Grim Milestone: More than 20,000 Georgians have now died of COVID-19

ATLANTA — Georgia has now lost over 20,000 people to COVID-19 as cases continue to surge across the state, primarily among the unvaccinated.

The Georgia Department of Health reported Friday that 20,041 have died of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

That includes 106 additional deaths reported Friday. The state also reported 9,119 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, the third-highest total of new cases in a 24-hour period since the pandemic began.

“It is tragic but not surprising that we have surpassed this grim milestone of 20,000 COVID deaths in our state,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner. “97% of COVID deaths since we’ve had a vaccine are in unvaccinated individuals. These deaths are preventable.”

This week, Georgia is seeing more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than have been at any other point during the pandemic. Over 6,000 patients are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus. The previous record of hospitalizations during the winter peak was 5,700. COVID-19 patients make up nearly 34% of people hospitalized in Georgia.

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Over 95% of ICU beds across the state were occupied Friday, with every single region in Georgia nearing or over capacity in the ICU.

The Wellstar Health System, which runs 12 hospitals in metro Atlanta, reported Friday that of the 737 COVID-19 patients they were treating, 92% were unvaccinated.


At least 94% of patients in the ICU were unvaccinated, and 95% of patients on ventilators were unvaccinated.

Northeast Georgia Health System reported having 312 COVID-19 patients in their care Friday, with unvaccinated patients accounting for 95% of the patients in critical care. At Northeast Georgia Medical Center, hospitals brought in field hospitals this week and warned patients that they may not get a traditional hospital bed or be put in a room.

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All Georgians ages 12 and up are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“COVID vaccines are safe and effective at protecting against COVID-19 infections. COVID vaccines also help prevent severe illness and death if an individual does get sick,” Toomey said. “The vaccines also reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.”