More than 100 million Americans have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, daily cases are down nearly 30% across the nation in the past two weeks and the number of deaths caused by the virus is down 80% from the peak in January.
Bulloch County has experienced similar dramatic declines in the past three months. After recording 868 new confirmed cases and 10 deaths in January, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported Bulloch had 97 confirmed cases in April and only two deaths in the past 30 days.
On the vaccination front, 95 local residents received their first dose since Wednesday and the Department of Health reported 231 Bulloch Countians received their second dose in the past two days.
Nationally, 39% of the nation's adult population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 55% of adults have received at least one dose.
The CDC says an estimated 70% to 85% of the U.S. population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. But immunizations have slowed in recent weeks, even as shots have been thrown open to all adults. And health officials believe better weather and falling case counts will make it harder to reach people who have not yet been vaccinated.
"We would like to continue to encourage people to receive their COVID-19 vaccine if they are 16 or older and have not already done so," said Katie Hadden, public information officer with the 16-county Southeast Health District, which includes Bulloch. "We also want to remind everyone to continue to practice mitigation strategies as they have been: wash your hands, socially distance, wear a mask, stay home if you are sick and avoid large gatherings."
As of Friday, 16,166 Bulloch residents had received at least one dose, or 21% of the population. The number of residents fully vaccinated is up to 12,918, or 17%.
Across Georgia, 3,597,557 residents, 35%, have received at least one dose as of Friday and 2,638,103, 25%, are fully vaccinated.
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.
Local, state COVID cases
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said five new cases were confirmed on Thursday and two on Friday. The county now has a total of 5,251 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. Overall, the COVID cases have resulted in 64 confirmed deaths and 217 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health has reported 48 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 1,065 new cases on Thursday and 1,073 on Friday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 879,854.
The state reported 51 deaths on Thursday and 25 on Friday. Georgia's death toll now stands at 17,559 since March 2020.
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Friday afternoon, 575,551 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 32,315,363 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
The Bulloch County Schools system has had four new cases this 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 12 total cases reported April 19–25 — 11 self-reported and one university-confirmed case. GS reported 12 total cases for the week of April 12-18.
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 one new case the week of April 19-25 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.