Whitfield County makes national ranking with surge in COVID-19 cases, according to New York Times report

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / The Whitfield County Health Department is seen on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 in Dalton, Ga.

Whitfield County in Northwest Georgia has seen a surge in the number of positive coronavirus cases in the last week and a half. Public health experts say the rise is a result of increased testing and community spread, both at workplaces and in communities where social distancing is not always feasible.

Georgia was one of the first states in the country to reopen certain businesses and was known to have the most aggressive plan to do so.

On April 24, hair salons, spas, gyms, barbershops, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys were among the businesses that reopened to the public. Three days later, movie theaters and restaurants were able to open with capacity restrictions.

Local government started to slowly open around that same time.