The same day Georgia Southern began the Spring 2021 semester, the university reported its highest number of weekly positive COVID-19 cases among its students and employees in the past four months.
On Monday, Georgia Southern reported it had 133 positive cases for the week of Jan. 4-11 – 127 self-reported cases and six university confirmed cases. The previous week, the university reported 20 total cases. It is the most cases since 363 were reported for the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6.
In a statement released as part of Georgia Southern’s weekly report of COVID cases, the university said:
“As reflected by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia and throughout our region, the report shows an increase of positive cases, with 6 university-confirmed cases and 127 self-reported cases last week, as we head into the first week of the Spring 2021 semester.
“An institution of nearly 27,000 students and 3,350 employees in our overall university population, positive reports within Georgia Southern’s campuses remain proportionally low. To remain effective with our plan to protect campus classrooms, offices, and communities, we must remain vigilant with our adherence to public health guidelines.”
The 133 new coronavirus cases include 102 on the Statesboro campus, 28 on the Armstrong-Savannah campus and three on the Liberty campus in Hinesville.
Meanwhile, Bulloch County had its worst four days of new COVID-19 cases since early September with 161 cases reported since Thursday.
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said Bulloch recorded 52 new cases on Friday, 57 on Saturday, 31 Sunday and 21 on Monday. The weekend jump pushed Bulloch over 4,000 total COVID cases to 4,081, which have resulted in 38 deaths and 170 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
After setting a single-day record with 10,393 new cases Friday, Georgia had 9,015 on Saturday, 7,175 on Sunday and 6,360 on Monday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 642,712.
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Monday were caring for 29 COVID patients, with eight patients on ventilators. The hospital has had at least 21 COVID patients in its care since Dec. 21, reaching a peak of 31 patients twice last week.
COVID cases that require hospitalization continue to increase in Georgia, setting another single-day high on Sunday with 5,993 state residents hospitalized with coronavirus. Georgia has seen hospitalizations increase almost every day since Nov. 15. In fact, since that day, daily hospitalizations have risen from 1,978 to 5,993 — a 203-percent increase in eight weeks.
Across the United States, cases that require hospitalization have declined since hitting a peak last Wednesday 132,464 Americans in the hospital with COVID on that day. On Sunday, hospitalizations had declined to 129,223.
State, national case numbers
With 17 deaths on Monday, on top of 102 over the weekend, the state’s death toll is now 10,299. According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Monday afternoon, 375,373 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 22,540,969 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
East Georgia State College reported nine new cases on its three campuses since Friday, including four on the Statesboro campus. The college has had a total of 119 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported four new cases for the week of Jan. 4-10. The college had not had a positive case at its Bulloch County campus since the week of Oct. 19–25, but all four cases last week were in Statesboro. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 43 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 11:30 a.m. on Mondays only. 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.