On Sept. 1, Bulloch County was on a 14-day average of 1,456 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population and was coming off a week that saw 550 new cases reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Four weeks later, local cases are now averaging 169 per 100,000 population, and only 42 new confirmed cases were reported in the past seven days.
Also, after the Department of Health reported 12 Bulloch residents died due to COVID last week, no confirmed deaths were reported over the weekend. In fact, one confirmed death was taken away from Bulloch’s total by the DPH. No reason was given for the reduction.
“It certainly appears we are on the downside of the latest COVID surge,” said Ted Wynn, director of the Bulloch Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency. “That’s a trend we will watch closely and hope continues. But I caution everyone to still be careful and wear a mask indoors in public. And please still consider getting a vaccine if you have not got one yet. A vaccine is still the surest way to protect yourself and all of us, too.”
The vast majority of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated. And all three COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death despite the extra-contagious delta variant that caused cases to soar.
With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines currently available, U.S. health authorities said they're confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking Pfizer booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.
The spike in demand — expected following last week's federal recommendation on booster shots — would be the first significant jump in months. More than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated despite the enticement of lottery prizes, free food or gifts and pleas from exhausted health care workers as the average number of deaths per day climbed to more than 1,900 in recent weeks.
Federal and state health authorities said current supply and steady production of more doses can easily accommodate those seeking boosters or initial vaccination, avoiding a repeat of the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country early this year.
The Georgia Department of Health advised anyone who meets the eligibility guidelines and has received the Pfizer vaccine to check with their doctor or local pharmacy to make an appointment to get a booster.
The Bulloch County Health Department on Altman St. in Statesboro began offering Pfizer boosters on Monday, as well.
New cases reported at Georgia Southern University have dropped significantly for five consecutive weeks.
Confirmed and self-reported cases at Georgia Southern have fallen from 434 across its three campuses the week of Aug. 16–22, to 19 for the most recent week — Sept. 20–26. Of the total number, 13 were on the Statesboro campus, compared to 24 the previous week, 72 the week before that and 389 for Aug. 16–22.
According to the University system of Georgia, more than 313,000 COVID-19 tests have been sent to campuses, and an additional 50,000 tests are on the way. The university system also has distributed 942,000 gloves, 432,000 masks and face shields, 21,400 gowns and about 1,000 gallons of sanitizer and disinfectant solution.
Bulloch County Schools
Similar to Georgia Southern, reported cases at Bulloch County schools have dropped from 474 for the week of Aug. 15–21 to 15 for Sept. 19–25 after recording 36 the week before. Eight schools reported no cases at all last week, while Statesboro High had three cases and Southeast Bulloch High reported two.
Bulloch County reported 13 new confirmed cases of coronavirus since Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 7,808 since the pandemic began.
Also, Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center has 29 patients hospitalized with COVID and 12 on ventilators. It is the first time since Aug. 5 the hospital was treating fewer than 30 COVID patients at one time.
In Georgia, there were 1,703 new cases reported Monday, which were the fewest number of cases in a single day since Aug. 1. There were 138 confirmed deaths and 528 new hospitalizations since Friday. Since the pandemic began, there have been 22,122 Georgia residents die due to COVID
The Associated Press contributed to this report.