SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – For the first time since February, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Georgia have surpassed 2,600.
According to the Georgia Geospatial Information Office, 2,632 patients are now hospitalized with the virus, accounting for 16% of all patients in the state.
Hospitalizations haven’t been this high since Feb. 18. Patient totals spiked at the start of the year after the winter holidays and before vaccines were widely available.
But this recent surge is being driven by the highly-contagious delta variant.
In Chatham County, there are 140 COVID-19 patients across the area’s three hospitals:
- Memorial Health: 76
- St. Joseph’s: 38
- Candler: 26
Hospitalizations have not been at this level in the county since the holiday-related spike.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the delta variant accounts for the majority of new COVID-19 cases in Georgia.
On Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported a backlog of more than 9,100 positive PCR and antigen cases combined. The cases date back to last Friday and were not previously reported “due to a data transfer problem with electronic laboratory reporting,” DPH stated.
Cases, which have been steadily increasing in recent days, spiked to 6,480 Tuesday — the highest single-day total for the state since mid-January.
Meanwhile, five of the eight counties in the Coastal Health District set single-day records Tuesday, including Chatham County where 303 cases are reported.
Across Georgia, there are 21 new COVID-19 deaths, including two in Chatham County.
As cases continue to climb and the delta variant spreads, the national, state and local health officials alike are reiterating the importance of getting vaccinated.
According to the DPH, the highest spread of cases and severe outcomes are happening in places with low vaccination rates, and virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.
Statewide, 40% of Georgia residents are considered fully vaccinated. Chatham County’s rate is just above that at 42% fully vaccinated.