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Vaccines begin
But Wynn still urges caution
Ted Wynn shot.jpg
In this file photo, Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Ben Ross, owner of Forest Heights Pharmacy on Country Club Road in Statesboro. Wynn said Friday the local COVID surge is approaching "unsustainable" status for local health teams.

COVID-19 vaccinations began in Bulloch County Wednesday at the same time infections and deaths from the virus continue to increase across Georgia and the United States. In fact, Georgia set a single-day record for new cases on Thursday - 7,959, which far exceeded its previous record of 6,241 new cases set on Tuesday.

Vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer are being given to the residents and at long-term care facilities around Bulloch, and some health care workers and emergency personnel are receiving the shot, as well. Staff from McCook's Pharmacy and Forest Heights gave shots Wednesday and CVS and Walgreens are expected to begin shortly. Vaccines are still in relatively short supply, but the Southeast Health District, which includes Bulloch, expects more vaccine to be shipped on a regular basis, though no schedule has been announced.

Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn, said Bulloch recorded 19 new cases on Thursday. Bulloch has now recorded 3,613 total COVID cases, which have resulted in 36 deaths and 162 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.

Also, the state Department of Health is reporting an additional 21 deaths in Bulloch probably were caused by COVID. According to the Georgia DPH, the 21 non-confirmed deaths represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID-19 symptoms and subsequently died. 

While Wynn sees the vaccine as a turning point in gaining the upper hand on the virus, he cautioned that safety guidelines are more important than ever.

"It may take six months or longer before the vaccine is available to all county residents who want one," Wynn said. "We now have the means to beat this thing, but we must be smart in these coming months. Wear your mask. Social distance. Stay away from large gatherings, particularly indoors. This is our responsibility to each other." 

Also, Wynn expressed concern at the rise in infections in Bulloch, though they remain below the highs of late August and early September. According to state statistics, Bulloch County has seen the number of COVID cases per 100,000 residents in the previous two weeks rise from 115 on Nov. 22 to 259 on Thursday. Additionally, the percentage of positive COVID tests has gone from a seven-day average of 5.9% on Nov. 26 to 14.1% on Thursday – Bulloch’s highest percentage rate since it was 15% on Sept. 21.

Wynn said East Georgia Regional Medical Center staff on Thursday were caring for 22 COVID patients, with eight patients on ventilators.

Also, COVID cases that require hospitalization continue to set records in the U.S. and across Georgia. On Wednesday, a record 119,463 people were hospitalized across the nation, an increase of 33,484, or 39%, in the 30 days since 85,979 people were hospitalized on Nov. 23.

Similarly, Georgia set another single-day record for most hospitalizations with 4,157 on Wednesday, marking the 27th day in the past 28 the state has seen an increase in hospitalizations, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Since Nov. 23, Georgia has seen daily hospitalizations rise from 2,257 to 4,157 – a 46-percent increase in 30 days.


State, national case numbers

Georgia recorded 7,959 new cases Thursday, and the state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 531,954. Georgia reported 54 deaths on Thursday, raising the death toll to 9,607.

According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Thursday afternoon, 328,095 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 18,586,874 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.


Bulloch Schools

The Bulloch County Schools system reported two new cases this week for a total of 233 COVID cases since classes started on Aug. 17.


Local colleges

For the last week of the fall semester, Georgia Southern recorded 14 new cases for the week of Dec. 14-20. Thirteen of the new cases were on the Statesboro campus. Georgia Southern will report again on Monday, Dec. 28.

East Georgia State College reported no new cases of COVID-19 since Dec. 17. The college has had a total of 105 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.

Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases for the week of Dec. 14-20. The college has had a total of 39 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.


Testing sites

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 noon Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. To schedule a free test, call (855) 473-4374 or visit

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