The first confirmed case of a Bulloch County resident contracting coronavirus was reported on March 27 and for the first time since then, the daily number of Bulloch County COVID-19 cases has exceeded triple digits.
After recording a single-day record of 64 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the Georgia Department of Health reported that Bulloch County more than doubled that total Friday with 133 confirmed COVID-19 cases within a 24-hour period.
The two-day total of 197 cases was slightly more than the total cases — 183 — reported in Bulloch County on June 23, which was three months after the first reported local case.
The 133 new cases reported Friday bring the total number of confirmed cases in Bulloch to 1,743 since the start of the pandemic.
The drastic increase in coronavirus cases could be linked to “Georgia Southern University students returning and school starting back,” said Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn. “That is the only change. We expected this but going to 133 in a day is alarming.”
All that can be done to lower the number of cases is to continue to encourage others to socially distance, wear masks, stay home if sick and maintain excellent hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, he said.
In his daily report to the public, Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff were caring for 21 patients Friday, six of whom were on ventilators.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bulloch County has reported 112 hospitalizations and 21 deaths. Bulloch County EMS has transported a total of 99 people with probable COVID-19 and 92 with confirmed cases, he said.
In Georgia, the state reported 2,383 new cases Friday, pushing the total number of confirmed cases to 265,372. The state reported 79 deaths Friday, raising the death toll to 5,471.
In the United States, 181,186 Americans have died from coronavirus, and the U.S. has recorded 5,889,652 confirmed cases, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Georgia hot spots
While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to decline slowly in Georgia, the state continues to have the second-highest number of newly confirmed cases per capita over the past 14 days, according to calculations by The Associated Press.
Also, three Georgia counties appear among the top 20 hot spots for new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, as compiled Wednesday by the New York Times.
Cases at Fort Benning are driving high virus numbers in Chattahoochee County, which is No. 3 in per capita rates among counties nationally in the past week, according to the Times’ list.
Clinch County, in South Georgia, is No. 12. It’s a county that has high levels of poverty and obesity. Health officials in that area link the jumps in new infections to many people not wearing masks or social distancing.
Bibb County, the home of Macon, is listed at 16th. Bibb has seen high numbers of positive tests, said Michael Hokanson, a Public Health spokesman for the health district.
“It’s a variety of things,” he said Wednesday. “More community spread. People not following [safety] guidelines. More testing.”