COVID-19 is still spreading at a high rate in across Northwest Georgia, despite ongoing vaccinations, with neighboring Bartow County showing higher numbers than surrounding counties.
In Gordon County, from Thursday at 3 p.m. until Sunday at 3 p.m., confirmed cases increased by 21 with one new reported death. An additional four new cases were reported by 3 p.m. Monday with no new deaths. At the same time statewide, those numbers increased by 3,218 with 92 reported deaths with Monday numbers reporting 534 new reported cases and 26 new deaths.
Floyd and most nearby counties were averaging under 165 new cases per 100,000 people last week, according to the CDC Data Tracker. In Bartow, it was over 230.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies both rates as a high level of community transmission.
The COVID Data Tracker shows just four South Georgia counties with the spread relatively under control. A swath down the eastern side of the state — and south below the Gnat Line — is a “moderate spread” zone. The rest of the Georgia counties are listed as having either a substantial or high rate of spread.
“School administrators, working with local public health officials, should assess the level of community transmission to understand the burden of disease in the community,” the CDC’s school operational guidelines state.
“The higher the level of community transmission, the more likely that SARS-CoV-2 will be introduced into the school facility from the community, which could lead to in-school transmission if layered prevention strategies are not in use.”
The CDC’s latest report looks at cases through Friday, with a weekly analysis.
The Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report presents the statistics differently from the CDC, using a two-week period and counting only cases confirmed by PCR testing for its day-to-day numbers.
However, it includes antigen testing in a separate section looking at the number of cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.
As of Monday afternoon, Floyd County had reported 198 new PCR-confirmed cases in the past two weeks. The rate including antigen confirmations was equal to 295 per 100,000 over that period.
Bartow had 323 PCR confirmations and a total rate of 414 new cases per 100,000 people in 14 days.
The 28 new PCR cases in Chattooga, plus positive antigen tests, calculates to 194 per 100,000 people. Polk reported 64 PCR positives in two weeks, with a total equal to 230 per 100,000. Gordon, with 110 new PCR cases, was at 248 total cases per 100,000 people for that timeframe.
School administrators also are cautioned by the CDC to consider the testing rate in determining the precautions to take for in-person classes.
The two-week PCR positivity rate as of Monday was 5.8% in Floyd, which has an overall rate of 10.9% since the pandemic began last March.
The state report showed Polk at 7.4%, compared to 15.5% overall; Chattooga at 7.8%, compared to 14.3% overall; Gordon at 7.8% in the past two weeks and 12.7% overall; and Bartow at 11.8%, down only slightly from its 13.7% overall.
As of Monday, 593 people are confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in those five counties alone. Sixty in Chattooga, 75 in Polk, 96 in Gordon, 167 in Floyd and 195 in Bartow, according to the DPH Daily Status Report.
One person in Polk and four in Bartow died over the past weekend.