4 more coronavirus deaths reported as Georgia’s cases increase to 12,261

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: In the seven hours since its last report, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed an additional 102 cases of COVID-19 and four new deaths.

The state's death toll now stands at 432, and there are 12,261 confirmed cases across Georgia, according to the latest data.

As of noon, there were 12,159 confirmed cases and 428 deaths in the state.

The number of Americans killed by the novel coronavirus has skyrocketed in recent days, surpassing 20,000 on Saturday evening as the number of confirmed cases across the U.S. approaches 530,000.

Of Georgia’s overall cases, 2,491 patients have been hospitalized, a rate of about 20.3%, according to the 7 p.m figures. That number is up from 2,479 confirmed hospitalizations Saturday afternoon.

Fulton County still has the most cases with 1,446, up from 1,422 at noon. Dougherty County has the second most cases with 1,102, followed by DeKalb County with 848 and Cobb with 705, according to public health officials.

Across other metro Atlanta counties, there are now 681 confirmed cases in Gwinnett, 339 in Clayton, 276 in Hall, 254 in Henry, 211 in Bartow, 186 in Cherokee, 151 in Douglas, 128 in Forsyth, 99 in Fayette, 92 in Rockdale, 78 in Newton and 79 in Paulding.

Montgomery County reported its first two COVID-19 cases on Saturday evening, leaving just three of Georgia’s 159 counties without a single confirmed case.

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.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: Public health officials confirmed another three coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, bringing the total number of people killed across Georgia to 428.

There were also 300 new cases of COVID-19 reported since Friday evening. The state's total now stands at 12,159 as the number of confirmed cases continues to climb, according to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

The number of Georgians killed by the highly contagious disease has more than doubled in a week. Last Saturday, the DPH reported a total of 201 deaths and 6,160 cases in its noon update.

Of the state’s overall cases, 2,479 patients have been hospitalized, a rate of about 20.4%, according to the latest figures. That number is up from 2,454 confirmed hospitalizations Friday evening.

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

» MORE: Map tracks coronavirus globally in real time

Fulton County has the most cases with 1,422, up from 1,417 yesterday. Dougherty County has the second most with 1,076, followed by DeKalb County with 835 and Cobb with 696, according to the latest data.

Hard-hit Dougherty County reported one more death since Friday evening, bringing its death toll to 69. The southwest Georgia county of about 90,000 has lost more residents to COVID-19 than any other county in the state.

» RELATED: Mobile morgues suggest Georgia's coronavirus crisis is far from over

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 across the state.

The coronavirus is also rapidly spreading within Georgia’s nursing homes and senior care facilities. The number of long-term care facilities with coronavirus outbreaks now stands at 80, up from 47 last week, health officials said Friday.

» ALSO: List of infected Georgia nursing and senior care homes nearly doubles

More than 51,700 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 23.5% of those have returned positive results.

The youngest patient to die in Georgia was a 22-year-old Muscogee County woman, while the oldest was a 100-year-old woman from Greene County.

On Saturday, the U.S. surpassed 500,000 confirmed cases and overtook Italy as the nation with the most COVID-19 deaths. More than 19,400 Americans have died because of the virus, the Washington Post reported.

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.