After going almost a year with at least one new COVID-19 case reported every day, Bulloch County reported zero confirmed cases for the second time in the past three days.
Also, for the first time since June 2020, the state reported fewer than 1,000 new cases for four consecutive days. In fact, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Wednesday report says there have been fewer than 750 daily confirmed cases since Saturday.
Trends across the nation are seeing a similar pattern, with almost all states experiencing steep declines in cases and deaths due to COVID. Teams of experts are projecting COVID-19's toll on the U.S. will fall sharply by the end of July, according to research released by the government Wednesday.
“We are not out of the woods yet, but we could be very close," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, while noting that variants of the coronavirus are a “wild card” that could set back progress.
Several states are still seeing high rates of infections, including Florida, Michigan and Texas. Florida’s seven-day average of new cases is the highest in the U.S. at 4,595 per day. Comparatively, Georgia’s seven-day average is 1,256 cases per day and California’s seven-day average is 1,766.
But since Saturday, Georgia reported 669 cases on Sunday, 579 on Monday, 745 on Tuesday and 735 on Wednesday, according to the Department of Health. It is the first four-day period since June 7-10, 2020, the state has recorded less than 1,000 new confirmed daily cases.
With COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and cases plummeting since January, many states and cities are already moving to ease or lift restrictions on restaurants, bars, theaters and other businesses and talking about getting back to something close to normal this summer.
Gov. Brian Kemp ordered over the weekend the removal of most of Georgia’s remaining requirements for social distancing and masked employees from businesses, saying that the state's efforts to control COVID-19 have been successful.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday set a goal of delivering shots to 70% of U.S. adults by July Fourth. Such a goal, if met, would fit in with the best-case scenarios.
“Something I am asked often is when will the pandemic be over and when can we go back to normal. The reality is: It all depends on the actions we take now,” CDC Director Walensky said.
Local vaccine appointments are readily available at more than two dozen locations across Bulloch County, including pharmacies, East Georgia Regional Medical Center, local doctors’ offices and the Bulloch Health Department.
CVS Health in Statesboro is now accepting walk-in customers for COVID-19 vaccinations and at all 8,300 of its stores that are doling out shots.
Walgreens in Statesboro also is accepting walk-ins and expects to offer vaccines at all 9,200 of its U.S. stores by this weekend.
As of Wednesday, 16,409 Bulloch residents had received at least one dose, an increase of 120 since Monday. The number of residents fully vaccinated is up to 13,586, an increase of 359 since Monday.
Across Georgia, 3,667,759 residents have received at least one dose as of Wednesday and 2,787,207 are fully vaccinated. However, only Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana and Wyoming have a lower rate than Georgia of residents receiving at least one shot.
According to the CDC, almost 148 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 106 million have been fully vaccinated. The CDC also reports that after a nationwide high of 3.38 million vaccines given on April 13, vaccinations fell to 2.19 million on Tuesday.
Local, state COVID cases
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said with six new cases on Tuesday and none on Wednesday, the county now has a total of 5,263 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. Overall, the COVID cases have resulted in 64 confirmed deaths and 217 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health has reported 50 non-confirmed deaths, which represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/ rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID symptoms and then died.
Across the state, there were 745 new cases on Tuesday and 735 on Wednesday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 883,418.
The state reported 13 deaths on Tuesday and 22 on Wednesday. Georgia’s death toll now stands at 17,625 since March 2020.
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Wednesday afternoon, 579,125 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 32,546,124 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
The Bulloch County Schools system has had three new cases this week. A total of 643 COVID cases have been reported since classes started on Aug. 17. Since the beginning of March, the system has reported a total of only 48 new cases.
Georgia Southern had seven total cases reported April 26-May 2 — six self-reported and one university-confirmed case. GS reported 12 total cases for the week of April 19-25.
East Georgia State College has reported no new cases since April 18. The college has had a total of 159 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases the week of April 26-May 2 on the Bulloch campus. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 73 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.