While the Georgia Department of Public Health won’t report the number of new COVID-19 cases over the Labor Day weekend until Tuesday afternoon, new cases reported at Georgia Southern University and in Bulloch County Schools dropped significantly for the second consecutive week.
Confirmed and self-reported cases at Georgia Southern have dropped from 434 across its three campuses the week of Aug. 16-22, to 116 for the most recent week – Aug. 30-Sept. 5. Of the total number, 86, were on the Statesboro campus, compared to 230 the previous week and 389 the week before that.
“After completing the fourth week of the Fall 2021 semester, (this week’s) report indicates another decrease in total cases with 13 confirmed and 103 self-reported cases last week,” the university said in its weekly COVID report. “We continue to urge all students, faculty, staff and visitors to get vaccinated either on campus or with a local provider. Additionally, everyone is encouraged to wear a mask or face covering while inside campus facilities.”
Meanwhile, reported cases at Bulloch County schools have dropped from 474 for the week of Aug. 15-21 to 118 for Aug. 29-Sept. 5. Statesboro High has seen new cases fall from 121 for Aug. 15-21 to 25 last week. Similarly, Southeast Bulloch High has seen a decline from 73 to 7 cases for the same time frames.
The surge of COVID cases that began in early July has been fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In fact, the Department of Health's Friday report showed there have been 20,041 confirmed COVID deaths in the state since the pandemic began. And Bulloch County is experiencing its deadliest stretch of the pandemic with 14 deaths reported since Aug. 10. It has not been reported if any local residents died over the weekend due to COVID.
The CDC reports COVID-19 is spreading fastest in areas with low vaccination rates. Currently, only 44% of Georgians are fully vaccinated. In Bulloch County, only 29% of residents are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in the state.
"Ninety seven percent of COVID deaths since we've had vaccine are in unvaccinated individuals. These deaths are preventable," said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner.
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center was treating 68 patients hospitalized with COVID on Monday with 21 on ventilators.
New cases around the U.S. are now averaging about 161,000 per day, according to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, along with an average of 1,560 deaths per day due to COVID.