Georgia’s coronavirus death toll rises to 425; cases reach 11,859

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Atlanta transformed into a beacon of blue as part of an initiative to salute essential workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.The Light It Blue event includes more than 150 major businesses across the U.S. (Video by Tyson Horne and Ryon Horne/AJC)

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: Georgia recorded nine new coronavirus-related deaths since noon, bringing the state's toll to 425, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The DPH also added 376 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, increasing the number of cases statewide to 11,859. Of those, 2,454 patients have been hospitalized at some point, which is 20.7% of all cases.

Of the 79 counties to report at least one death from COVID-19, Dougherty remained the hardest hit with 68, followed by Fulton with 50 and Cobb with 33. Forsyth and Fulton both recorded two deaths since noon Friday, while five other counties — Dawson, Dougherty, Early, Habersham and Lowndes — recorded one death.

Four counties — Evans, Glascock, Montgomery and Taliaferro — have not recorded their first case, according to the DPH. However, Evans  County Administrator Casey Burkhalter told AJC.com that the county recorded its first case Friday. It’s unclear how quickly the DPH is able to add new cases to its totals.

MORE: Just a handful of Georgia counties have no reported coronavirus cases

More than 46,000 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 25.7% of those have returned positive results.

At least 67.8% of those who have died had a preexisting condition, but the DPH did not know that information for about 28.7% of the victims. Only 15 were confirmed to not have another condition that could have contributed to their death aside from COVID-19.

The youngest victim in Georgia was a 27-year-old Lee County woman, while the oldest was a 100-year-old woman from Greene County.

The DPH also recently began to release compiled data of the race and ethnicity of patients, but nearly 60% of patients had their race listed as unknown.

Of the remaining 40%, about 21.7% were black, 16% were white and 0.7% were Asian, according to the latest data. About 2.9% of patients were listed as having Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

The DPH does not release the race or ethnicity of those who died from the virus.

Fulton’s 1,417 cases remain the most in the state, with Dougherty being the only other county to top 1,000.

As of 7 p.m. Thursday, there were 826 cases in DeKalb, 681 in Cobb, 669 in Gwinnett, 328 in Clayton, 273 in Hall, 249 in Henry, 208 in Bartow, 177 in Cherokee, 148 in Douglas, 119 in Forsyth, 93 in Fayette, 89 in Rockdale, 77 in Newton and 74 in Paulding.

Patients between the ages of 18 and 59 make up the majority of cases at 61%, while those 60 and older make up 35% of cases. The DPH does not release compiled data on how many patients have recovered.

For the full update, click here.

ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: Known coronavirus cases in Georgia have surpassed 11,000 on Friday as the state's death toll continues to climb.

There are 11,483 confirmed cases and 416 deaths related to the new coronavirus, according to the latest data released at noon by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Infections have increased by nearly 600 in the past 24 hours.

Deaths have more than doubled in just one week. Last Friday, fewer than 200 Georgians had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Health officials have confirmed four more deaths, and 53 new hospitalizations, since Thursday night.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

Those numbers do not reflect the extent of COVID-19’s spread in Georgia in real time. According to Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state public health commissioner, it takes time to verify the data coming in from coroners, hospitals and other officials all across the state.

Still rationing its limited resources amid a nationwide testing shortage, Georgia has conducted nearly 3,000 tests since the outbreak began, with commercial labs undertaking another 43,000. Since Thursday night, 5,062 more tests were conducted statewide.

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

» MORE: Map tracks coronavirus globally in real time

Only four of Georgia’s 159 counties — Evans, Glascock, Montgomery and Taliaferro — have not confirmed a single case. Others, like Fulton County in metro Atlanta and Dougherty County in southwest Georgia, have seen more than 1,000 cases and dozens of deaths.

In Dougherty, which has recorded more deaths than any county in the state, refrigerated trailers were delivered Thursday to serve as mobile morgues. One additional Dougherty resident has died since Thursday night, bringing the county’s total to 67. A total of 1,062 cases have been confirmed there, officials said Friday.

» AJC IN-DEPTH: Mobile morgues suggest Georgia's coronavirus crisis is far from over

In metro Atlanta, there are 1,364 cases of the virus in Fulton County, 795 in DeKalb, 662 in Cobb, 646 in Gwinnett, 310 in Clayton, 250 in Hall, 242 in Henry, 207 in Bartow, 197 in Carroll, 170 in Cherokee, 142 in Douglas, 85 in Rockdale, 73 in Newton and 69 in Paulding.

Deaths related to COVID-19 have been recorded in nearly half the counties in the state, with Laurens and Wilkinson reporting their first deaths Friday. Of the deaths statewide, about 84% were over the age of 60 and about 69% had underlying health conditions.

The oldest was a 100-year-old woman in Greene County. The youngest, a 27-year-old woman in Peach County, did not have any identifiable underlying conditions, according to the health department.

Georgia officials have put measures in place to attempt to contain the disease. Just this week, Gov. Brian Kemp extended the state’s public health emergency through May 13 and continued a stay-at-home order through the end of the month.

Other restrictions were also announced Wednesday, including containment measures for senior care facilities and limiting short-term vacation rentals.

» RELATED: Long opposed to drastic coronavirus measures, Kemp now embraces some

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

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.

In other news: 

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Channel 2 anchor Jorge Estevez spoke to Kemp on Thursday, who said social distancing is working to help flatten the curve of coronavirus inspections.