ATLANTA (WSAV) — The Peach State reached a COVID-19 vaccine milestone by inoculating half of its population. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) made the announcement Monday afternoon.
“Having 50% of Georgians fully vaccinated is a positive step toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic in the state,” says DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey. “However, COVID-19 continues to spread in Georgia, particularly in areas of low vaccination rates, causing severe illness and death – deaths that are preventable.”
Georgia’s fully vaccinated population still lags behind the national average of 58%, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Georgia reports 552 new daily cases Monday, along with 83 deaths and 369 hospitalizations. Since Friday, Georgia reported a total of 2,202 new COVID-19 cases. However, each day saw new daily case counts of fewer than 1,000.
The daily average over the past two weeks sits at 1,063. New daily cases in Georgia have been steadily declining since early September and have reached lows last seen in late July, according to data from DPH. To date, the state has reported nearly 1.3 million cases and lost more than 24,000 lives since the start of the pandemic.
While the decline in COVID infections is a positive sign, Toomey still encourages those who have yet to get vaccinated to do so to prevent further infections. Health experts worry the U.S. might see a similar wave of cases, deaths and hospitalizations seen last winter. At that time, record cases, hospitalizations and deaths were recorded.
A couple of weeks ago, Chatham County surpassed the same vaccine milestone, now reporting 51% of residents are fully vaccinated and 56% have received at least one dose.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported the incorrect number of new daily cases reported Monday.