The Southeastern region, which includes Georgia and seven other states, recorded 3,949 laboratory tests for COVID-19, with 3.6% positive for the virus for the week ended May 20. Nationally, during the same period, 4.3% of tests were positive. Case counts are no longer considered a reliable indicator of the virus spread because of the rise in home testing kits whose results are not reported to health agencies.
Vaccines are still recommended as the best precaution against infection. In Georgia, 11% of the population age 5 and up has received an updated booster shot, which targets the omicron variant of the virus now prevalent. Among the U.S. population of the same age, 18% has received the updated shot.
The government has mandated free COVID testing and treatment for virtually anyone, but that practice was slated to change with the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11. The Georgia Department of Public Health said that it would continue to provide free test kits at locations throughout the state, as long as its own supplies remain. Vaccines will still be available at no cost to the public at health departments, and medications to prevent severe COVID-19, such as Paxlovid, will remain available at no cost while supplies last from the federal government.