UPDATE [7 p.m.]: In the past 10 days, Georgia’s coronavirus death toll has more than doubled, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Thirty more patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have died since the DPH’s noon update. That brings the state’s death toll to 617 since the coronavirus pandemic entered the state. On April 6, Georgia had 294 coronavirus-related deaths.
In addition, 699 more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, bringing the state’s total to 16,368. Of those, 3,260 patients have been hospitalized at some point, which is about 19.9% of all cases.
Of the 94 counties to report at least one death from COVID-19, Dougherty remains the hardest hit with 88 deaths, followed by Fulton with 66 and Cobb with 49. Dougherty also recorded the most deaths since noon with five, followed by Randolph and Thomas counties with four each.
Since Wednesday evening, Georgia recorded 41 new deaths.
Nearly 68,000 tests have been conducted in Georgia, and about 24.1% of those have returned positive results.
At least 70% of those who have died had a preexisting condition, but the DPH did not know that information for about 27% of the victims. Only 21 were confirmed to not have another condition that could have contributed to their death aside from COVID-19.
The DPH also releases compiled data of the race and ethnicity of patients, but more than half of patients had their race listed as unknown.
Of the remaining percentage, about 26.5% were black, 19.3% were white and 0.9% were Asian, according to the latest data. About 4.4% of patients were listed as having Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.
The DPH recently expanded the race and ethnicity data to include those who died from the virus. The information for all but 46 victims is known.
About 52% of those who died were black and 38% were white, according to the latest data. Those with Hispanic ethnicity made up about 3% of the death toll, while Asians comprised about 1%.
Only two counties, Glascock and Taliaferro, have not recorded their first case, according to the DPH. The remaining 157 counties in Georgia have at least one, with Fulton topping the list with 1,945 confirmed cases.
However, Hall saw the most new cases since noon by far, recording 115. After that, Bibb added the next most cases with 61, followed by Richmond with 42 and Cobb with 24.
Since Wednesday evening, Georgia recorded 1,108 new cases.
As of 7 p.m. Thursday, there were 1,260 cases in DeKalb, 1,014 in Cobb, 917 in Gwinnett, 526 in Hall, 473 in Clayton, 330 in Henry, 245 in Cherokee, 240 in Bartow, 209 in Douglas, 169 in Forsyth, 126 in Fayette, 123 in Paulding and 115 in Newton.
Patients between the ages of 18 and 59 make up the majority of cases at 61%, while those 60 and older make up 35% of cases. The DPH does not release compiled data on how many patients have recovered.
For the full update, click here.
ORIGINAL STORY [noon]: The coronavirus crisis in Georgia deepened Thursday as the state confirmed hundreds of more infections and the death toll neared 600.
The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed 15,669 coronavirus cases, according to the latest data released at noon Thursday. With a projected peak in deaths still weeks away, officials have verified the deaths of at least 587 Georgians were due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus.
Thirty-five more deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, according to the health department.
» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia
Computer models suggest the number of deaths will reach their height May 3. Two days before, Georgia is expected to reach peak demand on its health care system as more COVID-19 patients become seriously ill.
Since the outbreak began, 3,108 patients have been hospitalized statewide, officials said. Thursday’s figures represent an increase of 4.5% in new infections since the health department’s noon update Wednesday.
Those numbers are lagging as testing capacity increases and deaths are reported by hospitals and local officials around the state. The data does not reflect the severity of the crisis in Georgia in real time, according to Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state’s public health commissioner.
The virus has impacted nearly every county in Georgia, with Glascock and Taliaferro the only counties yet to confirm a case. Nearly two-thirds of the counties in the state have reported COVID-19 deaths, including Bacon County, which reported its first Thursday.
Of the total deaths statewide, more than 80% were seniors and 70% had underlying conditions, according to data from the health department. More black people have died of COVID-19 in Georgia than any other race.
Cobb, Hall and Bartow counties all reported four additional deaths in the past 24 hours. Hall began the week with no verified COVID-19 deaths and has now recorded five.
No additional deaths were reported Thursday in Dougherty County, which has seen 83 people die of the virus, more than any other Georgia county. The southwest Georgia community has confirmed 30 more cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 1,338.
Only Fulton County has seen more infections with 1,929 as of Thursday. In metro Atlanta, there are now 1,247 cases of the virus in DeKalb, 990 in Cobb, 896 in Gwinnett, 468 in Clayton, 411 in Hall, 330 in Henry, 243 in Carroll, 242 in Cherokee, 237 in Bartow, 202 in Douglas, 121 in Paulding, 115 in Newton and 108 in Rockdale.
As of Wednesday, anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms in Georgia is eligible to be tested. Following new protocols outlined by Gov. Brian Kemp, critical workers, including health care workers and first responders, will still be prioritized for testing whether or not they are symptomatic.
The state’s lab has conducted an additional 262 tests in the past 24 hours, and commercial labs across the state have performed another 3,850.
Georgia was rationing its limited supply of tests to those most at risk of developing serious illness, ranking 45th in the nation in per capita coronavirus testing before restrictions were relaxed. Even with limited testing, Georgia has more confirmed cases of the virus than all but 10 other states.
With expanded efforts to test more sections of the public, the state is now operating 35 sites and intends to set up more.
Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their local health department, their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at a testing site, emergency room or other health care facility.
Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals.
— Please return to AJC.com for updates.
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