Three elderly Bulloch County residents died due to COVID-19 in the past two days, pushing the number of confirmed local deaths to 61. When combined with what the Georgia Department of Public Health considers "probable" deaths from COVID, 108 Bulloch residents have fallen victim to coronavirus in the past year.
Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said six local deaths have been confirmed since last Friday and four probable deaths. The deaths reported Thursday and Friday were a 90+ year-old man, a 90+ year-old woman and an 89-year-old woman. All three had previous health conditions, Wynn said.
"Many of our elderly population have been vaccinated and that will provide the best protection," Wynn said. "Of course, the virus is still deadly to some, especially the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. We just need to remain vigilant, get vaccines, wear masks in public and get vaccines. Let's keep the numbers low and hopefully this truly will be behind us soon."
Bulloch County reported six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past two days and 13 total since last Friday. That's the fewest number of new cases since last May.
Wynn said Bulloch now has a total of 5,141 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. The COVID cases have resulted in 61 confirmed deaths and 209 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health has reported 47 non-confirmed deaths, which represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/ rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID-19 symptoms and then died.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported Bulloch continues to see a decline below 100 COVID cases per 100,000 population, which is one of the first goals in getting the virus under control in a geographic area. On Friday, that number was down to 35 cases per 100,000. On March 1, Bulloch was at 187 cases per 100,000.
Also, Wynn said the state health department said Bulloch remains below the 5% daily positivity rate of new COVID tests on Wednesday – another key data point in gaining control of the virus. Bulloch is now at 2.5%. On March 1, Bulloch was at 11.1%.
State/national COVID cases
Across the state, there were 1,831 new cases reported on Friday and 2,058 on Thursday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 847,805.
The state reported 84 deaths on Friday and 82 on Thursday. Georgia's death toll now stands at 16,417 since March 2020.
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Monday afternoon, 547,756 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 30,129,858 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
As of Thursday, all residents of Bulloch County and the state of Georgia aged 16 and older are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.
So far, Georgia has administered 3,463,218 vaccine doses to groups that have gradually become eligible since mid-December, including all residents ages 55 and older, health care workers, nursing home residents and staff, first responders, judges, courtroom staff and people with physical, mental or behavioral health conditions.
The state dashboard detailing the distribution of local vaccine hasn't been working since Wednesday. As of Tuesday, in Bulloch County, more than 24,000 total doses had been administered of mostly the Moderna vaccine. Of the total doses, more than 9,000 had received a second shot, which offers the highest protection against contracting the virus.
Retired educator Dr. Charles Bonds received his shot at the Bulloch County Health Department on March 12.
"I want to show those in the community that the vaccine is safe to receive," he said. "I encourage those who are eligible to be vaccinated to do so."
Bulloch residents are urged to contact private providers such as East Georgia Regional Medical Center and local pharmacies directly to see if a vaccine appointment is available. Vaccines also are available at Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.
To schedule an appointment at the Bulloch Health Department, call (855) 473-4374. If an appointment is not available at the Altman St. office in Statesboro, they can schedule an appointment at any of the health departments in the area through the same appointment number.
Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Friday were caring for seven COVID patients, with two patients on ventilators.
The Bulloch County Schools system reported two new cases so far this week, and a total of 614 COVID cases since classes started on Aug. 17.
Georgia Southern had 18 total cases reported March 15–21 — 12 self-reported and six university- confirmed cases. GS reported 18 total cases for the week of March 8–14.
East Georgia State College reported no new cases across its three campuses since Monday. The college has had a total of 156 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases across its campuses for the week of March 15–21.
Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 70 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.