By Joe Johnson
The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in the 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Athens-Clarke increased over the weekend from 12 to 14, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The DPH updates its coronavirus status report twice daily, at noon and 7 p.m.
At noon Monday there were 7,314 confirmed coronavirus cases statewide, a number that increased by 1,473 from the 5,831 cases the DPF reported at noon Friday.
In that same timeframe, the number of deaths from the virus increased by 45, from 184 to 229, and hospitalizations jumped from 1,158 at noon Friday to 1, 332 as of noon Monday, according to the DPH.
“Today’s significant increase in cases is in part due to additional laboratories reporting to DPH, and also improvements in electronic reporting from other laboratories,” the DPH said. “Patient information is often incomplete and DPH works to complete the records, so data will change over time.”
In the Northeast Health District, Athens-Clarke County had the most confirmed cases of the highly-infectious virus with 69, eight of which resulted in patient deaths.
Athens-Clarke on Monday was followed by Barrow County, with 27 cases of the virus and two deaths, the DPH said.
The county in the health district with the next most confirmed cases of the deadly disease is Oconee, which increased from 19 cases Friday afternoon to 24 on Monday, according to the DPH.
Coronavirus cases in Jackson County increased from 12 Friday to 17 as of noon Monday, and Greene County added six cases, bringing its total to 15.
Virus statistics in Madison increased, from five to seven, and the number of deaths in the county remained the same, at one, according to the DPH.
Morgan County jumped from two to five COVID-19 cases and Walton saw a significant increase from 16 to 23 cases, including two deaths, according to the DPH.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 and should always consult their healthcare provider if they are sick.
The DPH identified the Athens residents with underlying medical conditions who died from the virus as a males aged 60, 79, and 98, and female patients aged 78 and 79. Two other fatalities were a woman and man, aged 78 and 68, who the DPH did not know if they had underlying medical conditions, and an 89-year-old woman who had no underlying conditions.
The patients in Barrow County who died were a 66-year-old man and a 91-year-old woman, both of whom had underlying medical condition, the DPH said, and the Madison County fatality was a 71-year-old man with pre-existing health conditions.
It was unknown if the 83-year-old man from Oglethorpe County who died from COVID-19 had any underlying medical conditions, according to the DPH.
The patients in Walton County who died from COVID-19 were both men, ages 74 and 75, but the DPH did not know if they had underlying healt issues.
Long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and congregate living settings for older people must strictly follow COVID-19 prevention measures to stop rapid spread of the virus, according to the DPH.
The DPH stressed that all Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by following the simple rules of social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and other people; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and staying at home if you are feeling sick.
To view DPH coronavirus updates visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report