DPH COVID-19 testing

Community spread of COVID-19 varies widely among Northwest Georgia counties, with Walker, Gordon and Bartow reporting significantly higher rates.

In the past two weeks, new cases were reported in nearly 7 of every 1,000 Walker County residents, 6 in every 1,000 Gordon residents and 5.3 of every 1,000 people in Bartow, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health daily status report Monday.

In comparison, about 4 in every 1,000 Floyd County residents were newly diagnosed during the same period.

The rate of new infection was even lower in Polk, 3.6 in every 1,000, and in Chattooga, 2.7 in every 1,000 residents. Paulding and Haralson counties also reported rates around 3 in every 1,000.

The Associated Press reported that average daily new coronavirus cases in the United States dipped below 100,000 in recent days for the first time in months.

But experts cautioned that infections remain high and precautions to slow the pandemic must remain in place.

The seven-day rolling average of new infections was well above 200,000 for much of December and went to roughly 250,000 in January, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University, as the pandemic came roaring back after it had been tamed in some places over the summer.

That average dropped below 100,000 on Friday for the first time since Nov. 4. It has stayed below 100,000 through Monday.

“We are still at about 100,000 cases a day. We are still at around 1,500 to 3,500 deaths per day. The cases are more than two-and-a-half-fold times what we saw over the summer,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they’re coming down from an extraordinarily high place.”

Georgia is closing in on 800,000 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases. Although, with another 174,298 positive antigen tests as of Monday added to the 792,509 confirmed, the real number likely tops 960,000 already.

So far, there have been nearly 14,000 confirmed deaths and almost 2,000 deaths suspected to be from the disease.

Floyd County had lost 151 residents to the coronavirus as of Monday. That’s 15 out of every 10,000 people — about even with Bartow and Polk.

Gordon County’s fatality rate is slightly lower, 14.6 per 10,000, and despite its currently high rate of spread, Walker County’s losses total just 9.9 per 10,000 residents.

In rural Chattooga County, 22.2 out of every 10,000 people have died from the disease. Dade County, in the Chattanooga metropolitan area, is reporting just over 5.5 deaths per 10,000 residents.

While DPH is shifting the bulk of its COVID-19 resources to vaccinations, free, drive-thru tests are available in Rome on Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Coosa Valley Fairgrounds, 1400 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

There are no DPH test sites scheduled in Polk, Chattooga or Bartow this week. Calhoun had been scheduled to host one Tuesday but DPH canceled the event due to forecast wintry weather.

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