Georgia Sees Highest COVID-19 Positivity Rate Than At Any Other Point During The Pandemic

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Georgia currently has the highest COVID-19 positivity rate than at any other time during the pandemic. The 7-day average positivity rate was 23% Monday, up from 4.7% on Dec. 1.

The last time the positivity rate was this high was on April 2, 2020, when Gov. Brian Kemp ordered a shelter in place for the state.

On Christmas Day, the Georgia Department of Health reported the second-highest number of new cases since the pandemic began, with 10,044 new cases reported. Jan. 8, 2021 still holds the record for the highest number of cases reported at 10,165.

Cases of COVID-19 are currently rising at the highest rate among the unvaccinated. More than 12,504 new cases were reported in unvaccinated people the week of Dec. 18. By comparison, around 5,300 new cases were reported among people who had gotten two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 504 cases were reported among people who have had their booster shots.

Last week, 379 people who were not vaccinated were hospitalized with the virus, while 95 people who were fully vaccinated were hospitalized and five who received the booster shot were hospitalized.

Only 52.4% of Georgians have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

Georgia could see more than 15,000 daily cases of COVID-19 two weeks from now, according to a COVID-19 case prediction model created by the Mayo Clinic.

Monday’s case total was three times what it was just one week ago and 10 times the 7-day average just a month ago.

Fulton County Public Health Director Lyn Paxton said Fulton alone had more than 1700 daily cases yesterday, the highest since the pandemic began.

“We’re only one day past Christmas, so we haven’t yet seen the cases that probably arose from Christmas,” Paxton said.

Paxton said that even if omicron is less serious for vaccinated people, the sheer number of cases will soon stress hospitals.

“If you are vaccinated, you are still three to five times less likely to get infected,” Paxton said. “If you don’t get infected, you can’t transmit it to someone else.”

It’s unclear if the omicron strain is as deadly as the delta variant, which fueled a devastating surge in Georgia in the summer. That surge saw hospitals across the state exceed capacity, and more than 9,000 people died across the state.

COVID-19 testing sites were packed Monday as people waited more than four hours for testing at some sites in metro Atlanta. Officials at one Viral Solutions location said they normally see around 1,300 reservations a day, but had around 2,000 reservations booked Monday, which could set a new record.

Health officials said the long wait times at testing sites resulted from a perfect storm between holiday travel and the unexpected surge in cases.

Officials said that testing sites are your best bet if you have to get tested to go back to work. Home tests aren’t available within a hundred-mile radius of metro Atlanta.