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COVID vaccines continue Georgia rollout
Cases, hospitalizations up slightly in Bulloch
COVID testing

Bulloch County reported only one new COVID-19 case Tuesday, but recorded 26 new cases on Wednesday and hospitalizations at East Georgia Regional Medical Center reached a five-week high Wednesday, as well.

Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said the 16 hospitalizations at East Georgia are the most since 16 also were being cared for on Nov. 6.

Wynn said the 27 new cases for Tuesday and Wednesday combined mean Bulloch has now recorded 3,486 total COVID cases, which have resulted in 35 deaths and 156 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.

Also, the state Department of Health is reporting an additional 21 deaths in Bulloch probably were caused by COVID. According to the Georgia DPH, the 21 non-confirmed deaths represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID-19 symptoms and subsequently died. 

Wynn said of the 16 COVID patients being treated at the hospital, seven are on ventilators.


First vaccines

Gov. Brian Kemp and Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey visited Savannah Tuesday as the first four COVID-19 vaccine shots were administered to representatives of the Chatham County Health Department and Savannah's three hospitals, who will in turn give the shots to coworkers.

Wynn said Monday his office has not been informed when Bulloch County might begin receiving the vaccine.

Erin Spillman, director of marketing at East Georgia Regional, said the hospital has no information yet when it may have the vaccine. 

Toomey said Georgia is receiving 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“All those doses were already allocated to hospitals and public health facilities across the state,” Toomey said. The very first shipment saw 4,000 doses go to Savannah and 2,000 doses go to Brunswick, with hospitals beginning to vaccinate employees on Tuesday.

Toomey said Georgia hopes to soon receive 174,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which was partially tested in Savannah, once it gets emergency federal approval. Toomey said that will allow vaccinations to begin in rural locations that don't have super-cold freezers that the Pfizer vaccine needs, as well as places that need fewer doses.

She said residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should begin getting their first dose of the two-dose vaccines in late December or early January, with the state having signed an agreement with pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens to handle those doses. But she said it could be late spring or summer before non-essential workers who don't have health conditions could be eligible.

“The limitation is the availability of vaccine, not our ability to roll it out,” Toomey said.

Kemp said he wants people to feel comfortable getting the vaccine. He said he’s not in a high risk group, but would do so as soon as he fit in the category advised by the CDC.

Kemp cautioned that the excitement of the arrival of the first vaccines should be tempered with the continued spread of the virus throughout Georgia.

Georgia's rolling 7-day average of confirmed and suspected virus cases surpassed its summer peak for the 14th straight day, with the state now averaging nearly 5,000 cases a day.

Also, at least 14 Georgia school districts have sent all students home, according to the Georgia Department of Education, canceling in-person classes for the remaining week. Others have sent groups of students, like all those in high schools home, or have closed individual schools.



COVID cases that require hospitalization continue to rise in Georgia, and more Americans are being hospitalized than at any point since the pandemic began in March.

A record high 112,814 virus patients were hospitalized in the United States as of Tuesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. It was the eighteenth day in the past 19 that a new record was set for national hospitalizations.

There were 3,352 COVID patients hospitalized in Georgia, the Tracking Project reported as of Tuesday. It also is the eighteenth day in the past 19 the state has seen an increase in hospitalizations.


State, national case numbers

Georgia recorded 4,257 new cases Wednesday and 4,855 on Tuesday, pushing the state's total number of confirmed cases up to 488,338. Georgia reported 52 deaths on Wednesday, raising the death toll to 9,302.

According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Wednesday afternoon, 306,363 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 16,885,623 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.


Bulloch Schools

The Bulloch County Schools system has reported 17 new cases this week for a total of 226 COVID cases since classes started on Aug. 17.


Local colleges

Georgia Southern saw the same number of cases for the week of Dec. 7-13 as the previous week, reporting 26 new cases on Monday. Seventeen of the new cases were on the Statesboro campus. Georgia Southern will report again on Monday, Dec. 21.

East Georgia State College reported no new cases of COVID-19 since Dec. 10. The college has had a total of 104 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.

Ogeechee Technical College reported one new positive COVID test for the week of Dec. 6-13 – on its Evans County campus. The college has had a total of 39 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.


Testing sites

The Bulloch County Health Department, 1 W. Altman St. in Statesboro, continues to serve as a COVID-19 testing site, or specimen point of collection. It operates 8 a.m. till noon Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. To schedule a free test, call (855) 473-4374 or visit, where a test can be scheduled online.

Additional free COVID-19 testing continues Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at Luetta Moore Park, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.


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