Over 1 million cases statewide to date; Clayton County in top 5

by Robin Kemp

With 20,258 COVID-19 deaths and likely another 3,084 statewide, 74,717 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 12,197 Georgians admitted to ICUs, and no end in sight, Congressman David Scott (GA-13) and Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) are calling on Gov. Brian Kemp to act.

1,134,891 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Georgia since the pandemic started.

The congressmen issued a letter calling for Kemp to freeze elective in-patient surgeries and to extend licensing waivers due to expire September 19 for health care workers and hospitals providing critical services. They cited “a sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases–particularly among children and the unvaccinated.”

“Hospital systems are being forced to make difficult decisions about how to care for patients when there aren’t enough resources to go around,” the letter read in part. “Our state is at a critical point in its fight against the pandemic and as elected officials, we must prioritize the health and well-being of our citizens above all other considerations.”

As of last Friday, nearly 93% of all emergency room beds statewide were full and more than 20,000 Georgians had died of COVID-19. According to projections, the surge will continue and is stretching the hospital system to its breaking point. It also is putting patients with other life-threatening conditions at greater risk.

In Region D alone, which includes Clayton County and much of metro Atlanta, the numbers as of September 8 are grim:

  • Inpatient beds in use: 86.8% (4,566)
  • ICU beds in use: 92% (1,130)
  • Emergency Department beds in use: 89.7% (937)
  • Adult ventilators in use: 47.1% (594)

“We urge you to take the necessary steps to ensure the availability of adequate hospital capacity to provide the best possible care for COVID-9 patients,” the letter continues. “Placing a temporary pause on elective procedures and extending licensing requirement waivers for hospitals and health care workers would demonstrate Georgia’s commitment to our health care community and your continued dedication to eradicating the pandemic.”

Scott and Johnson noted, “As of last week, 11,000 nursing positions across the state sat vacant—with more than 1,700 of those in intensive care units.”

Read the full letter:

While the congressman praised Kemp for deploying National Guard troops to hospitals and for letting the Georgia Board of Nursing issue temporary permits, “the shortage of available staff persists.”

Kemp has been lukewarm on vaccination, “encouraging” state employees to get the COVID-19 shot but not mandating it as a public health emergency measure. On August 19, Kemp issued an executive order forbidding local governments from imposing mask mandates.

In January, the National Academy of Sciences compiled numerous studies showing that masks and vaccinations would get the virus under control: “When used in conjunction with widespread testing, contact tracing, quarantining of anyone that may be infected, hand washing, and physical distancing, face masks are a valuable tool to reduce community transmission.” The review also found evidence that mandatory masking and vaccination was more effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19 than was voluntary compliance.

Vaccinated vs. unvaccinated impact

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s latest update on COVID-19 compares infection rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated Georgians between January 2 and September 7, 2021:

40,174 (0.87%) positive lab test (PCR and antigen)702,951 (11.44%) positive lab test (PCR and antigen)
1,414 (0.03%) hospitalized for any reason and test positive for COVID-1929,655 (0.48%) hospitalized for any reason and test positive for COVID-19
277 (0.006%) COVID-19 related deaths7,558 (0.12%) COVID-19 related deaths

Partial vaccination means that a person has gotten one shot in the two-shot series, or that it’s only been one to 13 days since the person got the final dose of either a one-shot or two-shot vaccine).

Breakthrough cases

A breakthrough case is:

  • someone whose respiratory specimen was positive for COVID-19 (whether PCR or antigen test),
  • with that specimen collected 14 or more days after the person had been fully vaccinated,
  • and who had not tested positive for COVID-19, whether PCR or antigen test) in the previous 90 days.

Georgia DPH reports 40,174 breakthrough cases as of September 7. Of those:

  • 1,414 (3.51%) were hospitalized (not necessarily for COVID-19)
  • 358 (0.89%) died
  • 277 (0.68%) died of COVID-19 related causes

More than half of those hospitalized were women (59.82% or 24,033) and one in four was 65 or older (26.22% or 10,536).

Clayton County COVID-19 numbers

As of September 7, 2021, these are the latest figures from Clayton County according to GDPH:

34,578 Clayton County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. That’s 11,343 people per 100,000 or 11.34%.

In the past two weeks, 2,287 people in Clayton County were diagnosed with COVID-19–about 2.2%.

These percentages show the prevalance of COVID-19 and are based on a population of 304,838 people.

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