Allegra Stanek walks her dog Memphis past the sign reading, "Be safe Atlanta," at Hotel Clermont on Ponce de Leon Avenue in northeast Atlanta.
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Coronavirus deaths increase to 668 in Georgia; cases reach 17,432

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: Georgia recorded 18 additional coronavirus-related deaths since noon, bringing the state’s toll to 668, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

In addition, the DPH announced 238 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state, which brings the total to 17,432 since the coronavirus pandemic entered Georgia. Of those, 3,395 patients have been hospitalized at some point, which is about 19.5% of all cases.

Of the 99 counties to report at least one death from COVID-19, Dougherty remains the hardest hit with 91 deaths, followed by Fulton with 74 and Cobb with 51. Five counties — Clayton, Henry, Floyd, Spalding and Brooks — tied for the most deaths since noon with two each.

Since Thursday evening, Georgia recorded 51 new deaths.

This is what the curve of coronavirus-related deaths looked like at 7 p.m. Friday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health's data.
Photo: Georgia Department of Public Health

Nearly 61,700 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 24.3% of those have returned positive results.

At least 67.8% of those who died had a preexisting condition, but the DPH did not know that information for about 28.9% of the victims. Only 22 were confirmed to not have another condition that could have contributed to their death aside from COVID-19.

The DPH also releases compiled data of the race and ethnicity of patients, but about half of patients had their race listed as unknown.

Of the remaining percentage, about 27% were black, 20% were white and 0.9% were Asian, according to the latest data. About 4.8% of patients were listed as having Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

The DPH recently expanded the race and ethnicity data to include those who died from the virus. The information for all but 43 victims is known.

About 52% of those who died were black and 38% were white, according to the latest data. Those with Hispanic ethnicity made up about 3% of the death toll, while Asians comprised about 1%.

Only two counties, Glascock and Taliaferro, have not recorded their first case, according to the DPH. The remaining 157 counties in Georgia have at least one, with Fulton topping the list with more than 2,000 confirmed cases.

Hall saw the most new cases since noon for the second night in a row, adding 42 cases Friday afternoon. After that, Gwinnett recorded the next most cases with 20, followed by DeKalb with 17 and Cobb with 13.

Since Thursday evening, Georgia recorded 1,064 new cases.

This is what the curve of confirmed coronavirus cases looked like at 7 p.m. Friday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health's data.
Photo: Georgia Department of Public Health

As of 7 p.m. Thursday, there were 2,037 cases in Fulton, 1,366 in DeKalb, 1,085 in Cobb, 1,037 in Gwinnett, 605 in Hall, 499 in Clayton, 350 in Henry, 274 in Cherokee, 245 in Bartow, 222 in Douglas, 185 in Forsyth, 134 in Fayette, 132 in Paulding and 121 in Newton. 

Patients between the ages of 18 and 59 make up the majority of cases at 61%, while those 60 and older make up 34% of cases. The DPH does not release compiled data on how many patients have recovered.

For the full update, click here.

ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: More than 3,500 new coronavirus cases and 150 deaths have been verified across Georgia since the week began.

With the Georgia Department of Public Health’s update at noon Friday, the state now has 17,194 confirmed cases and 650 deaths due to the novel coronavirus. 

The latest data represents a 26% increase in infections and 35% increase in deaths since Monday. Health officials acknowledge data is lagging, and those figures do not represent the severity of the crisis in Georgia in real time.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

In the past 24 hours, an additional 3,745 tests for the virus were performed around the state, according to officials. More Georgians are now eligible for testing under new protocols announced Wednesday.

» RELATED: Georgia to expand COVID-19 testing, key to reaching ‘new norm’

Fulton County has surpassed 2,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. It also verified seven additional deaths Friday for a total of 73 in the county.

Only one other county, Dougherty in southwest Georgia, has seen more deaths related to the virus. Ninety-one people have died and 1,381 have been sickened in Dougherty, which has become a hot spot of Georgia’s coronavirus epidemic. 

In metro Atlanta, there are 1,349 cases of the virus in DeKalb, 1,072 in Cobb, 1,017 in Gwinnett, 563 in Hall, 491 in Clayton, 344 in Henry, 266 in Cherokee, 260 in Carroll, 242 in Bartow, 220 in Douglas, 184 in Forsyth, 132 in Paulding, 121 in Newton and 116 in Rockdale.

 

Nearly two-thirds of the counties in the state have reported COVID-19 deaths, with Columbia, Stephens and Marion recording their first Friday. Only two counties, Glascock and Taliaferro, have yet to confirm a single case.

About 84% of deaths reported statewide have been seniors over the age of 60, and 70% had underlying conditions.  According to data from the health department, the virus disproportionately affects black Georgians, with more deaths and more cases in that population than in any other in the state.

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

» MORE: Map tracks coronavirus globally in real time 

With an increase in testing capacity and in new infections, numbers are expected to reach their peaks in the coming weeks. Computer models suggest the number of deaths will peak May 3 in Georgia, while the peak demand on health care resources is expected May 1.

More than 3,324 Georgians have been hospitalized since the outbreak began, with 64 additional hospitalizations reported since Thursday night.

» MORE: Gov. Kemp limits legal liability of hospitals, staff during pandemic

At least through the end of April, Georgians are urged to shelter in place to help curb the virus’ spread. Gov. Brian Kemp indicated Thursday that he will outline a plan to return to more routine operations “in the coming days.”

“Many Georgians are ready to get back to work, and the fundamentals of our economy remain strong,” the governor said in a statement through his office. “I am confident that we will successfully rebound from this public health emergency.”

» AJC IN-DEPTH: Kemp devising plan to reopen Georgia for business

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

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is eligible to be tested. Health care workers, first responders and other critical workers will be prioritized for testing whether or not they are symptomatic. 

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

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