Despite a recent, significant decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported daily in Bulloch County, the coronavirus remains deadly, and the passing of the 26th Bulloch resident to die from it was confirmed Tuesday.
The latest victim was a 69-year-old woman with “comorbidities,” Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn noted in his daily COVID-19 report.
No specifics were made public in relation to the particular case. But cancer, chronic kidney disease, serious heart conditions, type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are among underlying, or “comorbid,” conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as putting people of any age at increased risk of severe illness from the novel coronavirus.
Just last Friday, Wynn’s report included Bulloch County’s 25th death from COVID-19, that of a 74-year-old woman, for whom it wasn’t known if she had any comorbid conditions. Ten days ago, Sept. 12, the report noted the death of the youngest Bulloch resident yet to succumb to the disease, a 36-year-old woman with no known underlying conditions.
As of Tuesday, East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro was treating 21 COVID-19 patients, including nine on ventilators. These numbers were down from 24 patients, including 10 on ventilators, Monday and 25 COVID patients, with 12 on ventilators, hospitalized at EGRMC on Sunday. The hospital numbers include patients from other counties, as well as Bulloch.
New cases down
Meanwhile, only eight newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported among Bulloch County residents in the 24 hours before Tuesday’s update from the Georgia Department of Public Health. This was up from just six new cases in Monday’s report, but down from 24 in Sunday’s.
Days with single-digit new case counts continue to pull down the 14-day rate of new cases, signaling an improvement that local officials were hoping to see.
As of Tuesday, Bulloch County’s rate was 390 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. That is still well above the official goal of less than 100 cases per 100,000 people to control community spread, but it’s down by two-thirds from the 1,209 new cases that occurred in the two weeks prior to the Sept. 9 report. At that time, Bulloch ranked in the top 20 U.S. counties for newly reported cases.
Since the disease was first reported here in March, there have been 2,796 cases confirmed among Bulloch County residents, resulting in 130 hospitalizations and the 26 deaths. The Bulloch County EMS has transported or contacted 125 people with probable COVID-19 and 128 people with confirmed cases.
Statesboro High School had one new case reported among students and employees Tuesday, resulting in nine people going to precautionary 14-day quarantine. None of the other 14 schools in the Bulloch County system had any new cases Tuesday, but one person connected with Southeast Bulloch High School was quarantined because of a possible contact elsewhere.
With 80 cases among students and personnel since the start of school Aug. 17, the Bulloch County schools have had 739 individuals in precautionary quarantine at one time or another. Of those individuals, 190 remained quarantined Tuesday.
EGSC and OTC
Meanwhile, East Georgia State College recorded three new, self-reported cases of COVID-19 Monday, but all were on the Swainsboro campus. The last new case on EGSC’s Statesboro campus was reported one week earlier, but 13 cases were reported there Sept. 1-14.
Ogeechee Technical College had five cases reported, all on its Bulloch County campus, the week of Sept. 14-20, after six cases Sept. 7-13 but 12 cases Aug. 31-Sept. 6.
As previously reported, Georgia Southern University had 54 new cases, including 47 cases on the Statesboro campus, in the seven days that ended Sunday. These numbers have declined each week since with the case counts having dropped every week since Aug. 24-30, when 508 cases were reported among the university’s students and employees, including 487 on the Statesboro campus.
The Bulloch County Health Department, 1 W. Altman St., Statesboro, continues to serve as a COVID-19 testing site, or specimen point of collection. It operates 8 a.m. till noon Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. To schedule a free test, call (855) 473-4374 or visit www.sehdph.org/covid-19, where a test can be scheduled online.
Additional free COVID-19 testing continues Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Luetta Moore Park, 121 Martin Luther King Jr Drive.