1 year after Georgia reported its first coronavirus cases, the state’s total reaches 819,730

Since beginning of pandemic, Clinch, Pierce and Ware county among hardest hit

Vietnam veteran Robert Ingram, 74, on West Broad Street adjusts a face mask in downtown Sparta, Georgia in this file photo from May 2020. (Curtis Compton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 1,227 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Monday -- one year to the day after Gov. Brian Kemp announced the state’s first cases.

This brings the total to 819,730 confirmed cases in the state since the pandemic began. At least 15,148 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported across the state, including 80 new deaths added Monday on the state’s status report. One of those additional deaths was in Ware County.

The state reported 50 additional hospitalizations Monday, bringing the total for the year to 56,089.

Over the past year, Georgia has tested 7,215,169 people for coronavirus. The state’s percent positive tests on Monday as 11%.

Over the year since the pandemic reached Georgia, about one of every 13 residents have tested positive for coronavirus.

Among the Southeast Georgia counties, Ware, Clinch and Pierce counties have been among the hardest hit, according to state data. One in every seven people in Clinch County has tested positive for the virus, while one in eight in both Pierce and Ware counties have had COVID-19. By contrast, only one in 15 people in Camden County have tested positive.

On Thursday afternoon, a parade was held in Kingsland to honor Lalonee Gibbs. (Special to WJXT)

One of the 382 people who died of the virus in Southeast Georgia over the past year was 45-year-old Lalonee Gibbs, a Camden County school bus driver. His 20-year career was honored with a parade that passed right by the house of Linda Thompson, Gibb’s mother.

“I never would have believed it in a million years I’d be burying one of my children, because I was so sure they would bury me,” Thompson told Tarik Minor on Monday. “Whatever he did for you, he did it with a smile -- a big infectious smile -- and he did it from the heart.”

Like so many families across our area, Thompson was unable to see her son before he died because of coronavirus safety protocols.

On Monday, Georgia reported 2,060,352 vaccines have been given in the state, with nearly 1.3 people having received their first dose and almost 778,318 have both shots.

One year ago today – Governor Ron DeSantis announced the first two cases of the coronavirus in Florida. Here in Duval County – we've counted nearly 89-thousand cases cases, and close to 12-hundred deaths… with more than 123-thousand people getting at least one vaccine dose - and 76-thousand fully vaccinated. But those who have been sickened by COVID-19… or lost their lives to the virus… are more than just a number… they leave behind families still mourning their deaths.