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COVID Cases Fall, but Athens Hospitals Are Still Busy

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The big news this week is that children ages 5-11 can now be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine was approved for emergency use for this age group by the FDA and the CDC two weeks ago and is now available via the Clarke County Health Department, local pharmacies and some local pediatricians. The dosage for this age group is one-third of the dose for adults and children 12 and older and is given as two doses with three weeks between doses.

To date, 63,032 Athens residents, or 50%, have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 57,889 residents, or 46%, have been fully vaccinated. The Georgia Department of Public Health’s vaccine dashboard does not yet include localized data on vaccination rates of children ages 5-11. However, only 2,112 Athens children ages 10-14 and 3,497 children ages 15-19 have received at least one dose.

The Clarke County School District is working to help families get their children vaccinated. CCSD announced Nov. 12 that it would be holding voluntary vaccination events at 12 elementary schools in the coming weeks. A list of those vaccination events, as well as a vaccine interest survey, was sent to parents and guardians and is available at

The number of vaccine doses administered at UGA rose for the week of Nov. 1–7, with 824 doses administered last week, compared to just 581 the week prior. In addition, 2,375 individuals had received a vaccine booster as of last week. 

Cases at UGA remained steady, with 22 positive tests reported Nov. 1–7, compared to 22 the week before. Surveillance testing numbers went down slightly, from 575 to 466.

Clarke County had 72 new positive cases last week, and an additional seven positive antigen tests. To date, there have been 17,527 positive confirmed cases and 2,681 positive antigen cases reported in Clarke County. The seven-day moving average decreased slightly from 12.7 on Nov. 5 to 9.3 on Nov. 12.

While cases were down, nine Clarke County residents were hospitalized for a total of 788 to date, and three more Athens residents died of COVID-19 last week, bringing the total to 10 for the past three weeks.

The number of regional hospitalizations, according to the Georgia Medical Facility Patient Census, went up slightly from 39 COVID-19 patients, or 6.2% of all patients, on Nov. 5 to 44 patients, or 6.5%, Nov. 12. While that’s down significantly from the peak of the Delta surge, 682 patients were hospitalized for non-COVID reasons, and the data shows a continued, steady increase in non-COVID patients at local hospitals. ICU bed capacity remains at a premium, with 65 patients occupying 93% of ICU beds.