COVID-19 infections are spreading fast in Floyd County, with over 800 cases confirmed in the past 14 days.
As of Monday, 7,462 of the county’s residents have caught the novel coronavirus since March 2020. Of those infected, 110 people have died and another 19 people are suspected to have died as a result of a COVID-19 infection. If the current rate of infection continues, Floyd will hit 10,000 cases before mid-March, when the second year of the pandemic begins.
In Northwest Georgia, Department of Public Health offices began administering vaccines to adults who are 65 or older, caregivers for those over 65, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders.
People in those categories can register to be notified when covid-19 vaccine is available by calling their county health department.
As of Monday, 183,870 vaccinations have been administered out of the more than 640,000 doses allotted for Georgia.
Nursing home residents and staff are also eligible for immunizations in this phase of the rollout but those are being administered directly by two major retail pharmacies as part of a federal program.
Georgia’s plan to expand access to a coronavirus vaccine to people over 65 got off to a somewhat rocky start Monday, with the websites of several public health districts crashing and other districts reporting overwhelming demand for appointments.
While the Northwest Health District’s website didn’t crash, they’ve been overwhelmed with requests for appointments.
“Requests for appointments have been increasing at a far greater rate than we can schedule appointments and immunize,” said the Northwest Health District’s Spokesperson Logan Boss.
The Coastal Health District, which includes Savannah, stopped scheduling appointments after an “overwhelming response from residents ages 65 and older interested in COVID-19 vaccination,” the district said in a news release.
The district — one of 18 in the state — said health officials in the eight counties it covers have enough requests to schedule appointments through February and, in some cases, into March.
“We know people are frustrated because the process is moving more slowly than they would like, and if we could vaccinate everyone today, we’d do that,” Lawton Davis, the district’s health director said in a statement. “But your health departments are stretched thin and doing what they can to move forward.”
Elsewhere in the state, a message at the top of the North Central Health District’s website said it was experiencing an extremely high volume of calls for COVID-19 vaccination appointments and understood people’s “frustration.” It said it was working with the company that manages its call line to try to improve the process.
Meanwhile, the Cobb & Douglas Public Health website was down due to a server issue, spokeswoman Valerie Crow said in an email.
And the North Georgia Health District’s server became overloaded due to high volumes of people trying to schedule vaccine appointments online, said spokeswoman Jennifer King. She said it was uncertain when the website would be back up.
The district was asking people to call its hotline and to “please be patient if they experience delays getting through,” King said in an email.
Georgia has struggled to administer its vaccine allocation even as the state sets daily records for people hospitalized with the coronavirus. Gov. Brian Kemp said Friday he was not happy with the state’s progress, and officials had to “keep moving the needle.”
Before Monday, the vaccine was available mainly to health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.