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Georgia Department of Health South District: COVID cases increasing across region

Vaccination rates in region lower than state average
Georgia department of health
Posted at 10:46 AM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 10:55:50-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — COVID cases are on the rise as the nation battles the newest surge.

The omicron variant is spreading rapidly and that includes the 10 counties served by the Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District.

In three weeks the 7-day case increase for our 10 counties (Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift and Turner) has increased more than 20-fold. The 7-day case increase for December 16, 2021, was 116 for our 10 counties. The 7-day case increase as of January 6, 2022, is 2,381.

Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging and South Health District wants to encourage all eligible individuals who have not been vaccinated to do so.

“We know that vaccines help decrease your chance of serious illness and hospitalization,” said District Health Director Dr. William Grow, MD, FACP. “We are more than one year out from the release of the first COVID vaccines. For those who were hesitant, now is the time. Vaccination is our best tool to overcome this virus.”

Only 53 percent of Georgians are fully vaccinated, and that number is significantly lower in some of the counties SHD serves. Rates of those who are fully vaccinated by county as of Jan. 6 are:

  • Turner – 51% 
  • Brooks – 45% 
  • Tift – 41% 
  • Cook – 39% 
  • Ben Hill – 38%  
  • Irwin – 38% 
  • Lowndes – 37% 
  • Berrien – 32% 
  • Echols – 32% 
  • Lanier – 27% 

The South Health District urges individuals who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated.