Bulloch County recorded its deadliest seven days of the COVID-19 pandemic, with four confirmed and five likely fatalities due to the coronavirus.
Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said a 51-year-old man with no previous health conditions, became Bulloch’s 46th confirmed victim Thursday. Previously this week, Wynn said three women, ages 77, 83 and 87, with no known previous health conditions, were confirmed to have died from COVID complications.
Also, the Department of Health reported five probable deaths due to COVID-19 this week.
Wynn said Bulloch recorded 48 new cases on Wednesday and 20 on Tuesday. Bulloch now has recorded 4,496 total COVID cases, which have resulted in 45 confirmed deaths and 176 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health is reporting an additional 29 deaths in Bulloch probably were caused by COVID. According to the Georgia DPH, the 29 non-confirmed deaths represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID-19 symptoms and subsequently died.
Meanwhile, the effort to ramp up vaccines locally received another boost, as 1,300 additional doses were delivered to Bulloch County providers since last Thursday.
With 500 more vaccines, the Bulloch County Health Department received the most new doses. However, the Health Department announced earlier this week that it is pausing accepting any new vaccine appointments to ensure there is enough vaccine for people with already-scheduled appointments.
East Georgia Regional Medical Center received 300 additional doses this week and announced it had administered its 1,000th vaccine on Tuesday, which includes both employees and community members.
Also, McCook’s Pharmacy received 200 more doses, while The Prescription Shop, Total Health Bulloch and Family Health Care Center received 100 each.
Georgia officials cautioned, however, that the state may not see a jump in its weekly allotment of 120,000 coronavirus vaccines until April, so eligibility for the vaccine will not expand yet to groups such as teachers and people with developmental disabilities. Instead, it's continuing to focus on its current priority population, which includes people over 65 and first responders, Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday.
Kemp said that group numbers over 2 million people.
The state had administered just over 746,000 doses as of Wednesday – about 60% of the vaccine it’s been allocated, according to the Department of Health website. The best-performing states have used more than 85% of their vaccine doses.
State case numbers
Georgia recorded 4,128 new cases on Wednesday and 5,703 on Tuesday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 731,826.
The death toll in Georgia jumped from 55 for Sunday and Monday combined to 142 deaths on Tuesday and 139 on Wednesday, pushing the total to 12,135 deaths since March.
National case numbers
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Wednesday afternoon, 427,512 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 25,540,461 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Monday were caring for 25 COVID patients, with four patients on ventilators.
COVID cases that require hospitalization are seeing a steady decline in Georgia. After setting a single-day high Jan. 11 with 6,108 state residents hospitalized, that number dropped to 5,157 hospitalized on Tuesday. It marked the 7th consecutive day of a decline in hospitalizations.
Across the United States, cases that require hospitalization have seen a steady decline, as well, since hitting a peak on Jan. 6 of 132,474 Americans in the hospital with COVID. On Tuesday, hospitalizations had dropped to 108,957. It marked the 14th consecutive day of a decline in hospitalizations.
Getting a vaccine
Currently, anyone 65 and older is eligible to receive a vaccine along with other groups, including health care workers, law enforcement and rescue personnel.
East Georgia Regional Medical Center is scheduling a limited number of appointments to receive a vaccine. Call (912) 486-1811 to schedule an appointment.
While the Bulloch Health Department is not scheduling vaccine appointments, appointments may be available at other locations in the 16-county Southeast Health District. Call (855) 473-4374 to find out what’s available. District officials caution that it may be difficult to an operator and ask for patience from callers.
The Bulloch County Schools system has reported 49 new cases this week for a total of 453 COVID cases since classes started on Aug. 17. The school system has recorded 200 new confirmed cases since Jan. 3.
Georgia Southern had 70 total cases reported Jan. 18-24 – 56 self-reported and 14 university confirmed cases. The university will next report on cases on Feb. 1.
East Georgia State College reported five new cases on its three campuses for Monday and Tuesday. The college has had a total of 143 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported four new cases for the week of Jan. 18-24. The new cases include three students and one employee on the Statesboro campus. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 57 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.
The Bulloch County Health Department, 1 W. Altman St. in Statesboro, continues to serve as a COVID-19 testing site, or specimen point of collection. It operates 8 a.m. till 11:30 a.m. on Mondays only. To schedule a free test, call (855) 473-4374 or visit www.sehdph.org/covid-19, where a test can be scheduled online.
COVID-19 testing operated by Mako Medical is available at Luetta Moore Park, 585 Martin Luther King Drive.
Testing schedule: Monday, Wednesday – 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday – 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday – 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; second & fourth Saturday of each month – 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
To register, visit https://mako.exchange/splash/GAmakotesting/