Georgia’s coronavirus deaths increase to 677; 17.8K confirmed cases

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In the seven hours since its last update, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported four additional coronavirus-related deaths and 172 new cases.

UPDATE [7 p.m.]: In the seven hours since its last update, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported four additional coronavirus-related deaths and 172 new cases.

Georgia's death toll now stands at 677, and a total of 17,841 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest figures.

As of noon, there were 17,669 confirmed cases in the state and 673 deaths.

Despite the rapid increase of coronavirus cases in Georgia, there may be a silver lining.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation updated its projections to suggest Georgia has already reached its peak for deaths and for the use of hospital resources.

The latest projections show the peak for virus-related deaths in the state was April 7, when 100 deaths in its model projections were attributed to COVID-19. The institute also lowered the total predicted number of deaths in Georgia to about 1,400, down from more than 2,600 just days earlier.

Some researchers remain skeptical of the model’s predictions. It previously forecast that deaths and the need for hospital resources would not peak in Georgia until near the end of April, or even into May.

» RELATED: Following possible peak in deaths, Kemp working on when to reopen Ga.

As of 7 p.m. Saturday, Fulton County still led the state in confirmed cases with 2,065, up from 2,054 earlier in the day. Dougherty County has the second most with 1,409, followed by DeKalb County with 1,408 and Cobb with 1,104, according to the latest figures.

Since the pandemic arrived in Georgia, a total of 3,447 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized. That figure represents about 19.3% of all cases.

The oldest three patients to die in Georgia were all 100-year-old women who lived in Fulton, Greene and Randolph counties, respectively. The youngest listed death was a 22-year-old woman from Muscogee County, though the coroner there said she may have died from a pulmonary embolism after giving birth.

» MORE: 22-year-old diagnosed with COVID-19 wasn't killed by virus, Ga. coroner says

Of the state’s 159 counties, just two — Taliaferro and Glascock — don’t have a single confirmed case.

Across metro Atlanta, there are now 1,059 confirmed cases in Gwinnett, 505 in Clayton, 607 in Hall, 355 in Henry, 246 in Bartow, 285 in Cherokee, 229 in Douglas, 197 in Forsyth, 136 in Fayette, 119 in Rockdale, 121 in Newton and 133 in Paulding.

— Please return to for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: Another five coronavirus-related deaths were reported in Georgia on Saturday as the number of confirmed cases in the state increased to 17,669.

As of noon, at least 673 Georgians have died from complications related to COVID-19, up from 432 deaths one week ago, according to the latest data from the Department of Public Health.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

Health officials acknowledge the data is lagging, and the daily totals do not represent the severity of the crisis in Georgia in real time.

The state is increasing its testing capacity, however, and more Georgians are now eligible for testing under new protocols announced Wednesday.

As of Saturday, more than 74,000 people have been tested for the highly contagious disease. Of those tests, about 23.8% have come back positive for COVID-19.

» MORE: Undercount of COVID-19 deaths means full effects on Georgia unknown

Since the public health crisis began, a total of 3,420 people have been hospitalized with coronavirus-related symptoms, a rate of about 19.3%. An additional 25 people were hospitalized since Friday evening, according to the latest figures from the DPH.

Fulton County still has the most cases with 2,054, up from 2,037 yesterday. Dougherty County has the second most with 1,406, followed by DeKalb County with 1,396 and Cobb with 1,100, according to the latest data.

» ALSO: A look at major coronavirus developments over the past week

Dougherty County, which has a population of approximately 90,000, leads the state in the number of coronavirus-related deaths with 91. Fulton has the second most deaths with 74, followed by Cobb with 51 and Gwinnett with 36.

Patients between the ages of 18 and 59 make up the majority of cases at 61%, while those 60 and older make up 34% of cases. The DPH does not release compiled data on how many patients have recovered.

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

» MORE: Map tracks coronavirus globally in real time

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is eligible to be tested. Health care workers, first responders and other critical workers will be prioritized for testing whether or not they are symptomatic.

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. Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals.