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Bulloch nears COVID death milestone
Georgia hits 50% fully vaccinated mark
Ted Wynn

Eligible for COVID-19 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.

Four more Bulloch County residents died due to COVID-19 last week at the same time new confirmed cases of the virus were actually revised downward.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported two confirmed and two probable deaths since last Monday as Bulloch nears a milestone of 100 deaths in both categories. Since the pandemic began, there have been both 96 confirmed and 96 probable deaths for a total of 192 in Bulloch County. One third of the deaths have occurred in the past 11 weeks — 33 confirmed and 35 probable.

But after recording 17 new cases the previous week and reaching a total of 7,892 cases, the Department of Health reported no new cases for three consecutive days and then revised the total down to 7,885 on Thursday. As more data is analyzed, DPH officials say totals are adjusted across the state, which is the reason for the downward revision.

Bulloch now has 7,891 total cases.

Similarly, the number of new cases nationally has been plummeting since the delta surge peaked in mid-September. The U.S. is averaging about 73,000 new cases per day, less than half of the nearly 173,000 recorded on Sept. 13. And the number of Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 has dropped by about half since early September to around 47,000.

National COVID-19 deaths per day, however, have begun to creep back up again after a decline that started in late September. Deaths are running at about 1,700 per day, up from close to 1,500 two weeks ago.


State hits vaccination marker

Half of all Georgia residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — a figure that still trails the national average.

The state Department of Public Health announced the 50 percent milestone on Monday. Nationally, a little more than 57 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The best performing states have vaccination rates above 70 percent. Wyoming and West Virginia have the lowest rates in the U.S.

Georgia continues to experience a decline in the number of new COVID cases following a surge fueled by the delta variant of the virus. But public health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said COVID is still spreading in the state, particularly in areas of low vaccination.

State health officials urged the unvaccinated to get jabbed, warning that they create a risk of infection for their families and communities in addition to themselves.


Vaccine boosters

Georgia officials say local health departments will begin offering more COVID-19 vaccine booster shots today, following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state Department of Public Health announced Friday that shots would be available for people who had previously received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Public health departments are already offering booster shots for people who received the Pfizer vaccine.

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.


Georgia Southern

With only 10 new cases reported last week at Georgia Southern University, COVID cases have dropped for eight out of the past nine weeks.

Confirmed and self-reported cases at Georgia Southern have fallen from 434 across its three campuses the week of Aug. 16–22, to 10 for the most recent week — Oct. 18–24 – including no confirmed cases. There were 26 cases reported the previous week. Of the past week’s cases, six were on the Statesboro campus. There were 389 cases reported on the Statesboro campus for Aug. 16–22.


Bulloch County Schools

Similar to Georgia Southern, reported cases at Bulloch County schools have dropped from 474 for the week of Aug. 15–21 to five for Oct. 10–16. Only four schools reported any cases at all that week and only one school had more than one new case.

With school out for fall break last week, no new report was made.


Local hospitalizations

Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center had five patients hospitalized with COVID and two on ventilators on Monday. That is down from nine patients with four on ventilators from the previous Monday.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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