Like the rest of the United States and Georgia, COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths spiked in Bulloch County in the month of July, and local officials are hoping the case numbers will begin a downward trend in August.
“Everybody knows what the recommendations are from every credible medical official in wearing a mask in public, social distancing, don’t gather in large crowds,” said Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn. “We must take these recommendations even more seriously. They are relatively minor inconveniences. If we do this here in Bulloch and around Georgia and the nation, I think you’ll see a real leveling off.”
For the month of July, Bulloch County saw a 170% rise in total confirmed coronavirus cases, from 391 to 1,055. Bulloch has 11 total deaths, after recording seven deaths from COVID in July, with only four deaths total for the months of March, April, May and June. Also, hospitalizations of local residents at East Georgia Regional Medical Center increased 123%, from 30 on July 1 to 77 as of Friday.
Wynn said he will be closely watching the reopening of public and private schools and Georgia Southern University, Ogeechee Technical College and East Georgia State College in August.
“They have plans in place that, if everyone adheres to, should keep the students and staff safe,” he said. “But we are still dealing with so many unknowns with COVID. Many people in our community have had personal experience with the virus through knowing someone who is or was infected. It affects everyone differently. Rarely do people experience the virus the same way. And all of us have a responsibility to all the students as they return to help them stay safe.”
In Georgia, the state recorded 102,198 cases in July, more than doubling the 84,237 cases total in the four months of March through June to 186,352 total COVID cases as of July 31. Deaths rose 33% in July to 3,752 total deaths, and hospitalizations spiked 66%, from 11,275 on July 1 to 18,689 on July 31.
In the United States, total confirmed COVID cases in July rose by 1,909,027, from 2,624,873 to 4,533,900 — a 73% increase. Deaths rose by 25,755, from 127,299 to 153,054 — a 20% increase.
Bulloch cases on Friday
Although there was a slight drop in the number of COVID-19 patients at East Georgia Regional Medical Center Friday, Wynn said the number of Bulloch County residents testing positive for the virus rose by 23 to 1,055.
The hospital reported 19 COVID-19 patients Friday, with seven on ventilators. East Georgia has treated as many as 26 admitted patients and as many as 12 on ventilators at one time.
If you feel you may have been exposed to the virus or if you think you might have contracted it, do not go to the emergency room, Wynn said.
“If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.”
Some symptoms are coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever, and loss of sense of smell and taste.
Free COVID-19 testing is held at the Specimen Point of Collection site located at 1 W. Altman St. in Statesboro. If you would like to be tested for free, call (855) 473-4374 for an appointment, or schedule your test online at https://www.sehdph.org/covid-19/.
The COVID-19 Hotline is (844) 442-2681.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon contributed to this report.
Jim Healy may be reached at (912) 489-9402.