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East Georgia receives first vaccines
COVID cases, hospitalizations still rising in Ga., US
covid vaccine
Pictured, Gayle Cousar, RN, receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Jenny Maddi, RN, on Monday at the hospital. (Photo Courtesy East Georgia Regional Medical Center)

East Georgia Regional Medical Center received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna on Monday, said the hospital’s Director of Marketing Erin Spillman.

“Our plan is that the first to receive vaccinations will be health care personnel who provide direct care to the most vulnerable populations and in their line of work have a high likelihood of contact with COVID-positive patients,” she said. “Also, those who are integral to (the hospital’s) health care structure and the response to the pandemic will receive some of the first vaccines.

“We are not making the vaccine mandatory, but many of our health care workers are choosing to be vaccinated. We are focused on educating our employees about the vaccine, including sharing information about safety, efficacy and side effects.”

Vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer started being given last week to the residents at long-term care facilities around Bulloch, and some health care workers and emergency personnel received the shot, as well.

Vaccines are still in relatively short supply, but the Southeast Health District, which includes Bulloch, expects more vaccine to be shipped on a regular basis, though no schedule has been announced.

Department of Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said vaccinations at long term facilities could be complete by sometime in February.

Georgia is receiving additional allocations of vaccines, with Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey saying Monday that the state had now been allocated 234,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 268,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. That's up from 300,000 reported before Christmas. Nydam said much of that was for second doses that will be due to be administered beginning Jan. 4.

Meanwhile, Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn, said Bulloch recorded 21 new cases on Monday. For the long holiday weekend of Friday through Sunday, Wynn said Bulloch reported 38 new cases and has now recorded 3,672 total COVID cases, which have resulted in 36 deaths and 162 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 East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Monday were caring for 21 COVID patients, with eight patients on ventilators.

Also, COVID cases that require hospitalization continue to increase in Georgia, setting a single-day high on Monday with 4,499 state residents currently hospitalized with coronavirus. Georgia has seen hospitalizations increase almost every day since Nov. 15. In fact, since that day, daily hospitalizations have risen from 1,978 to 4,499 – a 127-percent increase in six weeks.

Across the United States, cases that require hospitalization hit a peak on Christmas Eve with 120,151 Americans in the hospital with COVID on that day. Since then, national hospitalizations have declined from to 118,720 hospitalized on Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.


State, national case numbers

Georgia recorded 3,165 new cases Monday, and the state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 546,859. Georgia reported 15 deaths on Monday, raising the death toll to 9,719.

According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Monday afternoon, 334,025 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 19,221,164 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.


Bulloch Schools

The Bulloch County Schools system reported four new cases the week of Dec. 20-26 and three new cases this week for a total of 238 COVID cases since classes started on Aug. 17.


Local colleges

Following the last week of the fall semester, Georgia Southern recorded 16 new cases for the week of Dec. 21-27. All 16 of the new cases were on the Statesboro campus. Georgia Southern will report again on Monday, Jan. 4.

East Georgia State College issued its last report on Dec. 21 and will not report again until classes resume in January. The college has had a total of 105 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.

Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases for the week of Dec. 14-20 and will not report again until classes resume in January. The college has not had a positive cases at its Bulloch County campus since the week of Oct. 19-25 and 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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