Coronavirus update 2.0 Athens

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

From April 15-21, ACC reported 79 new confirmed cases, compared to 88 from April 8-14, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The county’s seven-day average positivity rate increased slightly to 4.2% on April 21 compared to 4.1% on April 14. The World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University recommend that communities try to maintain a positivity rate of 5% or lower.

From April 15-21, ACC reported two confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 142 since the start of the pandemic.

According to the DPH, the ACC seven-day daily case average has decreased from 12.6 for the week of April 8-14 to 11.3 for the week of April 15-21.

According to the Georgia Geospatial Information Office, the number of current hospitalizations in Region E — which includes ACC and several surrounding counties — showed an increase last week. On April 21, there were 37 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, compared to the 30 on April 14.

Statewide, the weekly rate of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased.

Georgia reported 10,017 confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week of April 15-21, a decrease from 10,571 last week. According to the DPH, the seven-day daily case average decreased to 1,431 on April 15-21 compared to 1,510.1 the week before. The number of confirmed deaths decreased — Georgia recorded 204 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths from April 15-21 compared to the 246 deaths on April 8-14.

According to the Geospatial Information Office, the number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state slightly increased from about 1,171 on April 14 to 1,249 on April 21.

In Georgia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measured newly-found variants of COVID-19 in a 4-week period until March 27. Of those, about 46.4% were the B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. 2.1% of all cases were the B.1.351 mutation, which was first discovered in South Africa. About 4.8% of all cases in the state were the B.1.427 mutation, which was originally found in California. Additionally, 0.4% of all cases were the P.1. COVID-19 variant, which was found originally in Brazil. All other lineages of mutations comprised 46.4% of cases.

According to the DPH, Georgia has administered a total of 5,511,221 vaccines. Of these, about 3,414,150 have been the first dose. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Georgia has a total population of about 10,617,423.

In total, about 21% of all residents in Georgia have been fully vaccinated, and 33% have received at least one vaccine dose.

In Athens, 53,313 vaccines have been administered. Of those, 29,377 have received the first dose. About 19% of the county’s residents have been fully vaccinated.

Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused by the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after blood clots were found in six women who had received the vaccine, out of nearly 7 million Americans who had received it. An investigation is ongoing.

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

All Georgians ages 16 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday, March 25.

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.

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