Health officials report a new spike in COVID cases in Georgia. The state is in the top five in the nation with more new cases in the past 14 days.
GEORGIA — States all over the country are reporting spikes in new COVID-19 cases, and Georgia is among them. The figures on new cases vary, but at least two separate reports showed an absolute peak on Tuesday. Georgia reported its first spike on April 7, with 1,598 new cases. Tuesday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, 1,800 new cases were reported. The New York Times listed 1,552 new COVID-19 cases, and according to their numbers, this positions the Peach State within the top five states with more new cases reported in the past 14 days.
However, reported deaths have not increased since April 20, which saw 94 deaths in one day. Overall, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 65,928 coronavirus cases in the state and 2,648 deaths.
It’s unclear if the new cases are directly related to the voting snafu two weeks ago, but Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has been continuously easing restrictions since April 24. Last week, Kemp also announced that restaurants could open at full capacity.
Dr. Melanie Thompson, the principal investigator of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, told American City Business Journals that she is most concerned about smaller counties that have fewer resources to assist the sick. As we reported last week, LaGrange, a city with a population of 30,305, was close to becoming the No. 1 hotspot in the country.
“The worrisome thing about the smaller counties is that it will take less to overwhelm their health systems if this trend continues,” Thompson said.
“We are not ready for decreasing social distancing, and certainly not ready for concerts. And giving the older folks a false sense of security is unconscionable. Most of all, in a pandemic, we need to base public policy on public health data and assessments rather than political fortunes. Lives depend on it.”
Related: CDC: Coronavirus Has Hit Black and Latino Communities Hardest
NPR is also reporting statistics by Emory University and the Georgia Department of Public Health that found the highest per capita rates is not in Atlanta but rather in “rural parts of the state among agricultural workers, such as poultry processors and migrant crop pickers.”
Jodie Guest, an epidemiologist with Emory University, told NPR that “25% of people working in poultry plants are testing positive. Other agriculture workers — like those picking crops in South Georgia — are being hit much harder at rates of 70% and higher.”
The majority of those working in agriculture and at meat-packing facilities in Georgia are Latinos. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an eye-opening report that shows those most vulnerable to COVID-19 is the Black and Latino population.