The steep declines in new COVID-19 cases that began in the middle of January across the nation and in Bulloch County continued in the past week, as the omicron variant infected fewer and fewer people.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said Bulloch County reported 236 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week — less than half of the 504 for the previous week and down from 881 the week of Jan. 11–17.
Across the United States, the number of new daily cases has gone from a high of 1.2 million recorded on Jan. 18 all the way down to 295,000 cases on Sunday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In following a similar pattern to previous COVID case surges, however, the country’s death rate is seeing a rise as cases decline, and the daily American death toll is higher than at any point during last fall's delta wave, with deaths likely to keep rising for a few weeks.
The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has climbed since mid-November, reaching 2,565 on Sunday.
Bulloch County recorded four deaths last week, according to the Georgia Department of Health, which is the most local deaths in a seven-day period since Nov. 30–Dec. 6 last year.
With more than 901,000 deaths, the United States has the highest COVID-19 toll of any nation.
At 53.1% of its population fully vaccinated, only Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Idaho have lower vaccine rates than Georgia.
“COVID-19 is essentially here to stay,” said DeKalb County Health Director Dr. Sandra J. Valenciano. “If you are fully vaccinated, and you are eligible for the booster, get your booster. If you’re not vaccinated, getting your vaccine protects you and it helps protect your community.”
Valenciano said she and others continue to push community outreach, combat misinformation and support mobile clinics across Georgia.
According to the Department of Health, among ethnic groups, Asian Americans have the highest vaccination rate in Georgia at 94.9%. Native Americans are at 69.7%, Hispanics at 55%, whites at 53% and Blacks at 52.3%.
In Bulloch County, 36% of the eligible population are fully vaccinated, well below the state and national average.
Ted Wynn, director of the Bulloch Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency, said East Georgia Regional Medical Center was treating 28 COVID-19 patients on Monday, with six on ventilators. That compares with 29 patients last week and four on ventilators.
Bulloch County Schools
Bulloch County Schools reported only 91 new COVID cases for the week of Jan. 30–Feb. 5, a massive decline from the 216 cases reported Jan. 23–29.
Brooklet Elementary had the most cases with 18, while Statesboro High had 12.
Georgia Southern UniversityGeorgia Southern University has seen the number of COVID cases drop from 502 reported across its three campuses the week of Jan. 17–23 to 123 for the week of Jan. 31–Feb. 6. Also, 90 of the 123 cases were reported on the Statesboro campus, a huge decline from the 201 cases recorded for the week of Jan. 24–30.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.