Friday, March 27, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
VALDOSTA HAS FIRST DEATH FROM VIRUS
GOV. KEMP EXTENDS SCHOOL CLOSURE THROUGH APRIL 24
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Valdosta-Lowndes County recorded its first death from COVID-19 on Thursday, and as the number of infections rise in Georgia, Gov. Brian P. Kemp closed public elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction through April 24.

The Ga. Department of Public Health's (DPH) South Health District has confirmed the first COVID-19-related death of a Lowndes County resident. The person was a 66-year old male with underlying medical conditions who was hospitalized at South Georgia Medical Center , the DPH said in a press release.

 “Our thoughts go out to the family that has experienced this loss ,” said William R. Grow , district health director. “I encourage everyone to take guidance given by officials seriously and stay home to slow the spread of this devastating disease .”

The South Health District has received confirmation of six new cases of COVID-19 in addition to the related death: Two of the individuals are residents of Tift County, two are in Lowndes County , one individual is a resident of Irwin County and one is a resident of Turner County .

As of DPH's 7 p.m. Thursday update, Tift County has a total of seven residents who have tested positive for COVID-19; Worth, six; Colquitt, four; Irwin, three; Coffee and Turner counties, two; and Ben Hill County, one.

Dougherty County has a total of 164 cases – the second most in Georgia, surpassing DeKalb County. There are 1,643 confirmed cases in the state with a total of 56 deaths.

STUDENTS TO STAY HOME A LITTLE LONGER

According to Gov. Kemp on Thursday, public school students may return to their classrooms on Monday, April 27, unless the date is extended again.

In response to Kemp's order closing public schools at least through April 24, the Tift County School System said " all Tift County schools buildings and facilities will continue to be shut down through April 24 , 2020. We will share information regarding Tift County High School's prom as soon as it is available."

Superintendent Adam Hathaway said learning will continue remotely, and the Tift School System will observe spring break April 6-10, as noted on the school calendar.

Also Thursday, Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC), which has a Tifton campus, announced that its spring semester courses will go online as of April 6 and will remain online until further notice . SRTC's spring semester has been extended until May 13 , and the summer semester will now begin on May 21 .  

The University System of Georgia will remain closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the semester; students have already transitioned to online learning.
TRMC LAB TO BEGIN
IN-HOUSE COVID-19 TESTING
Tift Regional Medical Center's laboratory , recently accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) , hopes to begin in-house testing for COVID-19 within the next week .

By testing patient samples in the hospital's lab rather than sending them out, COVID-19 test results should only take about an hour . Currently, COVID-19 results are taking at least 48 hours.

CAP's Accreditation Committee recently conducted on-site inspection of TRMC's lab as part of CAP’s accreditation program.

“It is an honor to receive this accreditation from the College of American Pathologists , particularly at a time when labs are so vital ,” said Dr. Jessica Beier , medical director of Tift Regional Health System Labs.

“This really shows the hard work and dedication of our staff, and we know that will continue as we work to do in-house COVID-19 tests .”

TRMC's laboratory is one of more than 8,000 CAP-accredited facilities worldwide.
The federal government recognizes the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960s , as being equal to, or more stringent than, the government’s own inspection program .
ABAC GOING TO 4-DAY WEEK
Because of the changes brought about by the coronavirus, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will begin a four-day work week beginning April 6 through July 24 .

Paul Willis, e xecutive vice president for finance and administration, said ABAC will be open from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays . The college will be closed Fridays .
“With no students on campus during the remainder of the spring semester, this gives us a chance to be as energy efficient as possible,” Willis said. “ Employees will be able to spend a three-day weekend with their families throughout this time frame.”
Willis said ABAC will return to its regular hours July 27 . The fall semester begins Aug. 12.
Along with the other students in the 26 University System of Georgia institutions , ABAC students will begin taking all their classes online on March 30 to adhere to USG guidelines. All spring semester events have been cancelled , including the spring commencement ceremony.
GA PEANUT COMMISSION FUNDING RESEARCH AT UGA, ABAC, USDA
The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) board of directors has approved $739,693 in research project funding for the 2020-21 research budget year.

The research projects include 40 proposals submitted from the University of Georgia, USDA Agricultural Research Service and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

“As a peanut grower, I’m proud to invest in the Georgia Peanut Commission and in the future of the peanut industry by supporting research that continues to demonstrate a return on our investment,” says Donald Chase, GPC Research Committee chairman.

“We are proud of our partnership with research institutions and look forward to seeing the results which will benefit farmers in the state and the entire peanut industry.”

Georgia’s peanut growers invest $2 per ton annually toward GPC programs, which includes research, promotion and education. The research programs primarily focus on peanut breeding, conservation methods, irrigation and water management, as well as pests, and weed and disease management.
OCILLA SETS BLOOD DRIVE APRIL 3
The 5th Annual Glenn Roberts Memorial Blood Drive Is scheduled for 7 a.m.-7 p.m. , Friday, April 3, at Irwin County Hospital in Ocilla .

The blood drive is held in honor of Glenn Roberts , an  Ocilla businessman, 1977 graduate of Irwin County High School and an avid hunter and fisherman, who died on June 4, 2016

In his battle against cancer , Roberts needed many transfusions of blood and platelets . The Glenn Roberts Memorial Blood Drive is held in hopes of offering second chances to patients and their families in the community.  
 
Appointments are honored , and walk-ins are welcome . Generally, healthy people age 16 and older who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate blood . A photo ID is required.

For information or to make an appointment , contact  Tammy or Traci at 229-468-9114 or email irwinchamber@windstream.net
HERE'S YOUR SIGN
ANS Signs employees Blake Moore and Ryan Duren change out the sign this week at the new location of Tifton Drug Co. , 602 Love Ave., while Russell Brown assists and directs. 
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S PETS OF THE WEEK
The cat and dog pictured here are among several animals recently rescued by Tift County Animal Control . If this is your pet, please call the animal shelter to claim, 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055   
CORONAVIRUS CLEARINGHOUSE
Important Phone Numbers & Web Sites
candle-flames-banner.jpg
MARCH 19
Mary Elizabeth Fender Thomas, 73, Nashville
Christine Tyson Patterson 82, Doerun
Jackie L. Owens, 68, Fitzgerald
Jim F. Anderson, 73, Tifton

MARCH 20
Toney Marcus Anderson Jr., 44, Tifton
Jack Junior Scarborough, 80, Ty Ty  
George Pfeiffer, 85, Adel

MARCH 21
Annette Warren Butler, 79, Sylvester
Veronica Mathis Dunn, 57, Tifton
Sarah Mae Sheppard Molton, 88, McRae
Dorothy “Dot” L. Lumpkin, 79, Ashburn
Versa Mae Law, 91, Fitzgerald
Curtis L. Golden, 88, Fitzgerald
Freddie Mae Holland, 82, Sylvester

MARCH 22
Barbara Rutland Wagner, 78, Lake City, Fla.
Eddie Lee Smith, 63, Tifton
Terri T. Fuller, 54, Doerun
Jean Clara Bryant Smoak, 83, Sylvester
Gage N. White 20, Sylvester
Lawrence Lee “Dickie” Bryant, 71, Fitzgerald


MARCH 23
Tom "Tommy" Junior Venable, 62, Adel
Daniel Eugene Beard, 47, Ashburn
Harold Spradley, 81, Adel
Ruth Parker, Albany

MARCH 24
Mark Croft, 56, Sparks
Shirley Mitchell, 82, Tifton
Mary Chambless Jones, 92, Nashville

MARCH 25
Jacquelin L. Spradley, 77, Hartsfield
Carl Fred “Pat” Starke, III, 68, Ocilla

MARCH 26
Derrick Ogletree, 67, Ashburn
Harriette McPhaul Adams, 93, Gainesville, Fla.
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Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC , Tifton, Georgia