6,742 coronavirus cases now confirmed in Georgia; death toll rises to 219

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UPDATE [7 p.m.]: In the seven hours since its last report, the Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed an additional 95 cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 6,742.

Health officials also reported another 8 deaths, meaning the total number of Georgians killed by the highly contagious disease now stands at 219.

As of noon, there were 6,647 confirmed cases and 211 deaths.

Of Georgia’s overall cases, 1,296 patients remain hospitalized, a rate of 19.2%, according to the 7 p.m figures. That number is up from 1,283 confirmed hospitalizations Sunday afternoon.

Fulton County still has the most cases with 970, up from 962 earlier today. Dougherty County has the second most with 688, followed by DeKalb County with 549 and Cobb with 474, according to the latest data.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: Georgians are still feeling the weight of the new coronavirus Sunday as the number of confirmed cases increased to 6,647 and the death toll rose to 211.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reports since Saturday 3 more Georgians have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus. The latest data released at noon shows 264 new cases since Saturday evening.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

Of Georgia’s overall cases, 1,283 patients remain hospitalized, a rate of about 19%, according to the noon figures. That number is up from 1,266 confirmed hospitalizations Saturday evening. The rate of Georgia patients who have died of COVID-19 is about 3.1%.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the state has tripled in just over a week. Health officials announced that Georgia surpassed 2,000 cases on March 27.

A statewide shelter-in-place mandate went into effect at 6 p.m. Friday in an effort to limit residents’ travel and curb the spread of the virus. The order requires Georgians to remain in their homes for all but essential activities, which include buying food, seeking medical care, working in critical jobs or exercising outdoors.

» RELATED: Confusion surrounds Georgia's coronavirus lockdown

The number of cases across the state is expected to spike even more in coming weeks as plans are put in place to increase daily testing capacity. Projections suggest the state could see thousands of new cases and hundreds more deaths before the virus is contained.

On Sunday, 27,832 tests had been conducted across the state with about 23.88% returning positive results.

» DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia

Fulton County has the most cases with 962, followed by Dougherty County with 686, DeKalb County with 543, and Cobb with 456, according to the latest data. 
Fulton reported 21 new cases since Saturday evening while hard-hit Dougherty County reported 50 more. 
The southwest Georgia county of about 90,000 has lost 30 residents to COVID-19, more than any other county in Georgia. 
MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany

So far, the oldest patient to die in the state was a 96-year-old Bibb County woman while the youngest was a 29-year-old woman from Peach County, according to the health department.

For most, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and those with existing health problems are at risk of more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover in a matter of weeks.

Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.

Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals.