Douglas hits COVID-19 milestones

Cobb & Douglas Public Health Director Dr. Janet Memark said there is some concern the new COVID-19 strain might already be in the area.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Douglas County has grown by 1,708 in the first 20 days of the new year — an amount that is nearly 20% of the 8,730 total confirmed cases in Douglas since last March.

On Jan. 5, the county saw its 100th death since the beginning of the pandemic. The current number of deaths attributed to the virus stood at 116 as of Wednesday afternoon.

Overall in Georgia, there were 695,400 confirmed cases with 11,411 deaths as of Wednesday.

“We are in a dangerous phase and have lost too many of our fellow citizens to this virus,” Cobb & Douglas Public Health Director Dr. Janet Memark said.

The number of new cases has been increasing since late November. As of Wednesday the 173 new cases reported on Jan. 8 is the one-day high for Douglas since the start of the pandemic. There have been six days in the first 19 days in January where the number of new cases was at 100 or more. Prior to the spike that started in late November, the peak number of confirmed cases in a day was 81 on July 18.

And there is concern that the new, more contagious strain of the disease is already in the area.

“The addition of the new variant of COVID-19 is an additional concern to an already dire situation,” Memark said. “Undoubtedly, there are already some cases this strain somewhere in our community. If we don’t slow the case numbers down, we will lose more and more people to this deadly pandemic.”

The three-day span from Jan. 7-9 saw 432 new cases alone. It was the most in a three-day period since the beginning of the pandemic.

The year started with three straight days with more than 100 new cases — 163, (Jan. 1) 102 (Jan. 2) and 101 (Jan.3).

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Tuesday that the state has more than doubled the number of reported COVID-19 vaccinations over the last two weeks.

From Jan. 11 to this past Monday, the state DPH reported an increase from 206,900 to 423,011 vaccines administered.

“While supply for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 remains extremely limited, these numbers show encouraging progress in our efforts to work through backlogs in provider reporting and get Georgians vaccinated quickly and safely,” Kemp said in a released statement. “We are making strides to vaccinate our expanded 1a populations. We still have a long way to go, but we will continue working tirelessly to get shots in arms and win the fight against COVID-19.”

In addition to the vaccinations, Memark said people still need to be vigilant in their everyday approach.

“We cannot become complacent,” Memark said. “We continue to ask our residents to not gather with those outside of their immediate households, wear their masks when in public, wash their hands and maintain their distance from others.”