The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia rose to 4,117 on Tuesday evening, with 17 new deaths. The new report comes after one expert predicted the state’s daily toll will keep escalating until late April.
As of 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 125 deaths in the state and 885 people hospitalized.
While the highest concentration of cases continues to be in metropolitan Atlanta, where Fulton County’s 599 cases by far the highest number in the state, 139 of Georgia’s 159 counties reported at least one positive result.
Dougherty County in southwest Georgia had at least 26 deaths, the most of any Georgia county, and continued to have the state’s highest per capita infection rate.
Most Southeast Georgia counties caseload remained the same Tuesday night, but Ware County increased from nine to 10 cases. Glynn County has 17 cases, Camden County has four and Charlton County continues to show one case. Pierce County reported three cases.
No deaths have been reported in our Southeast Georgia counties, although two of 32 patients in Chatham County (Savannah) have died.
Of the cases confirmed since testing began, 58% of patients were between the ages of 18 and 59 while 35% of patients were 60 or older.
As of Tuesday evening, 16,181 tests have been performed in Georgia, according to DPH.
According to the Georgia Department of Health, the youngest person to die from the virus is a 31-year-old DeKalb County man. The oldest has been a 95-year-old Baker County man.
Despite orders for people to avoid public gatherings in the region, Albany Mayor Bo Dorough told a news conference Monday he’s still fielding complaints about residents playing basketball in parks and hanging out at convenience stores. Bill Mathis, the elected chairman of neighboring Lee County, urged people to minimize trips outside their homes.
“When you go to the grocery store, please don’t take your family,” Mathis said. He urged residents to get outside for walks and bike rides, at a safe distance from neighbors, “so you don’t go stir crazy.”
Officials in Savannah and surrounding Chatham County announced that any visitors arriving by plane, train or bus will have their temperatures checked and face questions aimed at identifying anyone with COVID-19 symptoms who may need to self-quarantine. Checkpoints for screening travelers are expected to open in a few days. The job should be less arduous considering the outbreak has already caused a steep drop in travel.
“The airport normally has several thousand people come through there each day,” said Dennis Jones, Chatham County’s emergency management director. “Right now the numbers are 600 to 700, I believe.”
An infectious disease expert at Emory University said Monday that he expects the new virus’ daily toll will continue to escalate in the coming weeks. Dr. Carlos del Ripro said a model closely watched by epidemiologists predicts deaths in Georgia will peak around April 23, possibly with more than 80 people dying each day. He noted any model used to predict the toll of the virus has flaws.
Similar warnings from del Rio prompted the Georgia Municipal Association last week to urge leaders of all 538 Georgia cities to impose curfews and close some businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday praised del Rio for giving city officials “invaluable information.”