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New COVID-19 cases up 62% in Georgia since last week, health officials say

ATLANTA — Georgia has seen a 62% increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, officials with the Georgia Department of Health said Wednesday.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

For the week of Dec. 1 to Dec. 7, the seven-day moving average for new cases was 3,949.9. That number is 2.6% higher than the previous peak on July 24.

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The positivity rate increased by 30% from 9.2% on Nov. 30 to 12% on Dec. 7.

Hospitalizations increased 13% this week, but decreased 22% from the daily high on July 30.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 3,783 new cases and 46 new deaths on Wednesday.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force report was also released Wednesday.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot learned from the report that Georgia is doing better than most states, but that doesn’t mean much.

The report says the increase in positive cases indicates “ongoing, aggressive community spread” of the virus.

It’s recommended that anyone over 65 stay at home, and those under 40 who attended a Thanksgiving gathering to assume they have the virus.

Ninety-six counties in Georgia are currently in the “red zone” including Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Clayton and Forsyth.

Elliot talked to Dr. John Delzell, the incident commander at Northeast Georgia Health Systems. He said the Gainesville hospital is at near capacity, even with special mobile COVID-19 units, and said have been full for weeks.

Back in May, the virus hit Hall County’s Hispanic-Latino population hard, prompting a series of mass testing events.

This time, Delzell said the surge is coming across all demographics, fueled not by large superspreader events, but small family gatherings.

Over 9,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Georgia. Over 450,000 cases have been reported since the pandemic began in March.

Delzell said their predictions show the peak coming sometime in January. He said the hospital is looking at the possibility of putting less serious COVID-19 patients in their gym to make room for the more serious ones.

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