After the first three COVID-19 cases were reported Monday in Brantley County, the county reported its first death linked to the new coronavirus Tuesday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The first death connected to the virus was also reported in Pierce County on Tuesday.
Across the state, data released just before noon on Tuesday shows the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grew to 8,818, up 1,260 in the last 24 hours, while the number of deaths rose to 329 -- an increase of 35.
By the evening, the total number of confirmed cases reached 9,156 in the state. The number of confirmed deaths reached 348. A total of 1,899 people in Georgia with the virus were hospitalized -- that’s over 20%.
Ware County was the Southeast Georgia county tracked by News4Jax that showed the biggest increase, with a total of 37 cases reported Tuesday. There are 30 cases in Glynn County (up one from Monday night), 32 cases in Pierce County (up nine cases) and 17 cases in Camden County (up two).
Charlton County has reported three cases (no change since Monday).
There have been a total of five COVID-19 deaths reported in Southeast Georgia counties tracked by News4Jax: three in Ware County, one in Pierce County and one in Brantley County.
Fulton County still has the highest number of confirmed cases in Georgia with 1,185, and 39 deaths reported.
The small Southwest Georgia county of Dougherty has 56 reported deaths, the most of any county in the state, and 973 confirmed cases as of Tuesday evening.
Of those who have tested positive in Georgia, 59% were between 18 and 59 years old, 36% were age 60 and up, 1% were age 17 or younger and 4% were of unknown age. Of the COVID-19 patients, 53% were female and 45% were male, with the gender unknown for the other 2%.
At last check, 33,785 tests have been performed in Georgia, according to DPH.
Georgia drivers were told to keep their windows rolled up as their cars lined up at a mass drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 that opened Monday in a parking deck at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The state is partnering with CVS Health to set up rapid testing that can accommodate multiple lanes of cars simultaneously on Georgia Tech’s campus in midtown Atlanta, Gov. Brian Kemp announced.
“Roll your window up, roll your window up!” a police officer yelled at drivers as they approached the first of at least two checkpoints.
Dozens of drivers pressed their photo IDs and cellphones to their car windows to show their appointment confirmations. Cars were then directed to a testing area.
Kemp said in a statement Monday that the process was expected to take about 30 minutes from testing to deliver of the results. And Positive results could even be delivered in as little as five minutes, CVS said in a statement.
“Increased access to rapid testing remains one of our top priorities in order to identify more cases, get Georgians the care they need, and prevent further infection in our communities,” Kemp said.
At full capacity, the site will be able to conduct up to 1,000 tests per day.
“It will help us get a better sense of how widespread the virus is in the community,” said Dr. Marybeth Sexton, an infectious disease expert at the Emory University School of Medicine.
Emmanuel Kolady, senior vice president at CVS Health, said the company was eager to help in the public health crisis.
“Look, we’re one of the largest health care companies in the country and we believe we play an important role in dealing with this pandemic and we believe it’s our duty to step up and assist the local, state and the federal government in providing solutions,” Kolady said.
Patients must pre-register in advance for a same-day appointment online at www.CVS.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe and even life-threatening illness.
Elsewhere, President Donald Trump was asked Monday about Kemp’s decision to reopen the state’s beaches. Georgia’s governor had said people weathering the coronavirus outbreak need fresh air and exercise.
Kemp also noted Sunday on Twitter that state law enforcement officers were monitoring beaches at Tybee Island and elsewhere to ensure crowds weren’t gathering, and that beach traffic appeared sparse. Kemp said, “Beach gear and parties are prohibited.”
“Patrols are vigilant so people can get fresh air and exercise while following social distancing rules,” the governor tweeted.
At his daily news conference on the pandemic, Trump was asked about Kemp’s actions.
“I haven’t seen -- I’m going to have to see to what extent,” Trump said of the matter. “I’m going to have to see how many people you’re talking about. Are they crowded, are they packed, are they not packed? We’ll have to take a look at it. Right now, it’s very early for beaches in Georgia. So right now, very early. So I’ll take a look at it.”
Trump said Kemp has done a good job as governor: “He knows what he’s doing, we’ll have to take a look. It really does depend on, you know, how crowded it may be. But I will talk to him and I will ask him that question I would ask him. Yeah, please.”