UPDATE [6:30 p.m.]: The Georgia Department of Public Health has added 10 more coronavirus deaths to the state's toll since 1:25 p.m. Tuesday. That brings the number of COVID-19 casualties in Georgia to 1,036.
However, the DPH’s death toll differs when its county-by-county numbers are added together, according to the latest update. That total is 1,023, which is a 13-death discrepancy.
In addition, the DPH said 229 Georgians were confirmed to have COVID-19 since 1:25 p.m., bringing the number of cases across the state to 24,844. The county-by-county data adds up to 23,909 cases, meaning there’s a nearly 1,000-case discrepancy within the DPH’s data.
More than 140,000 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 17.7% of all tests have returned positive results.
At least 4,896 patients have been hospitalized at some point due to the virus, which is about 19.7% of all cases. There is no discrepancy on total hospitalizations.
Also, more than 1,100 Georgians have been admitted to a hospital intensive care unit during the outbreak, according to the DPH.
Dougherty County continues to lead the state in deaths with 118, followed by Fulton with 108 and Cobb with 81. Since 1:25 p.m., Fulton recorded the most deaths with two.
Hall County recorded the most new cases in that time frame with 45, followed by 20 in Gwinnett and 15 in Habersham.
As of Tuesday evening, there are 2,720 cases of COVID-19 in Fulton County, 1,885 in DeKalb, 1,600 in Gwinnett, 1,514 in Cobb, 1,177 in Hall, 667 in Clayton, 484 in Henry, 430 in Cherokee, 333 in Carroll, 298 each in Bartow and Douglas, 284 in Forsyth, 181 in Newton, 172 in Rockdale and 171 in Paulding.
ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: At least 1,026 Georgians have died of the new coronavirus, with more than 100 of those deaths reported in the past 48 hours, state health officials said Tuesday.
A total of 24,615 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported across the state, according to the latest data released at 1:25 p.m. by the Georgia Department of Public Health.
As officials attempt to track information from entities across the state, those numbers are being regularly adjusted. Deaths in Georgia hovered around 1,000 beginning late Tuesday night, and hundreds of cases included in the health department’s latest total were not assigned to a county.
Officials say their data is lagging and does not represent the coronavirus outbreak in real time. There remains a 14-day window of uncertainty due to unreported illnesses or pending test results, according to the health department.
As a result, increases can be difficult to track on a day-to-day basis. Those trends have come under close scrutiny by officials and the public alike as a shelter-in-place order is set to expire this week, and the state's economy begins to reopen.
In a video recording shared Monday, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state’s public health commissioner, said the data on new cases was encouraging. She pointed to a 14-day decline in positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of total tests conducted. About 17.5% of the 140,020 tests Tuesday returned a positive result, down from about 22.5% last Tuesday, according to data from the health department.
“We are seeing good signs that the actions Georgians have taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus are paying off,” Toomey said.
Still, the coronavirus crisis in Georgia may not have reached its peak. One widely cited computer model projects that deaths in the state will not peak until Saturday, the day after reaching peak demand on health care resources. Gov. Brian Kemp said Monday that such models, while useful, can paint a grimmer picture than reality.
More than 4,800 patients have been hospitalized since the outbreak began, with 1,087 admitted to intensive care units, according to data released just after noon Tuesday. The state is not tracking those who have recovered from COVID-19 as that statistic is difficult to quantify, a spokeswoman for the health department said.
Kemp said Tuesday marked the lowest day for ventilator use in Georgia. With 992 ventilators in use, there are an additional 1,854 still available across the state, the governor said on Twitter.
On April 8, hospitals began submitting ventilator use data to @GeorgiaEMA. At 992 ventilators in use, today marks the lowest day for ventilator utilization in Georgia. There are 1,854 ventilators available out of 2,846 total. Many thanks to @GaHospitalAssoc for this partnership!
The virus continues to exact a heavy toll in metro Atlanta and in the Albany area. Cases there number in the thousands. Dougherty County still leads the state in deaths Tuesday with 117.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 2,710 cases of the virus in Fulton, 1,878 in DeKalb, 1,582 in Gwinnett, 1,511 in Cobb, 1,139 in Hall, 663 in Clayton, 480 in Henry, 420 in Cherokee, 333 in Carroll, 297 in Bartow, 291 in Douglas, 282 in Forsyth, 177 in Newton, 170 in Paulding and 169 in Rockdale.
Hall County saw the biggest jump in infections Tuesday with at least 38 more confirmed cases reported since late Monday, according to officials.
Three more Georgia counties, Lamar, Towns and Rabun, reported their first deaths Tuesday. Glascock and Tailaferro County have yet to confirm a single case of COVID-10.
“It is important to keep in mind that as we increase testing across Georgia, we will see a rise in cases and this information is critically important for preparing for the weeks ahead,” Toomey said.
Since April 15, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 has been eligible to be tested. Testing is still prioritized for health care workers, first responders and other critical workers regardless of whether they are showing symptoms.
The health department is also partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Fulton and DeKalb boards of health to conduct an antibody testing survey. The tests will be conducted at randomly selected homes in the next week to identify people who were previously infected with COVID-19.
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.