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COVID infections at lowest level since pandemic began
Low vaccination rates still concern officials
Ted Wynn

With only four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in the past week and East Georgia Regional Medical Center treating only one COVID patient, Bulloch County is seeing its lowest incidence of infection since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said Bulloch had no new cases on Thursday and one Friday. 

The county now has a total of 5,286 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. Overall, COVID cases have resulted in a total of 63 confirmed deaths and 225 local residents being hospitalized.

East Georgia Regional Medical Center reported treating one COVID-19 patient, with one on a ventilator Friday.

The state of Georgia achieved a milestone on Friday. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported that for the first time since April 2, 2020, the state’s seven-day average of new daily cases dropped below 500. It stood at 499 cases on Friday.

Across the state, there were 584 new cases on Friday and 686 on Thursday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 892,688. 

The state reported 38 deaths on Friday and 21 on Thursday. Georgia’s death toll now stands at 17,906 since March 2020.


Public health officials, however, remain concerned with the low rate of vaccinations in Bulloch County, Georgia and across most of the South.

On Tuesday, the United States, as a whole, passed 60% of residents receiving at least one vaccine dose. But in the South, one of the largest clinics in Alabama shut down Wednesday and others will follow in the coming weeks because demand for the shot has plunged.

A month after every adult in the U.S. became eligible for the vaccine, the lowest vaccination rates are concentrated in the South. 

Eight Southern states are in the bottom 10, all of which are under 40%. Mississippi was dead last at 32%, followed by Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming, Idaho, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, West Virginia and South Carolina.

Closing the gaps is vital to controlling the virus that has killed 589,000 people in the U.S., health experts say. The vaccination drive has helped drive U.S. cases down to their lowest level since last June, at around 29,000 a day on average, and reduced deaths to about 570 a day, a level not seen since last July.

“Low vaccination rates will leave room for the virus to circulate, re-emerge and possibly form new variants," said Tara Kirk Sell, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “High vaccination rates are critical to keeping the disease under control, especially when we get back to the fall and winter.”

As of Friday, 17,204 Bulloch residents – 23% – had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The number of residents fully vaccinated is up to 14,676 – 19%.

Across Georgia, 3,936,280 residents have received at least one dose as of Friday and 3,204,608 are fully vaccinated. The Department of Health reports 38% of residents have received at least one dose and 31% are fully vaccinated. 

According to the CDC, 160 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 127 million have been fully vaccinated. 

National cases

According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Wednesday afternoon, 589,059 Americans had died from coronavirus. 

Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 33,075,746 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Bulloch Schools

The Bulloch County Schools system has had one new case so far this week. A total of 652 COVID cases have been reported since classes started on Aug. 17. Since the beginning of March, the system has reported a total of 60 new cases. 

Local colleges

Georgia Southern had four total cases reported May 9-168 — three self-reported and one university-confirmed case. GS reported six total cases for the week of May 3-9.

East Georgia State College has reported no new cases since April 18. The college has had a total of 159 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.

Ogeechee Technical College has reported no new cases since the week of April 18. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 73 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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