by Robin Kemp

Please support The Clayton Crescent’s mission at We fought for your right to see these numbers early in the pandemic.

11:48 a.m. 9/14: CCHD updates breakthrough hospitalization numbers

9:36 p.m.: CORRECTION: Johnson & Johnson is single-dose

Monday’s figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health and Clayton County Health Department show 801 people tested positive for COVID-19 last week from Septemberi 6 through 12.

560 people have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and 31,535 people have tested positive for the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 16 people have died of COVID-19 in Clayton County in the past seven days and 54 people were admitted to the hospital. Overall, the CDC says only 20.8% of eligible Clayton County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 .

The average rate of positive PCR tests last week was 15%, according to CCDH. The CDC shows a 12.31% positivity rate

COVID-19 numbers by city

Here’s where each city (including unincorporated areas) stands:

Jonesboro remains the city with the most COVID-19 cases–nearing the 10,000 mark at 9,762 known cases as of Sunday, September 12. Jonesboro accounts for 31% of all COVID-19 cases in Clayton County.

In second place is Riverdale, with 6,673 cases, or 21.2% of COVID-19 cases countywide.

Jonesboro, which has consistently had the most cases since the pandemic began, saw an average of 32.7 cases per day last week.

Together, Jonesboro and Riverdale account for more than half the county’s COVID-19 cases.

Next is Forest Park, which logged 2,837 cases as of Sunday, or 9% of Clayton County’s COVID-19 infections.

Morrow follows in fourth place, with 2,758 cases or 8.7% of Clayton County’s COVID-19 burden.

Rex (2,028 or 6.4%), Ellenwood (1,967 or 6.2%), Hampton (1,843 or 5.8%, Atlanta 1,107 or 3.5%), College Park (2.4%), and Conley (631, or 2%) round out the top ten.

Stockbridge accounted for 460 cases, or 1.5% of Clayton County’s COVID-19 cases. Fayetteville had 220 or 0.7%, Lake City had 187 or 0.6%, and Lovejoy had 130 or 0.5%. Cases of people whose city was not known totaled 130 or 0.41%.

Here’s a look at how COVID-19 has affected different Clayton County zip codes in the past two weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health and CCDH. Note that some decreases may be due to address corrections that moved someone from one zip code to another. Zipcodes with fewer than 5 reported cases were not included below:

COVID-19 cases were up by 19% in 30215 and 4% in 30297 over the past 14 days.

The big picture

Vaccinations in Clayton County

Ed. note: As we were going to press, new vaccination numbers were available in GDPH’s Vaccine Distribution Dashboard, We have updated this story to reflect these latest vaccination numbers, which differ from those in Monday’s press release.

Recent efforts at encouraging people to get vaccinated seem to be having an effect. Overall, 226,231 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have gone into the arms of Clayton County residents. Countywide, 44% of residents have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That’s 123,707 people. A total of 105,822 Clayton County residents (that’s 37% of the people who live in Clayton County) have been fully vaccinated.

Women are ahead of men in seeking out the vaccine. 69,953 are women; 53,377 are men; 299 recipients’ sex was not listed. Those numbers account for 47.3% of Clayton County’s women and 40.8% of Clayton County’s men. In other words, 59.2% of men in Clayton County are unvaccinated, as are 52.7% of women in Clayton County. Given the case numbers by city and zip code, it’s possible that the percentage of unvaccinated people may be even higher or lower in your own neighborhood.

COVID-19 has overwhelmingly attacked Black residents, who make up 55% of all cases by race in Clayton County. While Black residents are more likely than any other race to have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (69,698 Black Clayton County resident have at least one dose), they also are the group with the lowest percentage of members who have been vaccinated. About 72.8% of the population in Clayton County is Black.

30.6% of Hispanic Clayton County residents (11,242) and 39% of non-Hispanic residents (94,400) have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Another 15,831 people’s ethnicity was not specified.

By age

Of the 560 Clayton County residents who have died of COVID-19, 558 were adults. The older you get, the more likely you are to die of a COVID-19 infection.

Nearly 100% of Clayton County residents ages 65 though 84 have gotten at least one dose, as have 91.9% of residents 85 and older, 75.4% of residents 55 through 64, 59% of those 45 through 54, 48% of those 35 through 44, 34.3% of ages 25-34, and 33.4 percent of ages 20-24.

40.9 percent of high-school-aged youth 15 through 19 have been vaccinated at least once, as have 15.7 percent of middle-school-aged kids 10 through 14.

At the same time, the number of confirmed cases has dropped significantly between August 26 and September 9.

Breakthrough cases and misinformation

Misinformation about whether vaccines work continues to circulate on social media, along with false claims that taking supplements is a substitute for vaccination. The claim is that things like sea moss and vitamin C (which the proponents frequently happen to be selling) will boost the human immune system enough to prevent any COVID-19 infection.

This is how vaccines work, according to the World Health Organization: A vaccine puts small pieces of a virus or sometimes a whole virus that into the human body. The virus might be whole or in pieces, live or dead, depending on how the disease works. This prompts your immune system to create antibodies specifically designed to latch onto and attack that particular virus. When the virus finds its way into your body through (in this case) your respiratory system, your immune system sends an army of antibodies specially trained (by that vaccination) to attack and kill the virus.

No amount of sea moss or vitamin C has been scientifically proven to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, masks, vaccines, social distancing, and frequent handwashing are scientifically proven to lessen the virus’ ability to get into your nose, mouth, and lungs–and the data above, which mirrors national data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here in Atlanta, indicate that vaccination is turning the tide against COVID-19, including the nasty new Delta variant, which the CDC says infects more than twice as many people as previous versions of COVID-19. The CDC warns that Clayton County is a high-transmission community and that “everyone in Clayton County, Georgia should wear a mask in public, indoor settings.”

The numbers tell the story:

As of last week, Clayton County had 712 people with COVID-19 cases. Of that number:

  • 616 were unvaccinated (86.5%)
  • 23 were partially vaccinated
  • 73 were fully vaccinated. Georgia DPH says someone is considered fully vaccinated “if it has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) since the completion of the COVID-19 vaccination series (two doses in a two-dose series OR one dose in a one-dose series.” Pfizer and Moderna are a two-dose COVID-19 vaccines; Johnson & Johnson is one dose.

Of those 712 people, 50 were hospitalized. Of that number:

  • 43 were unvaccinated
  • 1 was partially vaccinated
  • 6 were fully vaccinated

Of the 50 that were hospitalized, 14 people died. Of that number:

  • 13 were unvaccinated (92.8%)
  • 1 was fully vaccinated

In other words, if you are fully vaccinated–or even partially vaccinated–your chances of catching COVID-19, of being hospitalized, and/or of dying as a result are exponentially less than if you are unvaccinated.

Please support The Clayton Crescent’s mission at We fought for your right to see these numbers early in the pandemic.

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