On March 19, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported that 416 Bulloch County residents were administered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. On Tuesday, only 27 county residents received their first shot.
In fact, after averaging about 150 per day, not including Sundays, from Jan. 4 to the March 19 high water-mark, Bulloch has topped 100 vaccines given in a single day only once since March 26. Vaccine shots have decreased also in the face of the state making everyone older than 16 eligible for a vaccine on March 15.
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said the county’s slowing of people getting vaccines concerns him, especially when COVID case numbers in Bulloch are low and he wants cases to remain low.
“I have heard that many people in the community are uncomfortable with how rapidly the vaccines were developed and deployed,” Wynn said. “I would encourage people who are worried about getting a vaccine, to speak with a trusted friend, family member, pastor who has had the vaccine. Have a conversation about their concerns and share with them why you decided to get the vaccine.”
One factor that is not an issue in Bulloch County is availability of vaccine. This week, more than 4,000 additional doses were shipped to local providers, according to the Department of Health and the county has received more than 41,000 doses overall.
“I do believe in time that more and more people will become comfortable that the vaccine is safe and will make the decision to get a shot,” Wynn said.
The Department of Health reports that 12,862 local residents have received one vaccine, which translates to a little more than 17% of the population based on 2018 Census figures, which was 74,782.
While the rest of the state is doing better at getting vaccinated than Bulloch County, at 31%, Georgia is one of five states where fewer than 40% of residents have received at least one dose. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee are the other four. New Hampshire leads the nation with 65% of the population receiving at least one dose, followed closely by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New Mexico.
The CDC reports that nearly 121 million American adults — or 47% of the U.S. adult population — have received at least one coronavirus shot.
Wynn said Bulloch recorded five new cases on Tuesday and six on Wednesday and has not seen more than 10 cases in a single day in almost two months.
“We are doing well, for the most part, locally,” Wynn said. “But we don’t live in a bubble and the fact the United States as a whole had about 170,000 new COVID cases in the past two days scares me. Will we get hit by a large increase?”
The county now has a total of 5,195 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. Overall, the COVID cases have resulted in 63 confirmed deaths and 214 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health has reported 48 non-confirmed deaths, which represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/ rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID-19 symptoms and then died.
Across the state, there were 1,139 new cases on Tuesday and 1,125 on Wednesday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 864,895.
The state reported 15 deaths on Tuesday and 42 on Wednesday. Georgia’s death toll now stands at 17,072 since March 2020.
All residents of Bulloch County and the state of Georgia aged 16 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.
Bulloch residents are urged to contact private providers such as East Georgia Regional Medical Center and local pharmacies directly to make a vaccine appointment. Vaccines also are available at Walgreen’s, CVS and Walmart.
To schedule an appointment at the Bulloch Health Department, call (855) 473-4374. If an appointment is not available at the Altman St. office in Statesboro, they can schedule an appointment at any of the health departments in the area through the same appointment number
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Monday afternoon, 564,173 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 31,401,920 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Monday were caring for four COVID patients, with no patient on a ventilator.
The Bulloch County Schools system has had three new cases so far this week. A total of 627 COVID cases have been reported since classes started on Aug. 17.
Georgia Southern had 17 total cases reported April 5-11 – 14 self-reported and three university-confirmed cases. GS reported 12 total cases for the week of March 29-April 4.
Of the cases reported last week, 16 were on the Statesboro campus and one was on the Armstrong Savannah campus.
East Georgia State College reported one new case on its Swainsboro campus on Saturday. It was the first new case on any of its three campuses since March 22. The college has had a total of 158 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College has not reported any new COVID cases since the week of March 8-14. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 70 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.