GA Coronavirus: Some Hospitals Under 'Severe Strain' With Surge

Jim Massara

ATLANTA, GA — Georgia posted on Tuesday nearly 6,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours. It’s not the highest number of new cases so far — that honor belongs to Dec. 24, when nearly 8,000 cases were reported in a single day — but it does rank in the top five.

The state also reported 41 more deaths and 451 more Georgians being hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Hospitals in some counties are being hit harder than others. While facilities in most of metro Atlanta’s core counties are only 20-25 percent filled with COVID-19 patients, some rural hospitals are more than half full, according to information from the University of Minnesota.

Bacon and Crisp counties, for example, both have about 60 percent of available hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID-19. Closer to Atlanta, Douglas County’s hospital beds are 46 percent occupied by COVID-19 patients, Paulding County’s are 43 percent occupied and Carroll County’s are 40 percent occupied. In Walton County, 37 percent of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, while about 30 percent of Bartow County’s beds are occupied with COVID-19 patients.

Hospital-capacity experts tell NPR that anything over 10 percent is cause for concern. And according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, anything above 20 percent constitutes "severe strain."

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control urged Georgians to stay home this New Year's weekend to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The agency reminded the public what it can do to stay well.

"The safest way to celebrate the new year is to celebrate at home with the people who live with you or virtually with friends and family. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others," the CDC said.

Travel and gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

Georgia Coronavirus Numbers For Dec. 29, 2020

The Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta reported a total of 552,712 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29. According to the health department’s website, that includes 5,931 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours. In addition, Georgia reported 3,777 new antigen-positive cases over the last 24 hours, which are considered to be probable cases of COVID-19.

Georgia has reported 9,759 deaths so far from COVID-19, with 41 more confirmed deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. Georgia also reported 1,020 probable deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. These probable deaths include fatalities with indirect evidence of COVID-19.

Georgia reported 41,403 hospitalizations — 451 more than the day before — and 7,322 admissions so far to intensive-care units.

No information is available from Georgia about how many patients have recovered.

Counties in or near metro Atlanta and other metropolitan areas continue to have the highest number of COVID-19 positives, with Gwinnett County passing 50,000 total cases and Fulton County close behind it. Also, Henry County just south of Atlanta moved into the top 10. These statistics do not include antigen-positive cases.

  1. Gwinnett County: 50,063 cases — 674 new

  2. Fulton County: 49,907 cases — 606 new

  3. Cobb County: 35,761 cases — 382 new

  4. DeKalb County: 34,491 cases — 367 new

  5. Hall County: 17,072 cases — 222 new

  6. Clayton County: 12,901 — 132 new

  7. Chatham County: 12,600 — 96 new

  8. Cherokee County: 12,396 — 170 new

  9. Richmond County: 12,343 — 76 new

  10. Henry County: 10,730 — 108 new

Counties in or near metro Atlanta also continue to have the most deaths from COVID-19.

  1. Fulton County: 732 deaths — 1 new

  2. Gwinnett County: 556 — 2 new

  3. Cobb County: 547 deaths — 2 new

  4. DeKalb County: 490 deaths — 2 new

  5. Bibb County: 237 deaths

  6. Chatham County: 228 deaths — 1 new

  7. Clayton County: 219 deaths — 1 new

  8. Richmond County: 218 deaths

  9. Hall County: 216 deaths — 3 new

  10. Dougherty County: 204 deaths — 1 new

All Georgia statistics are available on the state's COVID-19 website.

Globally, more than 81.7 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 1.78 million people have died from it, Johns Hopkins University reported Tuesday.

In the United States, more than 19.4 million people have been infected and more than 336,000 people have died from COVID-19 as of Tuesday. The U.S. has only about 4 percent of the world's population but more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country.

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This article originally appeared on the Cartersville Patch