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Georgia cases, deaths on slow rise as vaccinations topped 3 million



AUGUSTA, Ga.  – Georgia continued to see a slow rise in new COVID-19 infections and new deaths Friday even as the state topped 3 million vaccinations against the disease. The Aiken-Augusta area had three new deaths and only Augusta saw more than 10 new cases.

Georgia added 1,261 new cases, a rise of 262 cases a day since Monday, to reach 841,084 with 26 new deaths – 224 since Monday, for a toll of 16,095. Richmond County had 13 new cases and was the only area county with a double-digit increase. Other counties had three new cases or fewer: three in Columbia for 10,688, one in Burke for 1,708, one in McDuffie for 1,604 and one in Screven for 794. The majority of area counties were unchanged: Jefferson at 1,547, Jenkins at 711, Wilkes at 660, Lincoln at 495, Warren at 366, Glascock at 140 and Taliaferro at 99.

Richmond County suffered a new death for 375 total, Lincoln County lost a patient for 23, and with a death in Aiken, raised the area’s toll to 979.

Georgia Public Health got the results of 21,639 tests, of which 5.83% were positive, almost half the overall rate of 10.41%, which declined slightly, according to an analysis by The Augusta Chronicle. The seven-day average rose slightly from 1049 to 1,059.86, the analysis showed.

Georgia had given 3,044,905 doses of the 3,684,365 it had received as of Friday, or 82.64% Georgia was averaging 42,233 shots a day through Friday, Chronicle analysis found.

University Hospital was down to 15 COVID-19 inpatients on Friday, two fewer than the day before, after discharging three and admitting one, spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said.

Doctors Hospital remained at 12 patients in the hospital and added one case to 764 total, spokesman Kaden Jacobs said.

 AU Health System was up one to six patients in the hospital Friday and had 25 new positive tests for 25,851 since the pandemic began, spokeswoman Christen Engel said.

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center saw three more cases for 1,792, with 22 active cases among 21 veterans and one other, and remained at 85 deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Augusta VA has fully vaccinated 10,422 among 8,785 veterans and 1,637 employees.

South Carolina added 681 new cases to reach 457,898 with 24 new deaths for a toll of 7,920, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported. Aiken County saw eight new cases for 12,384 with one new death for 174 and Edgefield County had two more cases for 2,453 and remained at 27 deaths.

The state got the results of 29,598 tests, of which 2.3% were positive, less than half the overall rate of 7.08%, which continued to fall, Chronicle analysis found. The seven-day average for new cases also continued to decrease from 589 to 534, according to the analysis.