SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The U.S. death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has now reached 1 million deaths.

In Chatham County, 810 confirmed deaths have been reported to date.

“The losses during this pandemic have stuck really with everyone,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, associate chief medical officer at Memorial Health.

Thacker said it’s taken a toll on local health care providers because in so many cases, vaccination could have made for a different outcome.

“I think the period of time where we had really mass uptake of this vaccine has come and gone,” he said.

The fight to hold off another surge in infections continues. While cases are rising again, health officials say people generally aren’t getting as sick as they once were.

Infections are up 25% in Georgia this week over last, with about 7,000 new cases, including 154 in Chatham County. Statewide, 71 reportedly died due to COVID in the last week, though none were in Chatham County.

Meanwhile, the county’s vaccination rate sits at 55%.

“We still have our vaccination site going on Eisenhower, you know, our annex. And we’re providing 230 to 240 on average per week,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, district health director for the Coastal Health District. 

“The majority of those are boosters in older people,” he added.

Davis said he wishes more adults and children would get the vaccine, especially as COVID variants continue to mutate.

“We’ve got here in the U.S. and in Georgia what we call BA.2.12.1, which is a variant of the stealth omicron, as it was called. You know, that’s the predominant circulating strain, but in South Africa, they now have BA.4 and BA.5.”

In South Carolina, numbers are much lower, with an average of only about 27 COVID cases per day over the last two weeks. Only six deaths have been reported in the Palmetto State in the same two-week period.