Georgia passes 300,000 COVID-19 infections; decline in new cases flattens

A healthcare worker administers a coronavirus test to a patient. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Georgia has surpassed 300,000 confirmed coronavirus infections amid hints that a decline in new cases may be leveling out.

With totals reported Thursday, Georgia is close to 301,000 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in March. There also are now 6,474 total confirmed deaths caused by the respiratory illness.

Georgia’s numbers continue mostly to improve, although cases, hospitalizations, and deaths remain elevated over June before numbers began to spike. Hospitalizations continue to fall. The number of confirmed cases in hospitals is below 1,500, down more than half from the peak of 3,200 in late July.

Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georgia

And new deaths being recorded are also dropping, down about 40% since early September to below 40 a day.

But the seven-day rolling average of new cases has drifted up for several days, and Georgia remains the state with the 12th most new cases per capita in the past 14 days, according to data kept by The Associated Press.

“We seem to have hit a leveling point that might just be a bump on the continued trajectory down,” epidemiologist Amber Schmidtke wrote Wednesday of Georgia’s case trend. “We need more time to know.”

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Chattahoochee County, which contains much of Fort Benning, remains the top county nationwide for new cases per capita in the last 14 days. Athens-Clarke County, home to the University of Georgia, ranks No. 14, while Stewart County, home to an immigration detention center, ranks No. 20.

Those hot spots are reflected in larger statewide trends that show COVID-19 cases spiking among people aged 18-22, the age for traditional college students and many military trainees.

Fulton and Gwinnett counties remain the counties with the highest number of total COVID-19 cases, with over 26,000 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Transmission at schools remain high, according to state figures, accounting for 39 of the 93 outbreaks reported last week. Beyond young adults, COVID-19 remains high among school-aged children in some counties, with more than 5 infections per 1,000 school-aged children reported in 10 counties, mostly in east central or southeast Georgia.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.