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COVID-19 in Georgia at nearly 15,000 as state moves to expand who gets tested



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Georgia was at nearly 15,000 COVID-19 patients Wednesday as the state announced testing for the infection will be expanded to all who have symptoms. Augusta hospitals continue to see a steady stream of patients test positive.

AU Health System had 22 new positive patients to push its total to 239, with 25 in the hospital, spokeswoman Christen Engel said. University Hospital saw another four positive patients to increase its total to 109, with 39 in the hospital, spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said.

Doctors Hospital of Augusta had two more COVID-19 patients to increase its total to 31, with nine in the hospital along with two patients under investigation, spokesman Peter Moberg said. Aiken Regional Medical Center had three more patients to increase its total to 23 positives, with two in the hospital, spokeswoman Ashlee Brewer said. Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center had one more positive patient to push its total to 16, with one in the hospital.

The Georgia Department of Public Health said it is expanding the number of sites where samples will be collected for testing as now it will be done on all symptomatic patients. However, those who work in health care, law enforcement or other first responders, as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities, will still be prioritized, the department said. Those wanting to be tested will still need to get an appointment, either through the local health department or a health care provider, DPH said.

Georgia was at 14,987 cases and 552 deaths Wednesday, an increase of 409 new positives and 28 deaths overnight, according to the department. Richmond County had 168 cases and eight deaths, including one added Wednesday in a 67-year-old patient of unknown gender who had previous health problems.

Columbia County had 78 cases, McDuffie County had 30 cases and two deaths and Burke County had 28 cases and two deaths. Jenkins County had 12 cases and one death and Screven County had nine cases and one death, a 67-year-old woman with prior medical problems. Lincoln County also had nine cases, Warren and Wilkes counties had eight each and Jefferson County had seven with one death.

South Carolina reported 3,656 cases and 107 deaths, an increase of 103 patients and 10 deaths from Tuesday, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. There were 60 cases in Aiken County and three deaths and 10 cases in Edgefield County.