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Local health officials discuss increase in COVID-19 cases in past two weeks

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 2:32 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The nation’s top health officials continue to warn Americans about COVID cases in all 50 states - including in Georgia and Alabama, while more than 80 percent of new cases in America are the new dangerous Delta variant.

Local health officials say the variant accounts for about 12-percent of overall COVID cases in Georgia. While in Alabama, health officials say delta cases have more than doubled since last week.

“I feel that we’re going to have a outbreak.”

“People wear masks to feel safe, but I don’t think most of them are helpful.”

As COVID cases rise across the country with the CDC linking many of those cases to the highly contagious Delta variant - local COVID numbers are also trending up.

Jack Lockwood with the Columbus Health Department says the Fountain City has seen about a five-percent increase in COVID tests coming back positive in the past two weeks.

According to the state - 10-percent of COVID tests in Muscogee County have been positive in the past 14 days - which is almost double the state’s rate of 5.2-percent in the past two weeks. The states report shows 5.2-percent of COVID tests in the Peach State have been positive in the past 14 days - which is a little more than 9,300 cases. Compare that to one month ago on June 20 with 1.6-percent of positive COVID tests in Georgia in the past two weeks - or 3,941 cases.

This increase comes just several weeks before the start of the new school year.

“We often say for like when you’re getting the flu vaccine, we know that we head into the holidays and lots of people will come together so it’s kind of the same principle,” said Jack Lockwood, Columbus Health Department Risk Coordinator. “We know that school is going to be starting soon so, it’s important to go ahead and get vaccinated now to prepare for the school season.”

In Columbus, Lockwood says 35-percent of people have gotten at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 31-percent are fully vaccinated. That’s lower than the state’s average of 40-percent of Georgians fully vaccinated.

As far as tracking the Delta variant - local health officials tell me this is something tracked at a state level and not broken down by county.

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