By Alexis Stevens – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
J. Scott Trubey – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Many Georgians have done their part to help fight the coronavirus, Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday. But with the flu season approaching, it’s not the time to back off safety measures to help fight the virus, he said.
“Georgians have stepped up to the plate,” Kemp said. “The key is for us to keep doing this. We cannot take our foot off the gas.”
The number of covid cases and hospitalizations have dropped statewide since the peak earlier this summer, Kemp said.
Since mid-July, Georgia has reported declining cases in 10 out of the past 11 weeks, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of state data shows.
The current seven-day rolling average of new cases of 1,192 is down about two-thirds from the July peak, an AJC analysis of state data found. Hospitalizations also are down from the peak by about 60%.
But while Georgia has improved in both metrics since the peak, Georgia’s seven-day rolling average of new cases remains about double what it was at the low point at the end of May. The rolling average of people currently hospitalized is about 60% higher than in early June.
The rate of new coronavirus deaths reported last week also remains higher than the national average, according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Health officials are concerned about the ongoing pandemic combined with the approaching flu season, according to Dr. Kathleen Toomey with the state Department of Public Health.
“Never has it been more important to get a flu shot,” she said. “We’re trying to prevent twin-demics of COVID plus influenza.”
Kemp and Toomey advised continued social distancing and masks, washing hands and following guidance from public health leaders.