Deaths are a lagging — and sadly inevitable — indicator of spread. The deaths reported each day tend to have occurred days or sometimes weeks earlier. This is in part due to reporting lags and because it takes time for state and local officials across Georgia’s 159 counties to confirm the cause.
Cases in Georgia have been climbing since early October, and hospitalizations started growing again soon after. But the latest surge of infections started to take off after Thanksgiving and accelerated again after Christmas.
On Thursday, DPH reported 9,036 net new confirmed and suspected COVID-19 infections. The seven-day rolling average of confirmed and suspected cases has dipped slightly to 9,694, but it remains at a rate three times higher than Georgia reported Dec. 1.
The number of people currently hospitalized in Georgia for COVID-19 as of about 3:30 p.m. was 5,613, a slight decline from a day earlier. But hospitals remain inundated with COVID-19 patients, who make up about a third of all hospitalized persons in the state.
More than nine out of 10 intensive care beds also are occupied statewide, with about half of all staffed ICU beds in Georgia filled by coronavirus patients, according to an analysis of state and federal data.
“Significantly increase public mitigation and increase communication around the importance of personal mitigation with masking, physical distancing, and avoiding family gatherings,” the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned states in its most recent report, dated Sunday.
Gov. Brian Kemp has urged Georgians to follow the advice on masks and gatherings, as well as other public health guidance, but he has rejected calls from public health experts outside of state government to enact new restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
To date, Georgia has reported 10,721 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and another 1,254 “probable” ones.
On Thursday afternoon, Georgia reported providers have administered about 326,000 doses of vaccine to date, an increase of about 43,000 doses from a day earlier. The increase reflects both new doses given and the state working through a reporting backlog on injections given days earlier.