The Georgia Department of Public Health was unable to update its COVID-19 daily status report Monday “due to a large amount of data overwhelming the system.”
That notice was posted on the Department of Health’s website at the same time Georgia is seeing record-shattering numbers of new COVID cases.
“We saw a more than 100% increase in local cases last week,” said Ted Wynn, director of the Bulloch Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency. “The wave that has hit many parts of Georgia is coming here. Thankfully, it appears the omicron variant that is behind the massive rise in cases is not causing serious illness. Let’s hope that stays the case.”
After recording 64 confirmed cases the week of Dec. 21-27, Wynn said Bulloch County had 121 cases in the four-day period of Dec. 28-31 – the last day cases numbers were available from the Department of Health.
Meanwhile, nearly 50,000 total cases were reported in Georgia on Thursday and Friday and the state has gone from a seven-day average of 976 cases per day on Dec. 1 to 15,567 cases per day on Dec. 31.
Similarly, the U.S. as whole has seen the average number of cases per day rise from 94,930 on Dec. 2 to 405,470 on Sunday, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The death rate, however, across the nation and in Georgia has not seen an increase corresponding to the rapid increase in cases. Georgia’s rate has stayed relatively stable for the past two months, while the nation’s rate has seen a small decline.
Early research indicates the omicron variant may be far more contagious than delta, but it is not nearly as deadly nor does it cause severe illness as often as delta, health officials said.
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center was treating 13 COVID patients on Monday with three requiring ventilators. That’s up from the Dec. 27 total of six patients and one on a ventilator.
Last week, hospital CEO Stephen Pennington said EGRMC has been preparing for a spike in cases.
“EGRMC staff are committed and resilient,” he said. “We have been anticipating the increase in cases and preparing ourselves mentally and emotionally for it. We are ready to work as a team to provide whatever level of care our community needs.”
Wynn, once again, asked Bulloch residents to reconsider getting a vaccine if they have not received one yet.
“I know some folks have got their heels dug in on this, but a vaccine and a booster offers the best protection against getting COVID and staying out of the hospital if you do get it,” he said.
COVID vaccines and boosters are free and available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies around Bulloch and at the Bulloch County Health Department.