By Tia Lynn Ivey
Georgia reached a grim milestone this week, surpassing half a million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 10,000 resulting deaths since the coronavirus pandemic hit Georgia in mid-March last year. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced a field hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center would be opened due to record numbers of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized across the state.
Morgan County’s case numbers are also on the rise, increasing by more than a 100 new cases in the last two weeks, bringing the cumulative total to more than 800 cases.
As of press time on Tuesday, Jan. 5, Morgan County has reported a total of 827 coronavirus cases, eight deaths and 53 hospitalizations. A total of 113 new cases have been reported over the last 14 days in Morgan County.
“It’s a significant increase,” said County Manager Adam Mestres at the regular Morgan County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 5. “It could be due to the recent holiday gatherings and travel that we are seeing this uptick.”
Morgan’s total coronavirus case count since the beginning of the pandemic in March is 755 cases as of press time on Tuesday, Dec. 29. However, due to the holidays, health officials are warning of a lag in case counts. Another report by the Atlanta Constitution Journal estimated that Morgan County’s case county could be up to four times higher than currently reported due to gaps in testing and other factors.
Statewide, Georgia has reported at total of 597,209 coronavirus cases, 43,018 hospitalizations and 9,966 COVID-related deaths. This information is from the Georgia Department of Public Health. According to the GDPH, Over the last 14 days, the average daily increase in newly confirmed cases was 5,593.29 new cases a day. Over the previous 14-day period, the average daily increase in newly confirmed cases was 4,752.
Surrounding counties to Morgan are also experiencing a third wave of coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Greene County has reported a total of 1,023 total cases, 26 deaths, and 83 hospitalizations. Greene reported 189 new cases in the last 14 days. Putnam County has reported 1,227 total coronavirus cases, 32 deaths, and 95 hospitalizations. Putnam reported 157 new cases in the last 14 days. Jasper County has reported a total of 430 coronavirus cases, six deaths and 28 hospitalizations. Jasper County reported 61 new coronavirus cases in the last 14 days. Newton County has reported a total of 4,916 coronavirus cases, 120 deaths and 423 hospitalizations. Newton County has reported 622 new coronavirus cases in the last 14 days. Walton County has reported a total of 5,015 cases, 88 deaths and 330 hospitalizations. Walton County has reported 1,102 new cases in the last 14 days. Oconee County has reported a total of 1,887 coronavirus cases, 41 deaths and 94 hospitalizations. Oconee County has reported 452 new cases in the last 14 days.
Georgia was ranked the 11th worst hit state in the nation by the White House Coronavirus Task Force due to the surge of cases in recent weeks.
The task force urged all Georgians, and Americans all over the country, to limit social contact and take CDC recommended precautions to slow the spread.
“No unmasked public gatherings are safe and no indoor private gatherings are safe without all members fully masked, unless all members are actively taking the same precautions and regularly test negative,” said the latest task force report last week.