COVID-19 death toll in Ga. increases to 916; confirmed cases 23,481

Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany on Monday, March 16, 2020, set up a tent for drive-through testing for COVID-19 and its virus, the novel coronavirus. Courtesy of Phoebe Putney H.S.
Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany on Monday, March 16, 2020, set up a tent for drive-through testing for COVID-19 and its virus, the novel coronavirus. Courtesy of Phoebe Putney H.S.

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: In the seven hours since its last update, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported four more coronavirus-related deaths and 80 new cases across the state.
Georgia's death toll stands at 916, and a total of 23,481 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest figures.

State health officials recorded 265 new cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours. As of noon Sunday, there were 23,401 confirmed cases in the state and 912 deaths.
Since the pandemic arrived in Georgia, a total of 4,377 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized at some point. That figure represents nearly 18.64% of all cases.

Fulton County still leads the state in confirmed cases with 2,545, up from 2,542 earlier today. DeKalb has the second most with 1,800, followed Gwinnett with 1,504, and Dougherty with 1,470 according to the most recent data.
More than 122,604 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 19.15% of those have returned positive results.
Of the state's 159 counties, just two — Taliaferro and Glascock — don't have a single confirmed case. 
Across metro Atlanta, there are now 1,428 confirmed cases in Cobb County, 641 in Clayton, 1,033 in Hall, 451 in Henry, 286 in Bartow, 374 in Cherokee, 278 in Douglas, 252 in Forsyth, 161 in Fayette, 161 in Rockdale, 166 in Newton and 160 in Paulding.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.
ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: Five more Georgians have reportedly died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Georgia's death toll grew to 912 Sunday, according to the latest data from the Department of Public Health.

Since Saturday evening, health officials confirmed 185 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 23,401.

The health department reported 23,216 cases of the virus and 907 deaths at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Of the total cases, 4,359 patients have been hospitalized at some point, a rate of about 18.63%.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS IN GEORGIA

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks as health officials made testing more widely available. Four weeks ago, the state reported fewer than 2,400 cases and just 69 deaths.

As of noon, Fulton County still has the most confirmed cases in Georgia with 2,542. The county is reported one more death since Saturday, making a total of 92.

DeKalb County has the second most with cases 1,798, followed by Gwinnett County with 1,495 and Dougherty County with 1,469. 
» DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia
Dougherty has reported more coronavirus-related deaths than any other county with 108. Fulton has the second most deaths while Cobb County, which has 1,411 confirmed cases, has lost 75 residents to the virus.
» MORE: Map tracks coronavirus globally in real time

Officials say those numbers are lagging as data from local officials and hospitals do not reflect the crisis in real time. The figures may also be adjusted as the health department receives additional information about patients.

Friday was the first day of Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to ease restrictions on Georgia businesses. Residents lined up for haircuts, manicures, tattoos and other services previously deemed “non-essential” in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

» RELATED: Scenes from Georgia's cautious reopening: Lines start early for haircuts

On Monday, Kemp is allowing restaurants to resume dine-in service and theaters to reopen provided they follow a long list of guidelines to maintain social distancing, though many restaurant owners have decided to keep their doors closed. Bars and nightclubs across the state will remain shuttered for now.

The governor’s shelter-at-home mandate is set to expire late Thursday night.

» MORE: No rest for Kemp from critics as GA launches reopening amid 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.

» RELATED: CDC adds six new symptoms for coronavirus

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