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It wouldn’t be accurate to say, “It’s back,” because it never left. But COVID-19 is on the rise again throughout Clayton County, even though many jurisdictions and businesses have dropped mask mandates and social distancing requirements.

Since early May, the number of cases has crept steadily upward. Now, as with most of the western half of Georgia, Clayton County’s COVID-19 map is growing redder.

Since the week of May 6, 2022, COVID-19 cases have been trending upward, with new cases in roughly the same numbers as mid-to late January. More troubling this time around are the new, more serious variants of the virus that are making people sicker. (Graph: Georgia DPH/Clayton County Health District)

As of Monday, July 18, 2022:

  • Clayton County residents account for 62,468 cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). That number includes people who might have gotten the disease more than once.
  • 924 Clayton County residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started. That’s 1.5% of cases.
  • Last week, 548 new positive test results were reported in Clayton County. That’s 0.5% of total cases. However, nearly all of those who died were unvaccinated.
  • Also last week, 6.2% of the people who tested positive had to be hospitalized.
  • Of the 159 counties in Georgia, Clayton County makes up 3% of all COVID-19 cases statewide.
  • Nearly one in every four test results (24.2%) in Clayton County came back positive for COVID-19 last week. 20,468 of every 100,000 PCR tests have come back positive to date. If you count antigen tests as well, the number is 22,537 per 100,000 residents.

As of press time, almost half—49%—of Clayton County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than half—55%—have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. People who have gotten at least one booster shot account for 40% of Clayton County residents.

Jonesboro and Riverdale account for 51.5% of last week’s new cases.

Vaccination rates among school-age children

Ages 0-3: 0.3%

Ages 5-9: 13.8%

Ages 10-14: 35.6%

Ages 15-19: 54.1%

Clayton County vaccination rates by age group. Zoom in to read each column. (Chart: Georgia Department of Public Health/Clayton County Health District)

Hospitalizations and deaths

In the past week, three people hospitalized with COVID-19 have died. All were unvaccinated.

Chart: Georgia Department of Public Health/Clayton County Health District

During the past week in Clayton County, of the 548 people who tested positive for COVID-19, 242 were unvaccinated. 29 were partially vaccinated, 134 were fully vaccinated, and 143 were fully vaccinated and had had a booster shot.

Of those 548 people, 34 were hospitalized last week. Half of them—17—were unvaccinated. Three were partially vaccinated, 8 were fully vaccinated, and 6 were fully vaccinated and had had a booster shot.

Of those 34 hospitalized people, 3 died. All were unvaccinated. They represented 17.6% of the 17 unvaccinated Clayton County residents who were hospitalized.

While some people choose not to get vaccinated, citing personal liberty or religious reasons, others who might choose to get vaccinated might not be able to do so for health reasons. Social distancing and limiting in-person contact, especially in crowded indoor spaces, can go a long way to slowing the virus’ spread. Anyone can carry and transmit the virus without knowing it.

Remember, being vaccinated against COVID-19 does not necessarily keep you from getting sick if you are exposed to the virus. It does make it easier for your body to fight the infection. Wearing masks and observing social distancing help you and those around you avoid spreading droplets that come out of your mouth and nose whenever you speak, sing, sigh, whistle, cough, or sneeze. If you remember The Jetsons, think of the droplets as the domed flying cars, the people inside the cars as the virus, and the buildings where the people get out of the cars as your body.

If you have questions about COVID-19, vaccination, testing, or related concerns, contact the Clayton County Health District at (678) 479-2223 or your personal healthcare provider.

For questions about back-to-school requirements, which may change on short notice, contact Clayton County Public Schools or your private or parochial school for details.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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