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Columbus sees surge in COVID-19 cases

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 11:32 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A rise in COVID-19 cases across the country continues to set record numbers including in Georgia.

Muscogee County is also seeing a surge in cases with more than 10,000 cases reported since the start of the pandemic.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Muscogee County’s test positivity rate of 18 percent is in the red, which is the highest level. This means the percentage of tests positive has been greater than 10% over the past 14 days.

In the last two weeks in Muscogee County, DPH reports 1,548 new COVID-19 cases with the number of new cases reported daily sometimes exceeding 100.

“It’s getting tough. It really is. We kind of knew this was coming. Scientists have been telling us this is a likelihood in the winter time and then when you couple that with the holidays and people are just tired of being apart, I think a lot of folks took a shot, took a chance, and we ended up with a pretty good surge,” said Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson.

“It just kind of boggles your mind that there could be that many cases in our community here,” said Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department.

Henderson said the Fountain City’s hospitalization rate is really high right now. He said it was about 145 to 150 during the peak in July and is now closer to 175 to 180.

“We’re doing better than most cities our size, but to us, we have our own standard and we’re trying to make sure that we’re capable and our hospitals by the way are doing a phenomenal job,” he explained.

Henderson said hospitals are doing a great job making sure that not only COVID-19 patients are treated efficiently and effectively, but also making sure people with other medical needs are being taken care of.

Kirkland said she thinks COVID-19 numbers in this current surge will end up surpassing numbers during previous spikes.

“I think this is much more than we saw in the summer. I’m sure this is from the holidays between Christmas and New Year’s and people traveling, and now we’re seeing some of the results of that,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland reminds people those same Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are still in play.

“I know people are getting tired of wearing masks and social distancing, but we just have to continue to do that until more people start to get vaccinated and we start to see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel,” said Kirkland.

Vaccine distribution is currently underway in Columbus for the first phase.

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