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Athens COVID Cases Tick Up Again

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Clarke County saw a slight rise in cases last week, with the seven-day running average increasing from 13.1 on Dec. 10 to 14.1 on Dec. 17. There were 99 confirmed cases for the week, for a total of 17,884 cases in Clarke County since the beginning of the pandemic.

Ten Clarke County residents were hospitalized for the virus last week, for a total of 819 hospitalizations, and one more Clarke County resident died, bringing COVID-19 casualties to 180.

Wastewater samples from UGA infectious diseases professor Erin Lipp’s lab showed an increase in viral levels again last week, after a brief lull the previous week. The data is a glimpse into what to expect in future Georgia Department of Public Health data. “Averaged for the week, loads increased nearly 10-fold compared to last week,” the weekly update stated.

While concern over the Omicron variant continues and public health officials are encouraging vaccination and booster shots, Athens’ vaccination rate continues to increase at a slow and steady pace. To date, 63,995 Clarke County residents, or 51%, have received at least one shot and 59,332 residents, or 47%, are fully vaccinated. A total of 608 doses were given last week. Pediatric vaccinations have been slow as well. To date, 1,152 Clarke County children ages 5-9 have received at least one dose, and 2,474 children ages 10-14 have received at least one dose. As for booster shots, the DPH vaccine dashboard shows that 20,666 residents, or 34% of the fully vaccinated, have received an additional dose.

At UGA for the week of Dec. 6-12, 431 vaccines were administered, and a total of 4,114 people have received a booster dose. Cases decreased slightly at UGA for the week, likely a result of many students leaving town as the end of the semester approaches. There were 22 positive cases, but only 375 surveillance tests done.