New infections of COVID-19 continued to hit all time highs this week as Redmond Regional Medical Center began its vaccination program for the disease.

As of Monday, there have been 652 new COVID-19 infections reported in the past two weeks. That high number alongside a 15% positivity testing rate in the same time period indicates that a greater amount of testing is needed to determine the actual spread of the virus.

The glut of new infections has contributed to record breaking numbers of hospitalizations locally.

There were 70 COVID-19 patients at Floyd Medical Center and 63 at Redmond Regional Medical Center on Monday — for a total of 133 people, an all time high. There were also 11 patients suspected of having the disease awaiting test results at Redmond, according to a Floyd County Emergency Management Agency report.

So far, December has not only recorded the most cases and hospitalizations from the disease — but also the most deaths. One more death was reported by the Department of Public Health on Monday after a brief hiatus of several days. With a total of 99 fatalities locally, more than a fifth of them have been in December.

On another note, the second hospital in Floyd County began a vaccination program after 975 doses of the initial Pfizer shipment arrived early Monday.

Redmond began vaccinating frontline healthcare workers Monday. Floyd Medical Center began late last week.

The state is anticipating a second allocation of 60,000 Pfizer vaccine doses this week. Of that number, 20,000 are to be set aside for certain long term care facilities. Vaccinations in those facilities, which are being administered by CVS and Walgreens, are expected to begin on Dec. 28.

Georgia has more than 537,000 healthcare workers, according to the Department of Public Health, and as of Friday the state has received approximately 72,000 doses of vaccine.

That’s expected to ramp up soon.

“With the expected Moderna shipment and second allocation of Pfizer vaccine, that number will more than quadruple over the next several days,” said Nancy Nydam with the DPH.

Georgia’s first allocation of Moderna vaccine is 174,000 doses, Nydam said, shipments are expected to begin arriving through Wednesday.

Rome News-Tribune night editor Diane Wagner and Associated Press writers John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, and Sylvia Hui in London contributed reporting.

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