146 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Georgia

Number of coronavirus cases in Georgia rises to 146

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia climbed to 146 Tuesday.

The latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health is an increase of 25 from Monday's confirmed cases, which totaled 121.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

Barrow, Columbia, Richmond and Rockdale counties now join the list of 27 Georgia counties to treat patients of the coronavirus. Each had just one case Tuesday, according to health officials.

New cases were also confirmed in Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, Bartow, Gwinnett, Floyd, Lowndes, Coweta and Troup counties. Of those, Fulton and DeKalb counties reported the largest increases, with six new cases in Fulton and five in DeKalb.

The number of Clayton County cases dropped by one. Health officials did not provide a reason for the change.

No new deaths were reported.

Tuesday's numbers do not include the three presumptive cases reported at The Retreat at Canton, a 90-bed senior care facility. The positive tests are the first known positive tests at a senior care facility in Georgia.

Amid a shortage of test kits in the state, experts say the number of coronavirus cases is likely far higher. Some who contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, are being advised not to seek testing.

>> RELATED: As hospitals fight to keep up, they tell mild cases not to seek tests

“Inundating hospitals and doctors’ offices for testing by patients who can be managed at home, we believe, will worsen the impact of COVID-19,” Emory Healthcare, Piedmont Healthcare and Wellstar Health System said Monday in a joint statement.

The three hospital systems said the majority of patients can safely recover at home with self-isolation and symptomatic treatment.

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.

One person in Georgia, a 67-year-old male patient at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, has died as a result of COVID-19, officials said.

The state Department of Public Health announced Friday it would stop keeping an immediate tally of cases, opting instead to update its website with the latest figures each day at noon.

As of Tuesday, there were 33 cases of the virus in Fulton County; 25 in Cobb; 15 in DeKalb; 10 in Bartow; seven in Cherokee and Gwinnett; six in Dougherty and Floyd; five in Fayette; four in Clayton and Lowndes; three in Clarke and Coweta; two each in Gordon, Henry,  Lee and Troup; and one each in Barrow, Charlton, Columbia, Forsyth, Hall, Richmond, Rockdale, Newton, Paulding and Polk.

Slightly more than half those cases occurred in men, according to data from the health department. About 46% of the patients are adults younger than 59 and 40% are older than 60.

Only about 1% of the patients are children, and the ages of the remaining 13% are unknown.

National and state officials are hoping to contain the spread of the pandemic. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set guidelines that meetings of more than 50 people should cease, but President Donald Trump and his task force decreased that number Monday afternoon. Trump advised the nation to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the closure of all public elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools starting Wednesday through the end of the month. The announcement came Monday as state lawmakers voted to ratify a public health emergency that gave the governor sweeping new powers to combat the disease.

>> MORE: Kemp orders public K-12 schools, colleges in Georgia closed through end of March

The University System of Georgia has also announced that it will conduct online instruction for the rest of the semester.

Locally, some communities have placed restrictions on public gatherings and businesses. Atlanta has banned gatherings of more than 50 people, and Brookhaven has suspended in-person dining at restaurants.

The city joins a number of major chains — including McDonalds, Starbucks and Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A — to shift their services to takeout only in an effort to reduce crowds.

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