ATLANTA, GA — For the third time since the pandemic began, Georgia reported Thursday more than 4,000 new cases of COVID-19.
Georgia’s 4,286 confirmed tests for the coronavirus is its third highest so far in a 24-hour period. It also marks the 14th time this month that more than 3,000 new cases have been reported in a day.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 don’t necessarily become ill — in some cases, they may not even show symptoms — but they can spread the coronavirus to others who are vulnerable.
Also on Thursday, only 25 deaths were reported. Georgia had tallied about 80 deaths a day on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hospitalizations continue to rise. Georgia passed two milestones Thursday, reporting more than 16,000 hospitalizations and more than 3,000 admissions to an intensive-care unit for the first time.
The state added 431 hospitalizations Thursday, but there is some good news: Patients appear to be spending less time in the hospital.
“We’ve seen a lower length of stay with this run of patients that have been in-house,” Eastside Medical Center CEO Trent Lind said to WSB-TV. He attributed the shorter stays to doctors learning to treat patients more efficiently after several months dealing with COVID-19.
Still, about 88 percent of Georgia’s ICU beds are occupied. Not all of those beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, but a new influx will push hospitals to their limits.
“Even though we’re trying to re-enter the world, we have to do it in a safe way and in a way that protects each other,” Lind said to WSB-TV.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total of 156,588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Thursday. That's 4,286 more than was reported at the same time Wednesday.
Georgia also reported 3,360 deaths so far from COVID-19, 25 more that reported Wednesday. In addition, the state reported 16,353 hospitalizations — 431 more than the day before — and 3,034 admissions to intensive-care units.
No information is available from Georgia about how many patients have recovered.
Counties in or near metro Atlanta continue to have the highest number of positives, with Fulton County adding more than 500 new cases on Thursday. Also, Cobb County added more than 400 new cases, pushing it past 9,000 total for the first time Thursday.
Fulton County: 14,673 cases — 504 new
Gwinnett County: 14,442 cases — 343 new
DeKalb County: 10,480 cases — 277 new
Cobb County: 9,380 cases — 414 new
Hall County: 4,706 cases — 86 new
Counties in or near metro Atlanta also continue to have the most deaths from COVID-19. The lone exception is Dougherty County, the site of Georgia's first major outbreak, which since then has largely stabilized.
Fulton County: 356 deaths
Cobb County: 276 deaths
Gwinnett County: 209 deaths
DeKalb County: 199 deaths
Dougherty County: 159 deaths
As of Thursday, Georgia has administered more than 1.5 million COVID-19 tests, with about 13 percent of those tests the less reliable ones used to detect antibodies.
For the more reliable test for the virus itself, 10.6 percent of tests came back positive. For the less reliable test for antibodies, 6 percent came back positive. The overall positive rate was about 10 percent.
As more Georgians were tested over the last few weeks, positive percentages for both the virus test and tests overall have inched upward. On July 6, the percentage of tests overall that came back positive was only 8.7 percent.
All Georgia statistics are available on the state's COVID-19 website.
Globally, more than 15.3 million people have been infected by COVID-19, and nearly 626,000 people have died, Johns Hopkins University reported Thursday.
In the United States, more than 4 million people have been infected and nearly 144,000 people have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday. The U.S. has only about 4 percent of the world's population but more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country.