Coronavirus update 2.0 Athens

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

From Feb. 18-24, ACC reported 182 new confirmed cases, compared to 212 from Feb. 11-17. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the seven-day average positivity rate decreased to 7.8% on Feb. 24 compared to 9.3% on 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. 18-24, ACC reported seven confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 117 since the start of the pandemic. 

According to the DPH, the ACC seven-day daily case average has significantly decreased from 36.6 for the week of Feb. 11-17 to 26 for the week of Feb. 18-24.

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. 24, there were 97 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, compared to the 126 on Feb. 17.

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

Georgia reported 21,876 confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week of Feb. 18-24, down from 23,049 last week. According to the DPH, the seven-day daily case average decreased dramatically to 3,125.1 during Feb. 18-24 compared to 3,292.7 the week before. The number of confirmed deaths also decreased — Georgia recorded 640 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths from Feb. 18-24 compared to the 663 deaths on Feb. 11-17.

According to the Geospatial Information Office, the number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state slightly decreased from about 2,654 on Feb. 17 to 2,165 on Feb. 24. 

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 119 cases of the B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, have been found in the state as of Feb. 24, compared to 45 cases found on Feb. 17. 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 1,834,738 vaccines, compared to the 1,541,057 vaccinations last week. Of these, about 1,182,713 have been of dose 1 and 652,025 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 1,271,200 Moderna vaccinations and 972,075 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 81% of all vaccinations allocated to Georgia have been administered.

ACC has administered 30,114 vaccinations cumulatively and of those, 18,349 are the first dose and 11,765 are the second dose. From Feb. 18-24, ACC administered 2,899 vaccinations compared to 4,366 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 the 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 potentially 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.