UPDATE: 10 more deaths reported as Georgia’s coronavirus cases rise to 2,446

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: Another 10 deaths were reported across Georgia on Saturday evening as the state's number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased to 2,446.

In the seven hours since its noon report, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed an additional 80 cases. The state's COVID-19 death toll now stands at 79, according to the latest data.

Of Georgia’s overall cases, 660 patients remain hospitalized, a rate of about 27%, according to the 7 p.m. figures. That number is up from 617 confirmed hospitalizations at 12 p.m.

Fulton County still has the most confirmed cases in Georgia with 378, up from 373 at midday. DeKalb County has the second most with 246, followed by Dougherty County with 224, and Cobb with 185.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths across the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday after doubling in just two days, according to a Washington Post review of state health department numbers.

With 17 deaths, hard-hit Dougherty County has lost more people to the highly contagious virus than any other county in the state.

» MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany

The southwest Georgia county of about 90,000 people reported an additional four deaths since noon, according to the latest figures. Fulton County’s death count increased to 13 on Saturday while Cobb’s jumped to nine, up from five just 24 hours earlier.

Bulloch and Wheeler counties also reported their first cases.

As of noon, a total of 11,051 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in Georgia with about 21.4% returning positive results. Those statewide testing numbers were not updated in the Department of Public Health’s latest report.

Patients between the ages of 18 and 59 make up 56% of Georgia’s confirmed cases, while those 60 and older make up 35%. The DPH does not release compiled data on how many people have recovered.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY [12 p.m.]: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia climbed to 2,366 Saturday as the state's death toll reached 69.

Since Friday evening, the confirmed number of Georgians who have died as a result of COVID-19 increased by four, according to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

Health officials also confirmed an additional 168 cases since the 7 p.m. update.

Of Georgia’s overall cases, 617 people remain hospitalized, a rate of about 26%, according to the state’s noon figures.

Fulton County still has the most cases with 373, followed by DeKalb with 240, Dougherty County with 205, and Cobb with 181.

As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases across the state was fewer than 1,000

Since Friday evening, Fulton has 26 new cases, while DeKalb has 21 more and 18 more people tested positive in Cobb. Four counties also reported their first cases, including Murray, Walton, Jenkins and Pike.

A total of 11,051 tests have been conducted so far in Georgia. About 21.4% of those returned positive results.

On Friday afternoon, the DPH started releasing data on where people died. Dougherty County leads the count with 13 deaths, followed by Fulton with 12, Cobb County with eight, and Lee County with five.

About 2.9% of Georgians who have tested positive for the highly contagious disease have died.

» DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus 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.

As numbers spike across the state, Gov. Brian Kemp is urging Georgians to stay home and practice social distancing. At a town hall broadcast Thursday evening, Kemp told residents to heed directives to avoid more restrictive measures, such as a statewide stay-at-home mandate.

» RELATED: Kemp urges Georgians to heed virus warnings but balks at drastic steps

Bars and nightclubs remain closed across the state, many public gatherings are banned, and the elderly and medically fragile are ordered to shelter in place.

» PHOTOS: Metro Atlanta adjusts to shifts in daily life amid coronavirus crisis

Many metro Atlanta cities and counties have issued their own stay-at-home orders to residents, shutting down nonessential businesses and imposing curfews.

» MORE: DeKalb County issues stay-at-home order

Speaking on CNN Saturday morning, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said metro Atlanta’s hospitals are already nearing capacity.

“...We are a large urban city in an even larger metropolitan area, so on a good day our hospitals and our ICU beds are at a premium,” she said. “What people have to realize is strokes don’t stop, diabetes and these things that send people into our emergency rooms, these things continue. It’s stressing our health care system and you add this pandemic on top of it and we have a real problem of it brewing right here in Atlanta.”

» RELATED: Bottoms: Stay home so others 'have an opportunity to simply live'

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.