A 65-year-old man became the first COVID-19 patient to die in Bulloch County, Ted Wynn, director of Public Safety and Emergency Management announced in an email early Saturday afternoon.
In the email, Wynn said the Georgia Department of Public Health notified his office of the fatality Saturday. It was not confirmed if the patient was one of eight Wynn reported Friday that were being treated at East Georgia Regional Medical Center, but his report Saturday listed only seven patients now being treated at the Statesboro hospital.
“Sadly, we have our first death reported here in Bulloch County,” Wynn said in the email.
The number of total coronavirus cases diagnosed in Bulloch stayed the same – 16 – as was in Wynn’s Friday report. According to the 6:30 p.m. report from the Department of Health, there are 12,261 cases confirmed in Georgia, with 2,491 hospitalizations and 432 deaths.
Nationally, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed Italy's for the highest in the world Saturday at more than 19,700, as Chicago and other cities across the Midwest braced for a potential surge in victims.
The death rate — that is, the number of dead relative to the population — is still far higher in Italy than in U.S., which has more than five times as many people. And worldwide, the true numbers of dead and infected are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, different counting practices and concealment by some governments.
About half the deaths in the U.S. are in the New York metropolitan area, where hospitalizations are nevertheless slowing and other indicators suggest lockdowns and social distancing are “flattening the curve” of infections.
New York state on Saturday reported 783 more deaths, for a total over 8,600. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the daily number of deaths is stabilizing “but stabilizing at a horrific rate.”
Worldwide, confirmed infections rose above 1.8 million, with over 100,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. Close to 400,000 people have recovered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older people and those with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.
With Easter coming Sunday, many residents may want to go to church in spite of Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order discouraging gatherings of more than 10. Many local churches are offering drive-in or online services, but some plan to hold traditional worship.
“Churches are urged to follow the governor’s order and maintain social distancing,” Wynn said.
This means everyone should stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times in order to prevent spreading the coronavirus.