Twelve Bulloch County residents have died due to COVID-19 this week, with the Georgia Department of Public Health reporting two confirmed and four probable deaths since Wednesday. Since Aug. 10, there have been 25 confirmed and 22 probable deaths — 47 total — of Bulloch citizens reported by the Department of Health.
The local increase in virus fatalities is following a national and state trend. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reported that an average of 2,036 Americans are dying every day due to COVID-19, while the Department of Health is reporting COVID is killing an average of more than 100 Georgians each day.
Health officials at every level have stressed the importance of getting a vaccine to not only protect yourself, but family members, co-workers and anyone you come in contact with. There are an estimated 70 million eligible Americans who have yet to get the shot.
The vast majority of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated. And all three COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death despite the extra-contagious delta variant that caused cases to soar. But immunity against milder COVID infection appears to wane months after initial vaccination.
In an effort to increase the effectiveness for one specific vaccine, the U.S. launched a campaign to offer boosters of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to millions of Americans on Friday even as federal health officials stressed the real problem remains getting first shots to the unvaccinated.
Americans 65 and older and others vulnerable because of underlying health problems or where they work and live are now eligible for the booster – once they're six months past their last dose.
Decisions on boosters for Americans who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still to come.
The Georgia Department of Health advised anyone who meets the eligibility guidelines and has received the Pfizer vaccine to check with their doctor or local pharmacy to make an appointment to get a booster.
The Bulloch County Health Department on Altman St. in Statesboro will begin offering Pfizer boosters on Monday, as well.
Bulloch County reported eight new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Friday and 20 on Thursday.
Also, Ted Wynn, director of the Bulloch Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency, said East Georgia Regional Medical Center has 35 patients hospitalized with COVID and 14 on ventilators, down sharply from Aug. 26 when 73 COVID patients were hospitalized.
In Georgia, there were 3,236 new cases reported Friday and 3,507 on Thursday. There were 126 confirmed deaths and 224 new hospitalizations on Friday. Since the pandemic began, there have been 21,991 Georgia residents die due to COVID
The Associated Press contributed to this report.