With new coronavirus cases averaging one per day in Bulloch County during the past four weeks, everyday life is returning to pre-pandemic levels. Restaurants are fuller, few retail shops even request customers wear masks anymore and the AMC movie theater was its busiest over the Memorial Day weekend since early March 2020.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there have been 28 new COVID-19 cases since May 5 reported in Bulloch, including none in the past three days. Also, there have been no reported deaths from COVID since April 23.
The county now has a total of 5,294 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. Overall, COVID cases have resulted in a total of 64 confirmed deaths and 228 local residents being hospitalized.
As of Tuesday, East Georgia Regional Medical Center reported treating three COVID-19 patients on Monday, with one on a ventilator.
Across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control reported new cases were down 45% on Tuesday from two weeks ago and deaths on Tuesday were down 44% from two weeks previously.
Health officials continue to credit the vaccine as the primary factor in the decline across all communities. While vaccinated people can still catch the virus, they face little risk of serious illness from it.
In early May, President Biden set a goal of 70% of eligible Americans to have received at least one dose of a vaccine by July 4. The CDC reported that as of Tuesday the US is at 62.8% getting at least one shot.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Biden announced a “month of action” to urge more Americans to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before the July 4 holiday, with an early summer sprint of incentives, including free beer, childcare and sports tickets to persuade Americans to roll up their sleeves.
As part of the effort to drive Americans to get shots, the White House is borrowing some tools from political campaigns, including phone banks, door-knocking and text banking. The administration says more than 1,000 such events will be held this coming weekend alone. Additionally, it is organizing competitions between cities and colleges to drive up vaccination rates.
Low vaccine rates in Bulloch, Georgia
Despite the low infection incidences, Bulloch still ranks near the bottom of Georgia counties in vaccination rate – only 23% percent of residents have received at least one dose, and only 20% are fully vaccinated.
Among surrounding counties, only Jenkins has a lower vaccine rate with 22 percent receiving at least one dose. Bryan County has the best vaccination rate in the area with 34 percent getting the first dose and 29 percent fully vaccinated.
Across Georgia, 4,098,226 residents have received at least one dose as of Tuesday, and 3,414,643 are fully vaccinated. The Department of Health reports 39% of residents have received at least one dose, and 33% are fully vaccinated. Only Wyoming, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi have a lower fully vaccinated rate than Georgia.
According to the CDC, 168 million Americans over age 18 – 62.8% – have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 136 million have been fully vaccinated.
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Tuesday afternoon, 595,302 Americans had died from coronavirus, an increase of 5,135 since May 24.
Also on Tuesday, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 33,137,285 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, an increase of 152,836 cases since May 24.
The Bulloch County Schools system had one new case last week and no new cases so far this week. A total of 652 COVID cases have been reported since classes started on Aug. 17.
Georgia Southern had one self-reported case for May 24–30. GS reported three total cases for the week of May 17–23.
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 has reported no new cases since the week of April 18. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 73 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.