For the first time in almost a year, Bulloch County recorded a day with no new COVID-19 cases. While Bulloch has had multiple days of only one reported case, May 26, 2020, was the last day without a single new case — until Monday.
At the same time, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered over the weekend the removal of most of the remaining requirements for social
distancing and masked employees from businesses, saying that the state's efforts to control COVID-19 have been successful even as its vaccination rate lags.
More than 6.4 million doses of vaccines have been given in Georgia, but the state ranks 44th in doses administered per capita to people 18 and older, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an effort to boost the ease of getting a vaccine, the Georgia Department of Public Health announced that no appointment would be necessary to receive the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at any of its eight mass vaccination clinics.
The closest clinic to Bulloch County is in Savannah at the Gulfstream building near the airport. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Local vaccine appointments are readily available at more than two dozen locations across Bulloch County, including pharmacies, East Georgia Regional Medical Center, local doctors’ offices and the Bulloch Health Department.
Among other notable changes to Georgia's rules: Restaurants are no longer required to have any distance between tables or to have any employees masked. They can also serve patrons who are standing up. Kemp had earlier cut the required distance between tables from 6 feet to 3.5 feet.
Movie theaters are no longer required to enforce any seating distance between unrelated customers, down from 3 feet and an earlier 6 feet.
Gyms no longer have to use contactless check-in, provide wipes, enforce social distancing, require 6 feet between people in fitness classes or encourage the use of face coverings.
After earlier repealing a 50-person limit on gatherings when people are closer than 6 feet, Kemp removed many of the remaining requirements on live performance venues and conventions. Convention workers no longer have to wear a mask. They no longer have to screen convention attendees, require preregistration, enforce social distancing on transportation, stagger attendance times, set up one-way aisles, or segregate attendees of different events.
The Atlanta Braves announced their stadium would go back to full capacity in June.
Across the nation, the average number of new cases per day fell below 50,000 for the first time since October. And nearly 1.67 million people were screened at U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration, the highest number since mid-March of last year.
As of Monday, 16,289 Bulloch residents had received at least one dose, an increase of 121 since Friday. The number of residents fully vaccinated is up to 13,327, an increase of 409 since Friday.
Across Georgia, 3,632,420 residents have received at least one dose as of Monday and 2,716,852 are fully vaccinated.
According to the CDC, more than 147 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 105 million have been fully vaccinated. However, the CDC also reports that the average number of doses given per day fell 27% from a high of 3.26 million on April 11 to 2.37 million last Tuesday.
Local, state COVID cases
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said with three new cases each on Saturday and Sunday and none on Monday, the county now has a total of 5,257 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. Overall, the COVID cases have resulted in 64 confirmed deaths and 216 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health has reported 49 non-confirmed deaths, which represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID symptoms and then died.
Across the state, there were 579 new cases on Monday, 669 on Sunday and 1,017 on Saturday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 882,074.
The state reported 15 deaths on Monday, none on Sunday and 19 on Saturday. Georgia’s death toll now stands at 17,593 since March 2020.
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Monday afternoon, 577,402 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 32,455,770 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
The Bulloch County Schools system had four new cases last week. A total of 638 COVID cases have been reported since classes started on Aug. 17. Since the beginning of March, the system has reported a total of only 43 new cases.
Georgia Southern had seven total cases reported April 26-May 2 — six self-reported and one university-confirmed case. GS reported 12 total cases for the week of April 19–25.
East Georgia State College has reported no new cases since April 18. The college has had a total of 159 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases the week of April 26–May 2 on the Bulloch campus. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 73 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.