3 new COVID-19 cases reported in Southeast Georgia as statewide cases surpass 28,600

Statewide death toll reaches 1,179 as Georgia’s shelter-at-home order ends

At a pilot large-scale drive-through COVID-19 testing site on Thursday in Conyers, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
At a pilot large-scale drive-through COVID-19 testing site on Thursday in Conyers, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

There were three new cases of novel coronavirus reported in Southeast Georgia since Saturday evening, including one new case in Ware County, one new case in Camden County and one new case in Charlton County, the state Department of Public Health reported Sunday evening.

The statewide death toll was at 1,179, an increase of four, as of 7:30 p.m. Sunday, days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed a statewide shelter-in-place order to expire at midnight. Kemp is extending his emergency powers to June 12 and telling the elderly and medically fragile to stay at home until then.

Of the six Southeast Georgia counties tracked by News4Jax, Ware County has been hit the hardest, with a total of 130 cases reported. The county recorded its 11th coronavirus-related death Thursday night.

A total of 18 deaths have been reported in the region, which has 311 confirmed COVID-19 cases. No new deaths were reported in the area Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Across the state, infections have been confirmed in 28,602 people, an increase of 340 when compared to Saturday evening’s report.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, 5,393 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalized. Kemp tweeted that 964 ventilators were in use on Sunday, marking the lowest day for ventilator utilization in Georgia. He said there were 1,916 ventilators available out of a total of 2,880.

Last week, Kemp allowed elective medical procedures to resume, and barbers, hairstylists, massage therapists, tattoo artists and bowling alleys to go back to work beginning Friday. Restaurants were allowed to begin serving diners on-site again on Monday.

They and other businesses are operating under restrictions meant to slow down virus transmission through May 13. But Kemp’s moves drew sharp criticism from within the state and nationwide, including multiple public rebukes from President Donald Trump.

An Associated Press analysis finds most states are not meeting the minimum levels of coronavirus testing suggested by the federal government and recommended by public health researchers, even as many of them begin to reopen their shattered economies. Three months into the public health emergency, the White House has largely resisted calls for a coordinated plan to conduct the millions of tests experts say are needed. States are being left to devise testing programs mostly on their own. Without robust testing, public health experts say states will be unable to detect outbreaks quickly enough to contain them.

States that do not meet the administration’s testing guidance, based on their current screening rates, include some that have been moving into the early stages of reopening, such as Colorado, South Carolina and Texas. Georgia, which has moved aggressively to ease restrictions and lift its stay-at-home order, is just under the 2% threshold.

According to Sunday’s numbers, Georgia has administered 183,002 tests.

About the Authors: