May 16 COVID-19 map.jpg

This map shows the spread of COVID-19 cases across Georgia as of 7 p.m. Saturday.

Testing for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus surpassed the 11,000 tests mark this past week in the three-county health district that includes Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties.

Georgia officials celebrated the news on Friday that the state as a whole had surpassed 300,000 tests. Closer to home, officials with the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Boards of Health had administered 11,386 COVID-19 tests as of Thursday night, health district spokesman Chad Wasdin told the Daily Post Friday night.

In just the span of a week, the district has seen the percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 continue to drop as testing increased. As of May 8, it was about 10%. By Friday night, it had dropped more than a percentage point.

“The positivity rate we’re currently seeing is around 8.5% for our entire district (and) we are still seeing a demand for testing,” Wasdin said.

The amount of tests for the disease that are being administered daily in the three-county health district is about to jump as officials from the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Boards of Health prepare to open a new testing site in Lilburn. This will be the health district’s second testing site in Gwinnett County, joining the existing site that is operating the Gwinnett County health department’s office in Lawrenceville.

Another testing site for the health district is operating in Covington.

Wasdin said the new site in Lilburn is set to open in the middle of this week, and residents can begin calling the testing hotline at the beginning of the week to make appointments for a test.

The hotline number is 770-513-5631. Anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19 can get be tested, but they must make an appointment in advance to do so.

Meanwhile, Gwinnett has, to date, seen a total of 2,597 cases of COVID-19, the third highest total in the state, as of 7 p.m. Saturday. The county has also had 102 deaths from the disease and 509 hospitalizations, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The county has had an incidence rate of 267.42 COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 Gwinnett residents.

Statewide, there has been a total of 37,212 cases of COVID-19, 1,598 deaths, 6,767 hospitalizations and 1,556 ICU admissions.

There have been 321,069 tests conducted in Georgia.

The state has not released data on the number of people who got COVID-19 but later recovered from the disease.

Gwinnett, which is Georgia’s second most populous county, has also had one of the highest death tolls among the state’s 159 counties, behind only Fulton (165 deaths), Dougherty (134) and Cobb (132). DeKalb County has had the fifth highest death toll among all Georgia Counties (81 deaths in DeKalb), followed by Hall County (40 deaths).

“Even though Gwinnett is third in the state for the number of cases, Gwinnett is fourth for number of deaths,” Wasdin said. “That said, we’re saddened at any death. Our district’s median age for deaths is 78 years old, consistent with the state overall. This is why we’re focused on protecting those at greatest risk, which include the elderly and those who live in congregate living facilities.

“The Department of Public Health is encouraging all nursing homes have all their staff and residents tested, if they haven’t already been, and we are coordinating with these facilities to accomplish this.”

As far as total cases go, Fulton County continues to lead all Georgia counties with 3,749 cases. It is followed by DeKalb County (2,800 cases), Gwinnett, Cobb County (2,407 cases) and Hall County (2,146).

Dougherty has had 1,662 cases, the sixth highest total number of cases among all counties in the state. There are now more cases where the patient’s county of residence was unknown (1,787 cases) than there have been in Dougherty County.

“We can all protect the most vulnerable and ourselves by following infection prevention measures, like washing hands constantly, wearing a mask, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and continuing to socially distance when possible,” Wasdin said.

“The Health Department has free COVID-19 testing for anyone who wants to be tested. More information about scheduling an appointment is available online at www.gnrhealth.com/covid-19-info.”

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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