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Bob Kepshire, of University Hospital McDuffie, has been one of the main medical professionals on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 in McDuffie County.

It has been roughly a year since the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This pandemic caused plenty of cities and states to shutdown causing businesses to halt their work.

Bob Kepshire, administrator and chief nursing officer at University Hospital McDuffie, has been at the forefront for McDuffie County.

Kepshire provided an update for McDuffie County for COVID.

“According to the Georgia Department of Public Health website, since reporting starting, there have been a total of 1,590 confirmed positive cases in McDuffie County with 19 new positive cases being reported in the last two weeks,” Kepshire said. “Additionally the website reports that there have been a total of 38 confirmed deaths due to COVID.”

According to Kepshire, the hospital is not coordinating with any vaccine clinics in McDuffie County. The number of positive cases has gone down, according to Kepshire.

“Actually the number of new positive patients and hospitalizations are way down which is great news given the huge spike we saw in the CSRA, and across the country, after the Christmas Holiday Season,” Kepshire said.

According to Kepshire, the effect the pandemic has had on McDuffie County has been big. People have had to change their everyday activities.

“The need to wear a mask and social distance while out of the house is something that was foreign to Americans prior to the pandemic,” Kepshire said. “I think that not being able to travel, or attend church services or gather with family and friends has likely impacted individuals differently. I would say that when people are isolated from interacting with others it can lead to anxiety or depression.”

The pandemic has also had a lasting effect on businesses not only in McDuffie County, but across the country, and even the world.

According to Kepshire, the virus is still alive and well. The new strains of the COVID-19 virus have evolved.

“Proper mask wear, diligent hand hygiene and social distancing have been key ways to combat the virus,” Kepshire said.

The ongoing developments of the vaccines have been a big breakthrough in the battle against the coronavirus, according to Kepshire.

“The thing everyone needs to fully understand is that we all must still pay very close attention to follow the guidelines as set out by the CDC,” Kepshire said. “Even though vaccines are available and there have been people who have been fortunate enough to have already received them, we still cannot stop following the CDC's guidance on how to protect ourselves and others.”

Jacqueline Fincher, a doctor at Center for Primary Care, is another medical professional that has been on the frontlines during COVID here in McDuffie County.

“We’ve learned a tremendous amount in a year,” Fincher said.

According to Fincher, there have been treatment improvements and a better idea of what does and doesn’t work. As of right now there are four vaccines that work. Those include Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and AstraZeneca, according to Fincher.

“Having all these vaccines will help us get back to a new normal,” Fincher said.

As far as what vaccine could start being used more, Fincher thinks it’ll be the Johnson and Johnson.

“I think we’ll see the Johnson and Johnson used more because it’s one shot and it’s way easier,” Fincher said.

According to Fincher, a vaccination clinic was run at the Center for Primary Care (CPC), and the Moderna vaccine was used. Fincher can see that coronavirus settling down some.

“It’s definitely calming down, thank the lord,” Fincher said.

COVID-19 has been tough on people throughout the community over the last year.

“It’s been really tough on everybody,” Fincher said. “Seen increases in anxiety and depression.”

According to Fincher, being isolated from family and friends is never easy. Especially during the holiday months like November, December, and January.

“We’re finally through the cold, dark, and rainy winter,” Fincher said.

Some of the improvements that people have been using over the last year is that masks make a huge difference, everyone should make sure they are using the correct hygiene, and learning what medicines are helpful and which ones aren’t, according to Fincher.