UPDATE [6:30 p.m.]: Since 11:30 a.m., the Georgia Department of Public Health has recorded 44 additional coronavirus deaths across the state, bringing Georgia's toll to 1,095.
In the past 24 hours, Georgia has suffered 59 deaths due to COVID-19, according to the DPH’s totals.
Since the DPH reformatted its coronavirus daily status reports Monday evening, the department’s updates have included discrepancies on the number of deaths and cases in Georgia. When county-by-county data is added together, the DPH has recorded 1,081 deaths, which is a 14-death discrepancy.
In addition, the DPH added 360 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to the state’s count, bringing the total number of cases in Georgia to 25,634. The compiled county data adds up to 24,611 cases, which is a discrepancy of more than 1,000 cases.
At some point, more than 5,000 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalized in Georgia, which is about 19.8% of all cases. In addition, 1,155 patients have been admitted into a hospital’s intensive care unit during treatment.
More than 143,700 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 17.8% of those have returned positive results.
Dougherty County continues to lead the state in deaths with 119, followed by Fulton with 114 and Cobb with 87. Since 11:30 a.m., Cobb and Fulton recorded the most deaths with six each, followed by Hall with four.
In that same time frame, Gwinnett recorded the most new cases with 54, followed by DeKalb with 53 and Hall with 36.
As of Wednesday evening, there are 2,766 cases of COVID-19 in Fulton County, 1,965 in DeKalb, 1,720 in Gwinnett, 1,568 in Cobb, 1,239 in Hall, 691 in Clayton, 492 in Henry, 456 in Cherokee, 346 in Carroll, 311 in Douglas, 308 in Bartow, 287 in Forsyth, 188 in Newton, 178 in Rockdale and 175 in Paulding.
In the past 24 hours, Georgia has recorded 790 cases of COVID-19, according to the DPH’s totals.
ORIGINAL STORY [11:30 a.m.]: Known coronavirus cases in Georgia surpassed 25,000 on Wednesday, one day before a statewide shelter-in-place order is scheduled to expire.
The updated data from the Georgia Department of Public Health shows at least 25,274 people have been infected and 1,052 have died of the novel virus since the outbreak began. Those figures, released at 11:25 a.m. Wednesday, represent a roughly 3% increase in cases in the past 24 hours.
Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to decide Wednesday whether to extend the order that mandates Georgians stay home unless performing essential activities. The governor has slowly begun reopening the state's economy, with businesses like salons and bowling alleys and in-person dining at restaurants allowed to resume operations this week.
Kemp has said he is weighing state and federal data before making his decision. The order, which went into effect April 3, is scheduled to expire at midnight Thursday.
As of just before noon Wednesday, nearly 5,000 patients have at one point been hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the health department. Of those, at least 1,122 have been admitted to the ICU.
More than 140,000 tests for COVID-19 have been conducted, an increase of about 200 tests in the past 24 hours. On Wednesday, Georgia reported a jump of 13,000 tests, which Kemp said was the largest in a single day since the outbreak began.
“It is clear we are making significant progress,” he said on Twitter. “We have dramatically increased the number of testing sites with 49 now available across the state in partnership with our university system, the private sector, local public health officials, and (the) Georgia Guard.”
We have the sites, the physicians, and the tests. We just need more Georgians to participate. #gapol
He is asking all Georgians who are experiencing symptoms to schedule an appointment to get tested. State and local officials are also partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct antibody testing at randomly selected homes in Fulton and DeKalb counties over the next week.
“We have the sites, the physicians, and the tests,” the governor said. “We just need more Georgians to participate.”
Amid the state’s push to increase testing capacity, health experts are concerned that false negatives may contribute to a clouded picture of the virus’ impact in Georgia.
The magnitude of risk from false-negative results, even if tests are 90% accurate, will be substantial as testing becomes more widespread and the prevalence of infection rises, a Mayo Clinic report found.
Hundreds of new cases are still being reported by the state each day. In metro Atlanta, as of just before noon Wednesday, there are 2,763 cases of the virus in Fulton, 1,912 in DeKalb, 1,166 in Gwinnett, 1,543 in Cobb, 1,203 in Hall, 682 in Clayton, 489 in Henry, 435 in Cherokee, 343 in Carroll, 306 in Bartow, 304 in Douglas, 286 in Forsyth, 184 in Newton, 176 in Rockdale and 173 in Paulding.
For the second day in a row, Hall County saw cases increase by the dozens. Seventy-one cases were confirmed before noon Wednesday, according to the health department. Neighboring Gwinnett County saw the biggest jump over a 24-hour period with 86 new cases Wednesday.
Early County in southwest Georgia reported the most deaths over the same period with six, bringing its total to 21. Doughterty County, which includes Albany, continues to lead the state in deaths with 120 reported Wednesday.
Fulton County is not far behind with 108 deaths reported before noon. With the latest set of data from the health department, more than 600 cases and 13 deaths were not assigned a county.
Georgia’s most recent data on new infections may also be incomplete. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis found the state is now dating a confirmed case by the day symptoms began or a test was taken, but it can take days or weeks for the final result to be reported.
As a result, the number of confirmed cases will be artificially low until they are updated. On its daily coronavirus updates website, the state acknowledges a 14-day window of uncertainty as data lags.
To maintain consistency, the AJC is reporting data as it is released by the health department and is not adjusting daily counts.
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.