Some high school football programs face challenges as COVID-19 cases continue to climb

Friday is the kickoff to the high school football season in Georgia, but with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the more virulent delta variant causing a rise in cases and hospitalizations in the state among unvaccinated individuals, some schools are having to take action.

DeKalb County Schools on Wednesday said the game between McNair and Forest Park would be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The game would have been at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Buck Godfrey Stadium. No word on if the game would be rescheduled.

In Clayton County, school officials said its three stadiums would be only operating at 50% capacity during the entire season. Officials also encouraged people to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Tickets for games at Southern Crescent Stadium in Riverdale, Tara Stadium in Jonesboro, and Twelve Oaks Stadium in Hampton will be handled virtually and will go on sale at 4 p.m. the Tuesday before the game using the GoFan app

Last week, DeKalb County Schools reported 361 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with about 7 students reporting at McNair. Clayton County saw 502 cases in the same time period.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 3,385 confirmed cases in DeKalb County in the last two weeks or about 427 cases for every 100,000 people. Clayton County had about 1,679 cases in the last two weeks or about 551 for every 100,000 people.

Georgia’s case count continues to rise, with the seven-day rolling average climbing above 7,041 on Wednesday, the worst since Jan. 26, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is also rising rapidly, exceeding 4,760 even as many hospital executives warn they don’t have enough beds and staff to care for surging patients loads.

Vaccinations in Georgia this week surpassed 9.3 million doses with 46.9% of those eligible to receive the vaccine considered fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number lags behind the national average of 59.6%. The GDPH said the number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases is above 0.3%.

The Delta variant now accounts for more than 90% of new cases across the state, health officials said.

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