Single-day COVID-19 cases in Georgia spike to 10,000 as omicron variant spreads


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The number of positive COVID-19 cases reported in a single day spiked to above 10,000 on Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health said. 

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributes the exponential growth in cases to the omicron variant, which is now dominant across the U.S.

Thursday’s numbers are still below the single-day record of combined PCR and antigen cases of 13,296 set on Jan. 8, but some experts fear this wave could soon break that record.

COVID-19 SURGE: HERE’S WHAT’S CANCELED OR CLOSING ACROSS THE US

In the last seven days, there have been as many positive PCR tests reported as in the previous 28 days, according to GDPH data.

ICU beds have also seen their fourth day of decline due to staffing issues in Georgia.

Hospitalizations have seen its 13th straight day of increases. Current hospitalizations as of 3 p.m. Thursday were at 1,364, the GDPH reports.

Deaths from COVID-19 have also risen slightly. The 7-day average is about 30 deaths per day, GDPH data reveals.

Much about the omicron variant remains unknown, including whether it causes more or less severe illness. Early studies suggest the vaccinated will need a booster shot for the best chance at preventing omicron infection but even without the extra dose, vaccination still should offer strong protection against severe illness and death.

The new spike in cases has done little to prompt people to get vaccinated. Just over 46,000 shots were administered in the last week, including booster shots, the GDPH said. Fully vaccinated residents only increased by just under 34,000. The Centers for Disease Control still ranks Georgia at 46 in terms of the percentage of those eligible to receive the vaccine being fully vaccinated. As of Thursday, only 54% of those in Georgia eligible have been fully vaccinated, the CDC reports.

Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order reinstating the city’s indoor mask mandate. Savannah also reinstated its mask mandate. Cobb County issued a declaration of emergency on Wednesday that requires everyone to wear a mask in county-owned buildings.

Several school districts are also currently considering possibly not rolling back their mask mandates as the new semester approaches after the first of the year.

The GDPH said testing for the virus is in high demand, but finding a test might be difficult. Tuesday, President Joe Biden acknowledged the spike in COVID-19 cases and vowed to mail half a billion free COVID-19 test kits to those who want one starting next month.

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