Georgia reports more than 5,000 COVID-19 deaths since pandemic began

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 19: A sign displays "Free Covid-19 Testing" during Juneteenth Voter Registration Concert & Rally at Murphy Park Fairgrounds on June 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images,) (2020 Paras Griffin)

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported another 95 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 5,092. One of those deaths was in Ware County.

GDPH’s data shows Charlton County has the highest concentration among local counties of cases per 100,000 population and ranks it as one of its counties with the most cases per capita in the last two weeks.

The state reported 2,592 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours -- 77 of those in the six counties News4Jax tracks in Southeast Georgia -- bringing the state’s total to 252,222 confirmed cases. (Note: News4Jax tracks cases from one day to the next and our increases do not always match the numbers listed under “Reported Today” on the GDPH database.)

One of the state’s biggest school districts — Cherokee County — has temporarily closed three large high schools after the virus led to the quarantines of more than 2,000 students in the district.

Asked about the recent closure of the Cherokee County high schools, Gov. Brian Kemp said the spread of the virus “didn’t happen in the schools for the most part. It happened because people came back to school and they already had the coronavirus.”

“So is that the government’s fault? Is that the school’s fault? No, it is not,” Kemp said.

In Southeast Georgia, Hoboken Elementary in Brantley County was closed through Aug. 24 after several staff members tested positive. A Folkston Elementary School student tested positive earlier this month, but schools remain open in Charlton County. Ware County schools, which started the school year Monday, said several staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The district said no students were exposed and schools remain open.

Glynn County has reported one coronavirus case at Glynn Academy that sent 37 students into quarantine after students returned to classrooms on Thursday.

Camden County was the subject of a scathing New York Times article published Saturday that used policies from the district to highlight how some districts across the country are intentionally keeping information quiet about positive COVID-19 cases.