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COVID patients set another record at EGRMC
Vaccines see slight local increase, but still lag region
COVID testing

At the same time more COVID-19 patients are hospitalized at East Georgia Regional Medical Center than any time previously and infection rates are higher than any time since January, the vaccination rate in Bulloch County has seen only a small uptick in the past few weeks.

“Get vaccinated. It’s the surest way to slow and eventually stop new COVID infections,” said Ted Wynn, Bulloch’s Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency director. “Whatever is holding you back, please look at the facts and the science and reconsider getting a vaccine. You will protect yourself, your loved ones and all of us, as well.”

In little more than a month, East Georgia Regional has gone from having two COVID patients hospitalized to 39 on Friday, Wynn said. The hospital has set a daily record for most COVID patients hospitalized for five consecutive days.

“We continue to see COVID cases rise dramatically here at EGRMC,” Dr. Alan Scott, chief of staff and director of Emergency Services at East Georgia Regional Medical Center, said on Wednesday. “That is a similar trend in many communities across the nation. Younger, sicker and quicker is the most recent phase to describe what we are seeing.”

Across Georgia, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose to nearly 3,000 on Thursday, a six-fold increase over a month ago. The rapid rise in cases has forced more than two dozen hospitals in the state to turn away patients amid the rising COVID cases.

“Every hospital in our region is stretched to its limit,” said Scott Steiner, president and CEO of Albany-based Phoebe Putney Health System. The system has gone from eight to 97 COVID patients in a month.

The vast majority of people who have been hospitalized around the state are not vaccinated. Gov. Brian Kemp said Friday the state inoculated 20,000 people last week, up from weeks with roughly half that number. Still, only 41% of state residents are fully vaccinated, a significantly lower rate than other states. Kemp urged people to talk to their doctors and other people they trust about the vaccines.

According to statistics from the Georgia Department of Public Health, Bulloch County saw a steady rise in people receiving the vaccine beginning in January until reaching a plateau around May 1, including a daily high of 758 vaccines administered on April 2 alone. But after 589 shots were given on April 30, Bulloch County has not exceeded 200 shots in any one day since May 18.

In the past 10 days, the county has seen a small increase in the number of vaccines administered with more than 100 given on seven of those days. Bulloch had not exceeded 100 shots in any one day the five weeks previously. Still, among the seven counties that border Bulloch, only Jenkins County is tied with Bulloch County for the lowest fully-vaccinated rate at 26%.

Vaccines are readily available at area pharmacies, doctors’ offices, East Georgia Regional Medical Center and the Bulloch County Health Department.


COVID cases

The number of cases in Bulloch County continues the upward trend that began around the middle of July. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported Bulloch had 65 new confirmed cases since Wednesday – 46 on Thursday and 19 on Friday. Bulloch has recorded 345 confirmed cases since July 12, after 39 were reported for the entire month of June. Bulloch now has 5,600 total cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.

After reporting 3,861 new confirmed cases across Georgia on Thursday, the Department of Health said 4,195 cases were added Friday.

The state's seven-day average for daily cases is now above 4,300, more than 11 times higher than when cases bottomed out in late June. The current seven-day average is the highest since Feb. 10, and higher than Georgia's peak in July 2020. The state's rolling average peaked above 9,500 in mid-January.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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