COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass 2,500 for first time since February, state says

Current hospitalizations from COVID-19 have surpassed 2,500, numbers not reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health since this past February.

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the GDPH said 2,623 COVID-19 patients were currently in Georgia’s hospitals.

More than 9,100 new reported cases were added to the state’s data by the GDPH. The combined PCR positive and antigen-positive cases were not previously reported due to an error, the state agency said.

"Please be advised this number includes a backlog of cases that were not previously reported due to a data transfer problem with electronic laboratory reporting (ELR)," the GDPH stated in a release to the media on Tuesday afternoon. "The backlog dates back to last Friday, July 30."

The spike sent the two-week average for new cases above 2,000 for the first time since the end of February. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the two-week average stood at 2,079, according to data provided by the GDPH.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday afternoon only 54.6% of the population in Georgia eligible to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines have been fully vaccinated.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who issued an executive order last week reinstating a citywide mask mandate, said Tuesday that "we’ve gone backward" in the fight in the spread of COVID-19.

"Please do not wait to get vaccinated," Bottoms said during a press conference Tuesday morning.

Last week, the city of Savannah reinstated its mask mandate and several school districts also have said masks will be required during the upcoming school year. Tuesday night, Athens-Clarke County commissioners are expected to consider whether to reinstitute its mask mandate.

Two schools in Clayton County, Pointe South Middle School in Jonesboro and North Clayton High School in College Park, were forced to start the school year virtual because of COVID-19.

Last Tuesday, the CDC recommended vaccinated people wear masks indoors again in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging and that everyone in K-12 schools wears masks, regardless of vaccination status. 

Governor Brian Kemp said last week following the new CDC recommendations that "Georgia will not lock down or impose statewide mask mandates."

Health officials are urgently asking everyone who has not gotten one of the vaccines to talk to their health care provider and strongly consider getting one.

To find out more on the vaccine as well as where to get get it, click here.

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