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Bulloch Co. reports 100 probable COVID deaths
Five dead since Monday, 73 since Aug. 10

The Georgia Department of Public Health said five more Bulloch County residents died due to COVID-19 since Monday, as the county has now recorded 100 probable deaths since the pandemic began.

According to Wednesday’s daily COVID status report from the Department of Health, Bulloch County now stands at 97 confirmed and 100 probable deaths for a total of 197. Since Monday, there have been one confirmed and four probable deaths since Monday. There have been 73 deaths due to COVID, more than one-third of the total, in the past 11 weeks — 34 confirmed and 39 probable.

At the same time, new confirmed cases of the virus have slowed to about one per day in Bulloch. In fact, there have been as many new cases confirmed – nine – as deaths since Oct. 18.

Across Georgia, however, the state is still averaging more than 1,000 new cases per day and 75 deaths. Nationally, about, 1,600 Americans are dying every day due to COVID and about 73,000 new cases are reported.

Health officials say the best way to reduce both catching the virus and getting seriously ill or dying if you do contract COVID, remains vaccination. Statistics show the highest rates of infection and incidences of death still occur in areas with the lowest vaccination rates.

And the U.S. moved a step closer to expanding COVID-19 vaccinations for millions of children as government advisers endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer's shots for 5- to 11-year-olds. 

While children are far less likely than older people to get severe COVID-19, ultimately many panelists decided it's important to give parents the choice to protect their youngsters — especially those at high risk of illness.

Full-strength shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech already are recommended for everyone 12 and older but pediatricians and many parents are clamoring for protection for younger children. The extra-contagious delta variant has caused an alarming rise in pediatric infections – and families are frustrated with school quarantines and having to say no to sleepovers and other rites of childhood to keep the virus at bay.

In the 5- to 11-year-old age group, there have been over 8,300 hospitalizations reported, about a third requiring intensive care, and nearly 100 deaths.

States are getting ready to roll out the shots — just a third of the amount given to teens and adults — that will come in special orange-capped vials to avoid dosage mix-ups. More than 25,000 pediatricians and other primary care providers have signed up so far to offer vaccination, which will also be available at pharmacies and other locations.

Pfizer studied 2,268 elementary schoolchildren given two shots three weeks apart of either a placebo or the kid dose. Vaccinated youngsters developed levels of virus-fighting antibodies just as strong as teens and young adults who got the full-strength shots. More important, the vaccine proved nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infection — based on 16 cases of COVID-19 among kids given dummy shots compared to just three who got vaccinated.

Vaccine boosters

Georgia officials say that in addition to the Pfizer booster, local health departments are now offering booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines.

The following groups are eligible for boosters:

— People 65 and older.

— Adults who live in long-term care such as nursing homes.

— Adults who have underlying medical conditions.

— Adults who work or live in high-risk settings.

The state is also recommending boosters for any adult who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago. People who received Pfizer or Moderna should seek a booster six months after the earlier vaccination sequence was completed.

The state said people may request a different vaccine as a booster than was initially received, following CDC guidance allowing mix-and-match dosing. Not all types of vaccine will be available at all sites.

In addition to the Bulloch County Public Health Department on Altman St., COVID vaccines and boosters are available at most doctors’ offices and area pharmacies.

Local hospitalizations

East Georgia Regional Medical Center had four patients hospitalized with COVID and two on ventilators on Wednesday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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