In a week where nearly 15,000 Americans died due to COVID-19 since Monday, Georgia shattered its single-day record with 10,393 new COVID-19 cases reported Friday, 1,600 more than the previous worst day. Meanwhile, Bulloch County topped 50 new cases in one day for the first time since early September.
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said Bulloch recorded 53 new cases on Friday, the most since 103 were reported on Sept. 7. Also, Wynn said an 84-year-old man with comorbidities and a 54-year-old woman with no comorbidities died in the past three days.
Bulloch has now recorded 3,972 total COVID cases, which have resulted in 38 deaths and 169 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Georgia recorded 10,393 new cases Friday, and the state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 620,247. Prior to Friday, the state’s previous high for new cases in a single day was 8,764 recorded on Jan. 1.
On Thursday, the U.S. topped 4,000 deaths in a single day, recording 4,085, according to Johns Hopkins University. And since Monday, 14,990 COVID patients have died, with California, Arizona, Texas and Florida particularly hard hit.
According to the Associated Press, Thursday ranked as one of the deadliest days in U.S. history, with the COVID-19 toll far outstripping the nearly 3,000 killed on 9/11 and exceeding the combined total of nearly 3,900 U.S. lives lost on D-Day and at Pearl Harbor.
The AP also reported that with COVID-19 surging and vaccinations off to a slow start, President-elect Joe Biden will rapidly release most available vaccine doses to protect more people, his office said Friday, a reversal of Trump administration policies.
The American Hospital Association estimates that the nation would need to vaccinate 1.8 million people a day, every day, from Jan. 1 to May 31, to reach the goal of having widespread immunity by the summer. That's also called “herd immunity” and would involve vaccinating at least 75% of the population.
After a hopeful start when the first vaccines were approved last month, the nation's inoculation campaign has been bogged down. Of 21.4 million doses distributed, about 5.9 million have been administered, or just under 28%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Thursday were caring for 30 COVID patients, with seven patients on ventilators. The hospital has had at least 21 COVID patients in its care since Dec. 21, reaching a peak of 31 patients on both this past Tuesday and Wednesday.
COVID cases that require hospitalization continue to increase in Georgia, setting another single-day high on Thursday with 5,782 state residents hospitalized with coronavirus, but it did drop slightly to 5,751 on Friday. Georgia has seen hospitalizations increase almost every day since Nov. 15. In fact, since that day, daily hospitalizations have risen from 1,978 to 5,782 — a 192-percent increase in eight weeks.
Across the United States, cases that require hospitalization hit another peak on Wednesday with 132,474 Americans in the hospital with COVID on that day. Hospitalizations did drop slightly to 132,370 on Thursday. National hospitalizations have increased 178% from 47,615 on Nov. 1 to 132,474 on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
State, national case numbers
With 70 deaths on Wednesday, Georgia moved past 10,000 confirmed fatalities due to COVID and the 65 deaths reported Thursday and 80 more on Friday, the states’ death toll is now 10,180. According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Friday afternoon, 367,929 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 21,800,055 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
Georgia Southern recorded 20 new cases for the week of Dec. 27–Jan. 3. Seventeen of the new cases were on the Statesboro campus. Georgia Southern will report again on Monday, Jan. 11.
East Georgia State College reported five new cases on its Swainsboro campus since Sunday. The college has had a total of 110 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases for the week of Dec. 27–Jan. 3. The college has not had a positive case 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.
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 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To schedule a free test, call (855) 473-4374 or visit www.sehdph.org/covid-19, 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.