© 2023 WUGA | University of Georgia
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

COVID cases continue to rise in ACC

COVID case rates in Athens-Clarke County continue to climb, reaching numbers not seen locally since September 2021. From Dec. 23-29, ACC reported 887 new confirmed COVID cases; the seven-day case rate was 691 per 100,000 people.

On Dec. 30 alone, there were 259 new cases reported in Athens-Clarke County. A county-wide indoor mask mandate remains in effect until the week-long case rate falls below 100.

But as case rates rise, the county's vaccination rates remain substantively unchanged, with 47% of people with two shots, and 40% with three. Earlier on Monday, Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department reported that it was in “severe” crowding status while St. Mary’s Hospital is “overcrowded” and at total diversion status as of noon on Jan. 3.

According to regional health data, hospitals in Region E, which includes Athens-Clarke and neighboring counties are at 87% capacity of ICU bed usage though ventilator usage remains relatively low.

This surge associated with the omicron variant is hitting hospitals statewide. In a statement released on Dec. 30, six metro Atlanta hospitals pleaded with people to get vaccinated after hitting 100% to 200% increases in COVID-related hospitalizations. They also asked that patients consider increased wait times and overcrowding before visiting the emergency room.

Federal guidance is the same: those infected with COVID-19 should stay home and isolate except in an emergency. The Clarke County School District is ready to return for its spring semester on Thursday with the University of Georgia close behind on Jan. 10. In the past three days, CCSD saw 11 new COVID cases. UGA numbers haven’t been updated since before the holiday break when university-reported cases hit record numbers in the final month of the fall semester.

Related Content