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First COVID vaccines arrive in Georgia
No timetable yet on when Bulloch will get doses
COVID vaccine
Nurse Vanessa Arroyo, seated, gets a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot from nurse Rafael Martinez during a news conference Monday, Dec. 14, at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Georgia Monday, including 5,850 doses in the Coastal Health District, which includes Savannah.

The shipments arrived at two public health locations in Southeast Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, with ultra-cold freezers required for storage and temperature control of the vaccine. Additional shipments of vaccine are expected later this week at facilities in other parts of the state.

No official information has been released on a timetable for when the vaccine would be available in Bulloch County, said Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn.

Wynn said Monday that when the initial vaccines are sent to Bulloch, the county would follow CDC guidelines of priorities for who receives the first 

vaccinations. The CDC recommends frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be vaccinated first.

The vaccine received Monday is the Pfizer version that was given emergency approval on Friday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to give Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization later this week. If the vaccine is authorized for use by FDA, shipments of the Moderna vaccine should begin arriving in Georgia next week, according to the Department of Health.

Bulloch COVID cases

After reporting the most single-day new cases — 23 — of COVID-19 since September on Friday, Wynn said Bulloch County recorded 29 cases for Saturday, Sunday and Monday combined. 

Bulloch has now recorded 3,459 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 East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Monday were caring for 12 COVID patients, with seven patients on ventilators.

Also, 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 109,298 virus patients were hospitalized in the United States as of Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. It was the sixteenth day in the past 17 that a new record was set for national hospitalizations.

There were 3,277 COVID patients hospitalized in Georgia, the Tracking Project reported as of Sunday. It also is the sixteenth day in the past 17 the state has seen an increase in hospitalizations. 

State, national case numbers

Georgia recorded 3,302 new cases Monday, and the state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 479,340. Georgia reported 13 deaths on Monday, raising the death toll to 9,218.

According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Monday afternoon, 300,361 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 16,407,785 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. 

Bulloch Schools

The Bulloch County Schools system has reported five new cases this week for a total of 210 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 over the weekend. 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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