Coronavirus update 2.0 Athens

Last week, Athens-Clarke County saw a significant decrease in the rate of new confirmed COVID-19 cases compared to the week before. 

From Feb. 11-17, ACC reported 212 new confirmed cases, compared to 292 from Feb. 4-10. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, however, the seven-day average positivity rate remained the same, at 9.1% on both Feb. 10 and Feb. 17. The World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University recommend that communities try to maintain a positivity rate of 5% or lower.

From Feb. 11-17, ACC reported five confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 109 since the start of the pandemic. 

According to the DPH, the ACC seven-day daily case average has significantly decreased from 41.1 for the week of Feb. 4-10 to 30.3 for the week of Feb. 11-17.

According to the Georgia Geospatial Information Office, the number of current hospitalizations in Region E — which includes ACC and several surrounding counties — showed a decline last week. On Feb. 17, there were 126 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, compared to the 158 on Feb. 10.

Statewide, the weekly rate of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has also decreased slightly.

Georgia reported 16,286 confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week of Feb. 11-17, down from 21,696 last week. According to the DPH, the seven-day daily case average decreased dramatically to 2,326.6 during Feb. 11-17 compared to 3,097  the week before. The number for confirmed deaths also decreased — Georgia recorded 663 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths from Feb. 11-17 compared to the 697 deaths on Feb. 4-10.

According to the Geospatial Information Office, the number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state slightly decreased from about 3,322 on Feb. 10 to 2,654 on Feb. 17. 

In addition, comparing the week of Feb. 4 to the week of Feb. 11 may be difficult as new COVID-19 mutations are being found. About 45 cases of the B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, have been found in the state. No other variants have been recognized in Georgia as of now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to the DPH, Georgia has administered 1,541,057 vaccines, compared to the 1,301,647 vaccinations last week. Of these, about 1,076,924 have been of dose 1 and 464,133 have been dose 2. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Georgia has a total population of about 10,617,423.

Additionally, about 1,139,100 Moderna vaccinations and 819,000 Pfizer vaccinations have been shipped to Georgia. Both the vaccination shipment and administration has increased from last week. Additionally, more people are getting vaccinated than people contracting the virus themselves. 

In total about 78% of all vaccinations allocated to Georgia have been administered.

ACC has administered 26,527 vaccinations cumulatively and of those, 17,531 are the first dose and 8,996 are the second dose. From Feb. 11-16, ACC administered 3,691 vaccinations compared to 3,151 last week. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Athens has a total population of about 127,000.

President Joe Biden has stated that the situation of COVID-19 will get worse before getting better, withstanding vaccine distribution as well. Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, endorsed double masking amid the more contagious COVID-19 mutations found in the U.S, which have been found to be 30-70% more transmissible to others than the initial strain. Double-masking has shown to block over 92% of potential infectious particles from spreading to others, according to a study done by the CDC. 

Currently, ACC, UGA, and the state of Georgia are all in the 1A phase of vaccination administration laid out by the CDC and DPH.