7 more coronavirus deaths confirmed in Georgia; case total rises to 1,387

There have been seven more deaths from COVID-19 since noon

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: The Georgia Department of Public Health announced that there have been seven more deaths from COVID-19 reported since noon, bringing the state's death toll to 47.

In addition, 140 more cases have been confirmed, bringing the total to 1,387 since the coronavirus pandemic entered Georgia. Of those cases, 438 patients are hospitalized, according to the DPH.

More than 6,100 tests have been conducted statewide. About 22.4% of those returned positive results.

Two counties — Long and Ware — recorded their first confirmed cases. However, three counties — Appling, Telfair and Walton — previously reported a case that has since been subtracted, meaning there is no longer a confirmed case in those counties. It’s unclear whether those three cases were false positives or if they’ve moved into the “unknown” county category, which consists of 160 cases.

Carroll County saw the largest increase since noon Wednesday with 23 new cases, followed by Gwinnett at 21 and Dougherty at 14.

In metro Atlanta, Fulton County still leads the pack and has surpassed 200 cases, amassing 204 in total. As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, there were 125 cases in DeKalb, 109 in Cobb, 82 in Bartow, 69 in Gwinnett, 36 in Cherokee, 29 in Clayton, 20 in Henry, 19 in Hall, 18 in Douglas, 12 in Fayette, 10 each in Forsyth and Rockdale, eight in Newton and six in Paulding.

For the full update, click here.

ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: The impact of the coronavirus in Georgia continues to deepen Wednesday with 1,247 confirmed cases and 40 deaths.

The latest figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health are an increase of about 14% from Tuesday's final case count of 1,097. There were two more deaths reported Wednesday.

For the first time since the crisis began, health officials on Tuesday began reporting the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, across the state. That number was 394 Wednesday, or about 32% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

The virus has now affected more than half the counties in the state, with the greatest impact to those in metro Atlanta. Eight more Georgia counties reported their first cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of affected counties to 96.

Cobb County saw the greatest increase in cases Wednesday with 11. Dougherty County in southwest Georgia, which has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, reported eight new cases for a total of 109.

Of the metro Atlanta counties, there are now 198 cases of the virus in Fulton, 116 in DeKalb, 101 in Cobb, 78 in Bartow, 48 in Gwinnett, 31 in Cherokee, 27 in Carroll, 22 in Clayton, 19 in Hall, 17 in Douglas, 12 in Henry, nine in Rockdale, seven in Newton and six in Paulding.

Adults younger than 60 make up a majority of the cases, while 35% occur in seniors and 1% in children.

With testing picking up speed and state-run and commercial laboratories ramping up capacity, confirmed cases have multiplied. The state lab processed 104 more tests Wednesday than the day before, for a total of 1,482.

Of the more than 6,000 tests conducted across the state, 20% returned positive results.

» AJC IN-DEPTH: Confusion, scarcity lead to haphazard testing in state's virus response

Local and state officials are looking to curb the spread of the virus even as numbers rise. As of Wednesday, Decatur and Brookhaven have joined Atlanta and the growing list of Georgia cities to enact stay-at-home orders, and more lenient restrictions are in place statewide.

» RELATED: Brookhaven, Decatur issue stay at home orders

Gov. Brian Kemp told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that he could issue additional orders in response to the virus, like prohibiting hospitals from performing elective surgeries to conserve medical supplies.

“That’s why I’m just urging citizens to buckle down for the next two weeks,” he said. “I feel like if we can do that and get the upper hand on this thing, we’ll be in good shape. If that changes, we’ve got arrows left in the quiver.”

» MORE: Debate escalates over social distancing in Georgia

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.

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

» MORE: Map tracks coronavirus globally in real time

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.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.