Following a spike in COVID-19 cases reported at the beginning of the Spring semester, Georgia Southern University has seen a significant decline in new cases the past two weeks.
Georgia Southern had 70 total cases reported Jan. 18-24 – 56 self-reported and 14 university confirmed cases – a 53-percent drop from the 133 cases for Jan. 5-11.
While the numbers are trending downward, university officials continued to stress the importance of following COVID safety guidelines.
“(We) encourage responsibility, especially to our students who are influencing others within their social networks,” the university said in a release. “We must continue to exercise responsibility both on and off campus – to wear face-coverings, remain socially distant from others, and wash hands frequently.”
The 70 new coronavirus cases include 55 on the Statesboro campus, 14 on the Armstrong-Savannah campus and one on the Liberty campus in Hinesville.
Meanwhile, Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said Bulloch reported 84 new cases since Friday. Also, the county recorded its 43rd fatality on Saturday. Wynn said the victim was an 87-year-old woman.
Wynn said Bulloch recorded 44 new cases on Saturday, 23 Sunday and 17 on Monday. Bulloch now has recorded 4,428 total COVID cases, which have resulted in 43 deaths and 176 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health is reporting an additional 26 deaths in Bulloch probably were caused by COVID. According to the Georgia DPH, the 26 non-confirmed deaths represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID-19 symptoms and subsequently died.
Georgia recorded 6,612 new cases on Saturday, 4,224 on Sunday and 3.559 on Monday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 722,062, an increase of 37,299 cases in the past week.
The death toll in Georgia slowed down on Sunday and Monday, after 711 state residents had died in the previous five days combined. For the second Sunday in a row, only three deaths were reported and 53 on Monday, pushing the total to 11,854 deaths since March.
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Monday were caring for 21 COVID patients, with six patients on ventilators.
COVID cases that require hospitalization are seeing a steady decline in Georgia. After setting a single-day high Jan. 11 with 6,108 state residents hospitalized, that number dropped to 5,293 hospitalized on Sunday.
Across the United States, cases that require hospitalization have seen a steady decline, as well, since hitting a peak on Jan. 6 of 132,474 Americans in the hospital with COVID. On Sunday, hospitalizations had dropped to 110,628. It marked the 12th consecutive day of a decline in hospitalizations.
As of Thursday, Bulloch County had received 6,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine and that number had not changed as of Monday evening. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports Georgia has given 674,967 shots out of the 1.2 million vaccine doses Pfizer and Moderna have shipped to the state.
Currently, anyone 65 and older is eligible to receive a vaccine along with other groups, including health care workers, law enforcement and rescue personnel.
East Georgia Regional Medical Center is scheduling a limited number of appointments to receive a vaccine. Call (912) 486-1811 to schedule an appointment.
The Bulloch Health Department has no vaccine appointments available through the first week of February at the Statesboro office on Altman St. But it is accepting appointments for the second week of February and beyond.
Also, appointments may be available at other locations in the 16-county Southeast Health District. Call (855) 473-4374 to schedule an appointment.
National case numbers
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Monday afternoon, 420,439 Americans had died from coronavirus – 45,066 in the past week. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 25,235,095 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, an increase of 1.2 million since last Monday.
The Bulloch County Schools system has reported six new cases this week for a total of 409 COVID cases since classes started on Aug. 17. The school system has recorded 156 confirmed cases since Jan. 3.
East Georgia State College reported one new case on its three campuses on Sunday. The college has had a total of 138 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported four new cases for the week of Jan. 18-24. The new cases include three students and one employee on the Statesboro campus. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 57 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.
The Bulloch County Health Department, 1 W. Altman St. in Statesboro, continues to serve as a COVID-19 testing site, or specimen point of collection. It operates 8 a.m. till 11:30 a.m. on Mondays only. To schedule a free test, call (855) 473-4374 or visit www.sehdph.org/covid-19, where a test can be scheduled online.
COVID-19 testing operated by Mako Medical is available at Luetta Moore Park, 585 Martin Luther King Drive.
Testing schedule: Monday, Wednesday – 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday – 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday – 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; second & fourth Saturday of each month – 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
To register, visit https://mako.exchange/splash/GAmakotesting/