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The number of new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gordon County continued to decrease this week as local residents continue to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that hopes to limit cases of the virus and slow its spread.

From the evening of Friday, April 23, to Wednesday, April 28, only 32 new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Gordon County. That number represents a sharp decline in the number of new cases cropping up even as compares to a month earlier when, from March 25 until April 1, only 52 new cases were reported. Two new deaths were also reported locally this week.

Confidence in the vaccine may have been slightly shaken following news reports about potential safety risks associated with the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, however, numbers across the state are also continuing to decline as more Georgians opt for vaccination. In just the last week, Georgians saw an increase of 4,147 new cases and 149 new, COVID-related deaths.

According to the Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is no longer believed to pose such series risks. Following a thorough safety review, both announced Monday that they felt the recommended pause regarding the use of the J&J COVID vaccine in the U.S. should be lifted.

“At the time J&J vaccine administration was paused, more than 124,000 doses of J&J vaccine had been safely administered in Georgia,” a press release posted to the Department of Public Health website on Monday said. “Approximately 211,000 doses are currently in inventory statewide.”

Regardless of your vaccination status or prior infections, the Department of Public Health advises that anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should be tested and follow the advice of a health care provider about next steps. Others are recommended to set up vaccination appointments and receive their free COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment to receive a vaccination, log on to dph.ga.gov/covid-vaccine or nwgapublichealth.org to register if you are 16 or older.

Kelcey Walker is a reporter for the Calhoun Times in Calhoun.

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