Southwest and central Gwinnett County continue to be areas of the county hardest hit by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, as nearly 500 new cases have been reported across the county in a 48-hour period this week, according to new figures released by the state on Tuesday.
Gwinnett is Georgia’s second most populous county, but has now had more cases than any other county in state. As of Tuesday afternoon, it has had a total of 6,636 cases and 163 deaths. That was an increase of 229 new cases in 24-hours over Monday’s number, which was itself an increase of 256 new cases over Sunday’s numbers.
“We are continuing to see an increase, overall, in the county for positive cases,” Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments spokesman Chad Wasdin said. “We’re continuing to make testing available to everyone and we’re continuing to push people to follow the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance as the state continues to open up.”
Gwinnett has been seeing an increase in the number of tests coming back positive for COVID-19, although the increases on some days have been smaller than on others.
But, the county has seen triple digit growth in its number for three consecutive days. In addition to having increases of more than 200 new cases in 24-hour period from Sunday to Monday, and Monday to Tuesday, there was also an increase of 108 new cases from Saturday to Sunday.
The incidence rate in Gwinnett is 683.2 cases for every 100,000 residents as of Tuesday. That is an increase from the incidence rate of 659.74 cases for every 100,000 residents as of Monday.
There were 886 hospitalizations reported as of Tuesday, up from 862 as of Monday, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The zip code with the highest incidence rate in Gwinnett County during the course of the pandemic is 30093, between Lilburn and Norcross on the east side of Interstate 85. It has had 725 reported cases and an incidence rate of 13.59 cases for every 1,000 residents.
The next two highest zip code incidence rates were in 30071 (11.99 cases per 1,000 residents, 276 reported cases) and 30044 (11.98 cases per 1,000 residents, 955 reported cases).
The 30071 zip code is the area around Norcross between Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and I-85, including the city of Norcross itself. The 30044 zip code is located between the southwest side of Lawrenceville, starting at Sugarloaf Parkway, and the city of Lilburn.
The 30046 zip code, which includes the city of Lawrenceville, has the fourth highest incidence rate in Gwinnett with 10.02 cases for every 1,000 residents and 608 total reported cases so far.
A common denominator between the four zip codes is that they are all in one of the more densely populated areas of Gwinnett.
“As we continue to do testing in these higher populated areas, like the Lliburn and Norcross area, we are seeing more cases, but that’s because there’s more people and because we’re doing more testing, so we expect to continue to see that,” Wasdin said.
“One of the encouraging things we’re seeing (however) is that yes, positivity is rising in our county, so we are seeing more cases of COVID-19, but we are seeing less of a hospitalization rate, so the hospitalization rate is decreasing, and we’re not seeing an increase in deaths.”
The hospitalization rate in Gwinnett when testing was opened to all residents in May was around 20%, Wasdin said. It is now down to about 13%, he added. The death rate has slowed down as well, with only eight deaths reported in the last week in Gwinnett.
Gwinnett surpassed Fulton County — Georgia’s most populous county — in total COVID-19 cases a little more than a week ago. Fulton, which has the second highest case total in the state, has had 5,885 cases so far — a 24-hour increase of 180 new cases since Monday — and an incidence rate of 535.4 cases for every 100,000 residents as of Tuesday afternoon.
There have been more deaths in Fulton, however, with the death toll in that county sitting at 302 deaths.
Statewide, 67,675 cases of COVID-19, and 2,687 deaths from it, have been reported so far. There have been 10,121 hospitalizations and 2,173 ICU admissions in the state as well.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 874,123 COVID-19 tests have been administered across Georgia so far, with the state’s positivity rate sitting at 8%.
After Gwinnett and Fulton counties, the remainder of the top five counties for COVID-19 cases are DeKalb (5,042 cases, 166 deaths), Cobb (4,134 cases, 234 deaths) and Hall (2,982 cases, 58 deaths).