More than 1,600 students, faculty and staff of Georgia Southern University received COVID-19 vaccinations Friday during a university-sponsored clinic in the parking area behind Paulson Stadium.
Starting at 8:30 a.m., people who had lined up in their vehicles in five separate rows for the drive-thru clinic began receiving their vaccines from volunteers made up of students and faculty from the Waters College of Health Professions, according to a release from Jennifer Wise, director of Communications for GS.
Wise said the university began its vaccination program in early February, which has been organized by epidemiologists with the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and led by Health Services Medical Director Dr. Brian DeLoach. Friday’s clinic was Georgia Southern’s largest to date, Wise said.
Meanwhile, the vaccination effort around Bulloch County continued to pick up pace this week. With the arrival of at least another 4,200 doses, Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said on Wednesday, “Any county resident 16 years and older who wants to make a vaccine appointment should be able to get one in a day or two. I urge everyone to do just that. The vaccine is readily available, proven safe and effective.”
Bulloch County recorded five confirmed new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and two on Thursday. Bulloch now has a total of 5,161 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The decline in the confirmed number of total cases in March in Bulloch County was dramatic compared to January and February. There were 842 new cases reported in January, 455 in February, but only 102 in March.
Across the state, there were 1,194 new cases reported on Friday and 944 on Thursday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 854,416. The state also has seen a huge drop in the number of confirmed new COVID cases since January. Cases decreased from 161,342 reported in January to 67,282 in February to 32,629 for March.
The Bulloch COVID cases have resulted in 62 confirmed deaths and 210 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health has reported 48 non-confirmed deaths, which represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/ rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID-19 symptoms and then died.
The state reported 64 deaths on Friday and 59 on Thursday. Georgia’s death toll now stands at 16,727 since March 2020.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Wednesday that starts on April 8 and ends a ban on large gatherings, eliminates shelter-in-place requirements and reduces any remaining distance requirements at restaurants, bars, and movie theaters and between people at group fitness classes, according to the governor's office.
National death toll
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Friday afternoon, 553,826 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 30,590,311 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
All residents of Bulloch County and the state of Georgia aged 16 and older are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.
Bulloch residents are urged to contact private providers such as East Georgia Regional Medical Center and local pharmacies directly to see if a vaccine appointment is available. Vaccines also are available at Walgreen’s, CVS and Walmart.
To schedule an appointment at the Bulloch Health Department, call (855) 473-4374. If an appointment is not available at the Altman St. office in Statesboro, they can schedule an appointment at any of the health departments in the area through the same appointment number
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Friday were caring for eight COVID patients, with two patients on ventilators.
The Bulloch County Schools system reported five new cases so far this week, and a total of 621 COVID cases since classes started on Aug. 17.
Georgia Southern had 27 total cases reported March 22-28 – 19 self-reported and eight university- confirmed cases. GS reported 18 total cases for the week of March 15-21.
East Georgia State College reported no new cases across its three campuses since March 22. The college has had a total of 157 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases across its campuses for the week of March 15–21. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 70 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.