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Georgia sees record number of new COVID-19 deaths



AUGUSTA, Ga.  -Georgia saw a record number of new COVID-19 deaths Friday, including eight in the Aiken and Augusta areas, even as new cases appear to be waning.

Georgia added 184 new deaths, topping a record set Saturday, for a toll of 13,856 with 2,456 new cases to reach 786,277, the Department of Public Health reported. Richmond County saw 41 new cases for 17,830 and Columbia County had 14 more for 10,124. All other counties had seven new cases or less: seven in Burke for 1608, three in McDuffie for 1,521, four in Jefferson for 1,497, three in Screven for 758, two in Jenkins for 693, two in Wilkes for 628, and one in Lincoln for 465. All other counties were unchanged: Warren at 351, Glascock at 138 and Taliaferro at 93.

Richmond County suffered three new deaths for 312 total, Columbia County also lost three patients for 136 and Burke County saw a new death for 29 and Aiken added one, raising the area’s toll to 842.

Georgia Public Health got the results of 28,165 new tests, of which 8.72% were positive, below the overall rate of 10.84, which dropped slightly, according to an analysis by the Augusta Chronicle. The seven-day average for new cases dropped for the 17th straight day, from 3,314.29 to 2,810.43, the analysis found.

Georgia has received all of the 1,835,775 doses of COVID-19 vaccine it has been allocated so far and has administered 1,353,978 through Thursday, or 73.76% of what it had on hand, according to Chronicle analysis of public health data. Georgia is providing an average of 36,588 shots a day, and increased that average by more than 2,000 shots a day this week, the analysis found.

University Hospital continues to see a decline as it admits fewer COVID-19 patients and continues to discharge current patients, dropping from 83 to 78 on Friday after discharging eight and admitting three, spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said. University’s COVID-19 census has dropped 20 since the beginning of the month.

But AU Health System saw a big jump of 13 new infected patients, from 52 to 65 on Friday, and had 111 new positive tests to reach 24,622 since the pandemic began, spokeswoman Christen Engel said.

Doctors Hospital of Augusta has also gone in the opposite direction in recent days, climbing to 44 on Friday, four more than Thursday, and six more than Tuesday, with one new case to reach 717 total, spokesman Kaden Jacobs said.

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta had 15 more cases for 1,605 total, with 84 active cases among 83 veterans and one staff member, and one new death for 75, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Augusta VA has vaccinated 6,056 veterans, 118 more than the day before, with 3,369 receiving both doses.

South Carolina added 2,441 new cases for 421,876 with 47 new deaths for 7,057, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported. Aiken County saw 40 new cases for 11,451 with one new death for 160 while Edgefield County had 18 more for 2,222 and stayed at 24 deaths.

The state got the results of 45,994 new tests, of which 5.31% were positive, well under the overall positive rate of 7,8%, which continued to drop, according to Chronicle analysis. The seven-day average for new cases went up, however, from 1,521 to 1,605, the analysis found.