While Georgia hasn’t seen the dramatic rise in new COVID cases currently hitting Northern and Midwestern states, the state is now averaging about 1,300 new cases per day and health officials fear another surge may be on the horizon.
The number of new cases across the country has spiked 43% in the past two weeks to 119,301 per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control. At the same time, deaths have risen 32% to 1,298 per day.
Georgia recorded a seven-day average of 1,366 positive tests for the virus last week, after that number had bottomed out below 700 for most of November. The number of cases detected has been rising steadily since Thanksgiving, although case levels still remain far below the peaks of more than 9,000 a day seen in January and August.
The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients is also rising statewide, reaching 1,090 on Thursday after bottoming out below 850 in late November.
Georgia has recorded more than 30,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Locally, for the fifth week in a row, East Georgia Regional Medical Center reported on Monday that no patients being treated for the virus needed a ventilator.
Ted Wynn, director of the Bulloch Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency, reported two COVID patients were hospitalized at East Georgia, but no one was on a ventilator.
Only 14 new COVID cases were reported in Bulloch County last week, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. One probable death caused by the virus was reported in the past week.
While the omicron variant accounts for about 15% of new cases reported in Europe, so far it has been found in only about 3% of US cases.
The Georgia Department of Health said the delta variant of the virus still makes up 99% of cases detected in Georgia. The state tests a small fraction of virus cases to determine the genetic variant, meaning more undetected omicron cases are likely present.
The CDC is trying to establish whether the omicron variant causes milder — or more severe — illness than other coronavirus types.
Officials say cases are mostly in people who haven’t been vaccinated against the disease and urge people to seek inoculation against the virus to slow transmission and prevent the emergence of additional variants.
Anyone 5 and older is eligible to be vaccinated, while boosters are recommended for adults who completed the two-shot regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago or who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago.
Georgia Southern University reported no confirmed new COVID cases and eight self-reported across the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses for the week of Dec. 6-12. Students are now on Christmas break. Classes resume Jan. 10, 2022.
Bulloch County Schools
Bulloch County schools reported three new cases for the week of Dec. 5-11. This is the last week of classes prior to Christmas break beginning next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.