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Deaths climb in Georgia even as COVID-19 infections remain low



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Georgia continues to see a stable and lower number of new COVID-19 cases but deaths spiked above 170 on Friday. Both Georgia and South Carolina are seeing the weekly average for new cases drop steadily.

Georgia added 2,174 new cases to top 800,000 at 800,959 with 172 new deaths for 14,530, the Department of Public Health reported.

Richmond County saw 56 more for 18,261 and Columbia County had 29 more for 10,335.

All other counties had three new cases or less:

  • three in Burke for 1,635,
  • two in McDuffie for 1,551,
  • two in Jefferson for 1,520,
  • one in Wilkes for 636 and
  • one in Lincoln for 476.

All other counties were unchanged:

  • Screven at 768,
  • Jenkins at 695,
  • Warren at 352,
  • Glascock at 137 and
  • Taliaferro at 93.

Richmond County suffered three new deaths and has lost 17 over the past five days for 335 total and Columbia County lost a patient, with deaths in Aiken and Edgefield counties, raising the area’s toll to 879.

Georgia Public Health got the results of 25,812 tests, of which 8.42% were positive, below the overall positive rate of 10.74, which dipped slightly, according to an analysis by the Augusta Chronicle. The seven-day average for new cases fell for the 12th straight day, from 2,448.29 to 2,097.43, the analysis found.

Georgia has given 1,606,622 shots from the 1,958,100 it had received as of Thursday night, or 82.05%, according to Chronicle analysis of public health data. Georgia is averaging 37,856 shots a day, the analysis found.

AU Health System continues to see a decline in the COVID-19 patients it is treating in the hospital to 35 on Friday, five fewer than Thursday, with 68 new positive tests to reach 25,102 since its first reports in March, spokeswoman Christen Engel said.

University Hospital remained at 60 COVID-19 inpatients for a third straight day, after discharging eight patients but admitting eight more, spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said.

Doctors Hospital of Augusta saw a big decline in patients in the hospital to 37 on Friday, seven less than the day before, and had one new case for 732 since the pandemic began, spokesman Kaden Jacobs said.

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta had 15 more cases for 1,671 total, with 87 active cases among 81 veterans and six staff members, and remained at 80 deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Augusta VA has vaccinated 7,113 veterans, 270 more than Thursday, with 4,458 receiving both doses.

South Carolina added 1,706 new cases to reach 432,780 with 48 new deaths for 7,325, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported.

Aiken County had 41 new cases for 11,739 with one new death for 164 and Edgefield County saw 22 more for 2,299 with a new death for 25 total.

The state got the results of 38,116 tests, of which 4.48% were positive, nearly half the overall rate of 7.67%, which fell slightly, Chronicle analysis found. The seven-day average for new cases fell for a fifth straight day, from 1,314 to 1,296, according to the analysis.