The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed three Bulloch County residents died due to COVID-19 since Tuesday, as the county continues to see a surge in cases that began in July.
“The deaths are another tragic reminder of how the Delta strain of this terrible virus is hitting us even worse than in January, when we believed we were seeing the worst COVID had to offer,” said Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn. “The way to get this under control and then turned around is the same: Get vaccinated and wear a mask.”
After recording 275 new confirmed cases over the weekend, Bulloch saw a slight decline with 82 cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 6,790. Health Department statistics show Bulloch has recorded 1,544 new COVID cases since July 7 and seven deaths.
On Wednesday, East Georgia Regional Medical Center reported 58 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, a small drop from 61 on Monday. There were 18 patients on ventilators Wednesday afternoon.
As Georgia continues to rank in the bottom 10 of states when it comes to vaccination rates, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday that Friday, Sept. 3 will be a holiday for state employees. According to a release from the Southeast Health District, which is made up of 16 counties, including Bulloch, “It is the governor’s hope that this will incentivize those current state employees who are unvaccinated to take the time to go get their COVID-19 vaccinations.”
Katie Hadden, public information officer with the Southeast Health District, said, “All health department sites in the Southeast Health District will stay open on September 3 to vaccinate those who work so diligently for our state as well as anyone who is interested in receiving their COVID-19 vaccine.”
The COVID-19 vaccines will be provided Sept. 3 on a walk-in basis at local health departments and do not require an appointment. The Bulloch County Health Department is located at 1 West Altman St. in Statesboro.
As another vaccine incentive, Krispy Kreme is doubling down on its popular free doughnut promotion for customers vaccinated against COVID-19.
Krispy Kreme has a store in Statesboro on Northside Drive next to Taco Bell, across from the Statesboro Mall.
Beginning Aug. 30, the chain is giving anyone with vaccination proof two free doughnuts every day through Sept. 5. In March, the chain began its promotion to encourage people to get vaccinated with a free doughnut a day for the rest of the year. So far, Krispy Kreme said it has given away more than 2.5 million doughnuts through the deal.
Krispy Kreme said it will continue its free daily doughnut campaign through the end of the year. In order to qualify, customers have to show their vaccination card. Anyone who has received at least one shot of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines is eligible.
Vaccines are readily available at area pharmacies, doctors’ offices and the Bulloch County Health Department.
Georgia, national cases
The Department of Health reported 12,659 confirmed cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, including 7,411 on Wednesday. Also, 90 confirmed deaths were recorded on Wednesday, the most in any single day since March.
New cases around the U.S. are now averaging about 152,000 per day, up 3,000 since Monday, according to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, along with an average of 1,116 deaths per day due to COVID.
For the week of Aug. 16-22, 1,734 COVID tests were given at the MAKO Medical site on Railroad St. in downtown Statesboro – the most tests ever in a single week in Bulloch.
Also, after administering a record 2,163 tests in the Coastal Region the week of Aug. 9-15, the region administered 3,026 for Aug. 16-22.
And those are just the tests administered by the Public Health Department.
“Tests are also performed by private physicians, hospitals, federally qualified health centers and urgent care centers, among others, so the (3,026 number) is not a comprehensive total of all testing done in our area,” Hadden said.
MAKO offers testing services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on the last Saturday of each month, which will be this Saturday, Aug. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
MAKO will ask for insurance, but patients without insurance will not have to pay anything for testing. Results are available in two to three days.