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COVID-19 Levels Remain Low in Clarke County

Credit: University of Georgia

The local pandemic outlook remains optimistic this week, as Clarke County COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain low. 

While Georgia still ranks near the bottom of all states for vaccination rates, the vaccine has become available to anyone over the age of 16 in Georgia, and the demand in Clarke County has remained high, as evidenced by how quickly appointments are filled when available on the DPH and other pharmacy websites. 

As Amber Schmidtke noted recently, Georgia needs to do a better job of matching supply to demand. One such imbalance is between the needs of Atlanta and the rest of the state, where there is less demand, but Georgia does seem to be trying to correct that issue. “We are seeing these corrections being made, with the governor announcing that 70 percent of this week’s allocations are going to North Georgia [including Atlanta], but it remains a point of frustration for many,” she remarked in her newsletter last week.

The DPH COVID vaccine dashboard has information about how to schedule an appointment at a GEMA mass vaccination site or major pharmacy chain. The county health department, as well as area hospitals and smaller, independent pharmacies are also offering shots.

While vaccinations may still be a point of contention, the good news is that cases and hospitalizations remain low. Clarke County now has a cumulative total of 12,415 confirmed positive cases, with an additional 2,160 positive antigen tests, and the seven-day moving average of new cases was 9.7 as of Mar. 29. 

At UGA, there were just 32 positive cases reported last week, but participation in surveillance testing seems to have decreased in recent weeks. A little over 1,100 surveillance tests were administered this week, a decrease of 300 or 400 tests a week compared to testing trends several weeks ago.

There have been a total of 478 hospitalizations in Clarke County, with just four new COVID-19 hospitalizations added in the last week. Further, ICU bed space is at 92% capacity, with 65 beds in use, and COVID-19 patients only make up 9.2% of all hospitalized patients in Region E now. Out of the 563 total hospitalized patients in Region E, only 52 are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Deaths, a lagging indicator, continue to remain steady, however. Clarke County has had 128 deaths from COVID-19 total. Seven of those occurred in the past week.