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COVID-19 roundup: 2-state to see fewer restrictions, more money in pandemic battle



AUGUSTA, Ga.  – A big change is coming Thursday for Georgia’s businesses.

That’s because some COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted.

Among them:

  • There will be no ban on large gatherings.
  • Shelter-in-place requirements will be lifted.
  • Social distancing rules will be lifted in places like restaurants and bars
  • Law enforcement will no longer be allowed to close an organization for not following guidelines.

For now, the changes are in effect until the end of April.

The two-state region is expecting more funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help expand vaccine rollouts.

The agency is providing $3 billion to help underserved areas in the nation.

More than $95 million is going to Georgia and $47 million is going to South Carolina.

The money can help train people to go door to door in their communities, raise vaccine awareness and help people sign up for appointments.

As vaccinations continue in South Carolina, state health officials say not as many young people are getting vaccinated.

And as a result, data shows the 21-30 age group is the group with the highest number of new COVID-19 cases.

That’s leading to health experts raising the alarm about the danger of a possible fourth wave of the pandemic.

Officials also say while the effects on younger people might not be as severe, the risk is that they could spread it to more vulnerable populations.

“Young people are the arms and legs of the epidemic,” Prisma Health Infectious Disease Physician Edwin Hayes said. “They might not necessarily be the endpoint in terms of severe disease and hospitalizations, but they are a big part of what perpetuates this virus and allows it to get into communities where there are vulnerable individuals.”

Hayes warned that although young people for the most part don’t get as severely ill as older age groups, he has seen cases of young people having issues with brain fog, blood clots, and chronic fatigue.

Kelly said she also thinks some university students aren’t getting the vaccine because they don’t want to worry about vaccine side effects during exam time.

Chief Health Officer at the University of South Carolina Deborah Beck said UofSC is encouraging students to get vaccinated and making it accessible with an on-campus vaccination site.

President Joe Biden is moving up the deadline for states to make all adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.

He says every adult should be able to get vaccinated by April 19.

That’s two weeks earlier than his original deadline of May 1.