Georgia’s Department of Public Health reported Friday that there have been 106 additional deaths due to COVID-19, raising the total of death attributed to the virus to 20,041.
“It is tragic but not surprising that we have surpassed this grim milestone of 20,000 COVID deaths in our state,” Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “Ninety-seven percent of COVID deaths since we’ve had vaccine are in unvaccinated individuals. These deaths are preventable.”
There are 9,119 new cases on Friday, raising the total to 1,112,841 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations are at 74,245, which is an increase of 468 from Thursday.
COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths began surging in Georgia last month, driven by the delta variant. The delta variant is more transmissible than the original coronavirus strain and research shows that it results in a higher rate of severe illness and hospitalization than other variants.
Gov. Brian Kemp this week ordered more National Guard troops to help with overloaded hospitals around the state, including Southeast Georgia Help System’s campus in Glynn and Camden counties.
COVID-19 is spreading fastest in areas with low vaccination rates. Currently, only 44% of Georgians are fully vaccinated.
With the holiday weekend, officials warn the virus could spread even more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cases increase in areas with low vaccination rates.
The CDC is encouraging vaccinations this holiday, reminding people that even those who are vaccinated in areas with a substantial or high level of community spread should wear a mask indoors and in public.
Kemp said the best way to fight this virus is with the vaccine.
To find a COVID vaccination location, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.