had more than its share of issues. Its poverty and unemployment rates are typically among the state’s highest.  And now its high COVID-19 rate is among the state’s highest.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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