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Tanner strikes virus care tents

Tanner Health System is removing its external care tents in a first step towards resuming normal operations.

On March 23, Tanner Health System installed tents outside the emergency departments at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica and Higgins General Hospital in Bremen as the health care workers prepared for an influx of patients from the COVID-19 pandemic.

These tents served as auxiliary care sites, complete with exam tables, recliners and climate control.

But on Monday, Tanner announced that the tents would be coming down at all three campuses. Hospital officials said the emergency department leadership has determined the tests are no longer necessary due to a flattened number of positive cases and admissions.

Taking down the tents is part of the health system’s first moves to return to normal operations, according to a hospital spokesperson. Due to the recent shelter-at-home restrictions, Tanner has experienced a back-log of surgical procedures, many of which have become urgent. Plans are underway to begin surgical procedures within the next two weeks, the spokesman said.

“Our emergency departments are designed for flexibility,” Timothy Paul, MD, a board-certified emergency physician with Tanner said in a news release. “We built them to accommodate a wide range of needs — from an influx of major trauma to a pandemic response. As the surge of COVID-19 begins to flatten, we can be confident that our existing units can meet the expanded need without requiring the additional space.”

As of Monday morning, the health system had 384 positive COVID-19 test results, 34 positive inpatient cases at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, and three positive inpatient cases at Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica, according to Tanner’s reporting system.

There have been 128 positive patients admitted to the hospitals and 83 have been discharged. There have been 18 patients who have died, not all of whom are from the immediate area.

There have been 2,768 COVID-19 tests administered, and 56 tests are awaiting independent outside lab results. The total number of positive tests represent 14.19% of total tests resulted.

Despite removing the tents, physicians are still urging residents to continue social distancing and take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 so the tents won’t be necessary again.

“We’re able to take down the tents because our community responded appropriately to the COVID-19 threat,” said Dr. Paul. “Social distancing, staying away from crowds, sheltering at home — all of these have stopped the spread so we can keep pace with caring for the sick. And that’s going to remain important in the weeks to come to ensure we don’t encounter a second surge.”

Three charged after robbery

Three individuals were arrested Saturday after one of them claimed he had been robbed at a Bankhead Highway motel.

Carrollton Police Department responded to an armed robbery at 2:35 a.m. on April 25 at the Red Roof Inn on Bankhead Highway.

Devin Brown, 23-years-old of Temple; Kristen Cole, 20-years-old of Temple, and Jimmy Moore, 49-years-old of Carrollton, were all arrested on Saturday.

According to an incident report from the police department, Moore called the police in reference to an armed robbery. When officers arrived, according to the report, Moore told police he had been robbed at gunpoint with his own gun by four individuals in a car.

One of the suspects allegedly took Moore’s gun from the center console and demanded all his money, which was approximately $2,000. The suspects took the money and fled, but were later stopped by officers on Sales Barn Road, according to the report.

The suspects were found with a large number of drugs and police questioned Moore about his drug use, which Moore denied. Police said security camera footage shows both Moore and the suspects in the parking lot “for a long time before the robbery took place” according to the report.

Moore was arrested on one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was issued a $7,500 bond and has been released from the Carroll County Jail.

Cole was arrested on one count of armed robbery, one count of possession with intent to distribute, one count of possession of methamphetamine, and one count of possessing a Schedule IV drug. She was denied bond and, as of Monday evening, was in custody at the Carroll County Jail. Brown was arrested on one count of armed robbery and one count of aggravated assault. He was denied bond and was in custody at Carroll County Jail as of Monday evening.


Man charged after scuffle at car dealership

A 26-year-old man was arrested Saturday at a hospital, where he was being treated for a stab wound he received in a scuffle at a car dealership.

Curtis Ball of Bremen was arrested by the Carrollton Police Department for one count of aggravated assault, one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony, and one count of possession of a knife during attempt to commit felonies.

Officers responded to an assault at the Smart Deals Cars and Trucks on Bankhead Highway at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

According to an officer’s report, an employee told police that an individual later identified as Ball came to the car lot to test drive a vehicle. When the employee asked to see Ball’s driver’s license, Ball refused, claiming he left it at home.

Ball insisted on test driving the vehicle and became increasingly agitated, eventually producing a knife, according to the report. Ball demanded that the employee give him all his money, which was approximately $500, according to the report.

The employee told police that while retrieving the money from his pocket, he “worked too hard to (retrieve) it” which resulted in Ball pushing the employee to the ground. The two fought and during the scuffle, Ball dropped his knife, according to the report.

The employee then stabbed Ball in the abdomen, causing Ball to flee. Officers on scene then found out that Ball was at Tanner Medical Center for his stab wound.

While at the hospital being interviewed by officers, Ball admitted to using meth five hours prior to the incident. Ball told officers that he was at the car lot to purchase a vehicle.

While there, Ball claimed an employee “pointed his finger at him” and Ball, claiming to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, started to fight because “he was not going to let this guy belittle him” according to the report.

Ball was issued a $12,000 bond and as of Monday evening was in custody of the Carroll County Jail.

County parks could reopen as soon as May 4 amid coronavirus pandemic

County parks could reopen as early as May 4 for residents to walk, run or hike during the coronavirus pandemic.

The John Tanner, Little Tallapoosa and McIntosh Reserve parks have been closed since April 3 as part of an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. A day later, Gov. Brian Kemp issued his shelter-in-place order statewide.

That order is set to expire on Wednesday unless the governor decides to extend the rules. Kemp announced last week that some businesses — such as restaurants, barber shops, theaters and tattoo parlors — can reopen in an effort to reignite the state’s economy.

Social distancing rules — that is, maintaining a six-foot distance between other people — remain in place.

Ashley Hulsey, a spokesperson for the county’s coronavirus task force, said county officials will meet today, April 28, to discuss reopening the parks. Commission Chairman Michelle Morgan was unavailable for comment by press time on Monday.

Similarly, the City of Carrollton closed all city parks, but the GreenBelt is open for residents to get their exercise while the shelter-in-place rules are in effect. Opening the county’s parks will not affect these facilities.

“We know many of you are anxious to get the parks back open,” an April 21 Facebook post by the Carroll County government said. “We are working with the Carroll County Prison on when inmate labor can resume so the park bathrooms, camp sites, playgrounds, and common areas can be cleaned and ready for you to enjoy. Your health along with our staff is our No. 1 priority.”

Jail and prison officials are working to keep the coronavirus out of their facilities while trying to keep employees and other inmates inside safe. While neither the jail or prison have reported any cases, both facilities are taking precautions against a potential outbreak.

“Our hopes are the numbers of those infected will not spike and put us in the position to continue to limit our services, as we along with everyone else would love to get back to “normal”, however the health and safety of our employees and the public is our number one priority,” the Facebook post said.

‘We cannot stress enough how important it is with the governor’s executive order that we still maintain self-responsibility, be considerate of others, practice social distancing, and count on everyone to do their part so we don’t take two steps back.”

All county offices will remain closed until further notice, and residents will be seen by appointment only at any of these facilities or the courthouse. County employees will continue to rotate shifts and work from home as much as possible where feasible to keep workers safe.

If the parks are reopened, residents can expect the facilities’ bathrooms to remain closed as a safety precaution.