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 March 11-17, ACC reported 102 new confirmed cases, compared to 127 from March 4-10, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The county’s seven-day average positivity rate increased to 4.3% on March 17 compared to 4.1% on March 10. The World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University recommend that communities try to maintain a positivity rate of 5% or lower. 

From March 11-17, ACC reported two confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 128 since the start of the pandemic. 

According to the DPH, the ACC seven-day daily case average has decreased from 18.1 for the week of March 4-10 to 14.6 for the week of March 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 slight decline last week. On March 17, there were 52 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, compared to the 57 on March 10.

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

Georgia reported 10,776 confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week of March 11-17, down from 14,562 last week. According to the DPH, the seven-day daily case average decreased to 1,539.4 on March 11-17 compared to 2,080.3 the week before. The number of confirmed deaths also decreased — Georgia recorded 307 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths from March 11-17 compared to the 363 deaths on March 4-10.

According to the Geospatial Information Office, the number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state slightly decreased from about 1,523 on March 10 to 1,284 on March 17. 

In addition, about 204 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 March 16, compared to 171 cases found on March 9. Three cases of the B.1.351 mutation, which was first discovered in South Africa, have been cumulatively found in the state. 

According to the DPH, Georgia has administered a total of 2,846,173 vaccines. Of these, about 1,787,221 have been the first dose and 1,058,952 have been the second dose. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Georgia has a total population of about 10,617,423.

About 1,964,400 Moderna vaccines and 1,635,465 Pfizer vaccines have been shipped to Georgia along with 84,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Both the vaccine shipment and administration have increased from last week. Additionally, more people are getting vaccinated than people contracting the virus themselves. 

In total, about 77% of all vaccines shipped to Georgia have been administered.

ACC has administered 46,630 vaccines cumulatively, and of those, 29,376 are the first dose and 17,254 are the second dose. From March 11-16, ACC administered 4,992 vaccinations compared to 5,847 last week. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Athens has a total population of about 127,000.

Nationwide, more vaccines are being administered than COVID-19 cases confirmed. 

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 conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has also released guidelines for vaccinated individuals to still try their best to follow social distancing, wearing masks, and frequently washing hands even if they have been vaccinated.