In Georgia, the COVID-19 emergency is over, but the virus has not gone away
Just in time for Memorial Day travel plans, deaths, hospitalizations and cases related to the coronavirus in Georgia have plummeted since the last surge of cases in January.
Georgia’s Ministry of Public Health reported that, based on the day of illness onset, May 10, the state reported 213 new cases, with a 7-day rolling average of 235 cases. Those numbers are down from Jan. 2, when the 7-day rolling average of cases was at a high for the year of 2,140.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the past 3 months, Georgia has reported 328 deaths attributed to the virus. He also noted that Georgia had 189 new hospital admissions of confirmed COVID cases in the week ending May 20; down 22% from the previous week.
The Southeast region, which includes Georgia and seven other states, had 3,949 lab tests for COVID-19, with 3.6% positive for the virus for the week ended May 20. Nationally, during the same period, 4.3% of tests were positive. The number of cases is no longer considered a reliable indicator of the spread of the virus due to the increase in home testing kits whose results are not reported to health agencies.
Vaccines are still recommended as the best precaution against infection. In Georgia, 11% of the population ages 5 and older received an updated booster shot, which targets the now-prevalent omicron variant of the virus. Among the US population of the same age, 18% received the updated vaccine.
The government has mandated free COVID testing and treatment for virtually everyone, but that practice was set to change with the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11. Georgia’s Ministry of Public Health said it would continue to provide free test kits to locations across the state, as long as its own supplies remain. Vaccines will still be freely available to the public at health departments, and drugs to prevent severe cases of COVID-19, such as Paxlovid, will remain available at no cost until federal government supplies run out.