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GA coroner passionately pleads with the community as the death toll rises every day

Coroner Michael Fowler urges people to understand the gravity of the situation. (Source: WALB)
Coroner Michael Fowler urges people to understand the gravity of the situation. (Source: WALB)(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 1:28 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler is pleading with the community to obey orders, warning the next deaths could be you or your loved one if you don’t.

Filled with anger, Fowler desperately pleads with a community that just doesn’t seem to grasp the gravity of its current situation.

“I want you to get the picture today. I don’t want to use this body bag. I want it to stay in the plastic.”

With 80 deaths in Dougherty County as of Monday, Fowler’s request seems far from reachable.

“Maybe it may be your loved one. Maybe it maybe you, that I have to come out and pronounce and use this body bag.”

Highlighting startling statistics, Fowler said 23 of the deaths from COVID-19 were people from South Albany and 11 from East Albany. 56 percent of the deaths are women and 77 percent are African Americans.

“A few weeks ago, I made the statement I did not want to reach 100. Well, we’re 3/4 of the way there. It’s sad. GEMA has set up a morgue for me last week and they finished it this morning.

I was hoping not to need that morgue, but the way it’s going, I’m going to need that morgue and another morgue.”

Fowler said law enforcement is still shutting down funerals, even as the death toll continues to rise.

“If that person was positive, most of the time, the family members in that house have been contaminated, too. May not have been tested yet, but others still want to get to the funeral and hang around and show your condolences. You can show your condolences by making a phone call.”

Fowler said he’s gotten to homes where people have died from COVID-19 and there are 30 people hanging out in the home without face masks.

“Will we make it to 100? We may make it to 100 before the week’s out. Will it be you? Obey the orders and then we’ll get past this area of life.”

Fowler also says the average age of deaths is 71-years-old, and that there have been two people in their 30′s, six in the 40′s and two in their 50′s who have died from the virus.

He also noted there have been 15 deaths in Northwest Albany.

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