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521 new coronavirus cases reported, bringing Georgia’s total to 23.2K

Nathan and Gidget Williford of Bowman, who came to the State Capitol to rally in support of reopening businesses, watch from a distance as the Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta holds a press conference Friday morning to speak out against the reopening.
Nathan and Gidget Williford of Bowman, who came to the State Capitol to rally in support of reopening businesses, watch from a distance as the Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta holds a press conference Friday morning to speak out against the reopening.

Credit: Ben Gray for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: In the seven hours since its last update, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported three more coronavirus-related deaths and 521 new cases across the state.

Georgia's death toll stands at 907, and a total of 23,216 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest figures. State health officials recorded 725 new cases and eight deaths in the last 24 hours.

As of noon Saturday, there were 22,695 confirmed cases in the state and 904 deaths.

Since the pandemic arrived in Georgia, a total of 4,353 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized at some point. That figure represents nearly 18.8% of all cases.

Fulton County still leads the state in confirmed cases with 2,543, up from 2,509 earlier today. DeKalb has the second most with 1,788, followed by Dougherty County with 1,470 and Gwinnett with 1,460, according to the most recent data.

More than 119,000 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 19.5% 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 1,395 confirmed cases in Cobb County, 642 in Clayton, 1,032 in Hall, 436 in Henry, 283 in Bartow, 368 in Cherokee, 276 in Douglas, 249 in Forsyth, 161 in Fayette, 162 in Rockdale, 166 in Newton and 159 in Paulding.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: The state of Georgia reached another grim milestone Saturday as the number of coronavirus-related deaths surpassed 900. 

Health officials confirmed an additional five deaths since Friday evening and 204 new cases of COVID-19.

Georgia's death toll now stands at 904, and at least 22,695 people across the state have been infected with the highly contagious disease, according to the latest data from the Department of Public Health.

Of those cases, 4,326 patients have been hospitalized at some point, a rate of about 19%.

» 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.

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

In Cobb County, residents were allowed to return to three popular trails and several of the county’s passive parks Saturday.

The Silver Comet Trail, Noonday Creek Trail and Bob Callan Trail have all reopened, along with county parks that do not have amenities such as sports fields, playgrounds, ball parks or tennis courts.

» ALSO: Cobb County to reopen Silver Comet Trail, several parks on Saturday

As of noon, Fulton County still has the most confirmed cases in Georgia with 2,509, up from 2,500 on Friday evening. DeKalb County has the second most with 1,734, followed by Dougherty County with 1,467, and Gwinnett with 1,421

» 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 with 91, while Cobb County, which has 1,377 confirmed cases, has lost 73 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.

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.