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COVID-19 roundup: Georgia has now seen 20,000 deaths from virus

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 4:05 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The number of Georgians who have died from COVID-19 now surpasses 20,000, the state Department of Public Health reported.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, there had been 20,041 confirmed COVID deaths in Georgia since the pandemic began.

“It is tragic but not surprising that we have surpassed this grim milestone of 20,000 COVID deaths in our state,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, state public health commissioner. “Ninety seven percent of COVID deaths since we’ve had vaccine are in unvaccinated individuals. These deaths are preventable.”

COVID cases are surging in Georgia, driven by the delta variant. The delta variant is more transmissible than the original coronavirus and research shows that it results in a higher rate of severe illness and hospitalization than other variants. COVID-19 is spreading fastest in areas with low vaccination rates.

Currently, 44% of Georgians are fully vaccinated.

The department urged all Georgians age 12 and older are urged to get vaccinated, wear a mask in public settings and wash their hands frequently.

How hospitals are handling the surge

Hospitalizations in Georgia are up tenfold since the beginning of July, and CSRA hospitals continue to be flooded by coronavirus inpatients, most of them unvaccinated.

Here’s a look at the inpatient totals that were available on Friday:

  • Augusta University Health: 123, unchanged from Thursday. Of the 123 inpatients, 118 are not vaccinated. Of the 48 in intensive care and 27 on ventilators, all but one are unvaccinated.
  • University Hospital: 164, up 14 from Thursday. Of the 164 inpatients, 143 are unvaccinated. Of the 27 in intensive care and on ventilators, 26 are unvaccinated.
  • Doctors Hospital: 84 inpatients, up one from Thursday.

In announcing the numbers for University Hospital, spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said: “Today’s numbers do not yet support a plateau that we hoped was coming soon, especially going into the Labor Day weekend and college football. We are encouraging people to wear masks, wash their hands and socially distance. Traveling if you have not been vaccinated is not a great idea.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention backed up Sylvester’s assertion.

“First and foremost, if you were unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.

Even if you are vaccinated, the CDC says you should wear masks and take COVID risks into consideration before leaving home.

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