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All Georgians 16 and older eligible for vaccine on March 25

Schedule your vaccination at the Seminole County Health Department by calling 229-352-6567 or by visiting myvaccinegeorgia.com

The long Winter of COVID-19 looks to be coming to an end in Georgia. All Georgians age 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting today, Thursday, March 25, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday.

 The long-awaited expansion comes as Georgia is set to receive another boost in the weekly shipment of vaccines, largely due to the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine that increased the state’s allotment this week to 450,000 doses, according to the Governor.

Speaking at a news conference, Kemp said Georgia expects to gain another bump in vaccine doses next week from the federal government – though he was not sure yet how much more the state will receive.

 “This is our ticket back to normal,” Kemp said. “We’re getting closer to that point every single day.”

 So far, Georgia has distributed roughly 3.2 million vaccine doses to groups that have gradually become eligible since mid-December, including all residents ages 55 and older, health-care workers, nursing home residents and staff, first responders, judges, courtroom staff and people with physical, mental or behavioral health conditions.

The vaccine rollout has seen nearly 75% of the state’s residents ages 65 and older receive at least their first dose, setting Georgia on a path to having its most vulnerable population inoculated in the coming weeks.

Still, state officials continue to see “vaccine hesitancy” in rural areas, particularly parts of Georgia south of the Columbus-Macon-Augusta line.

In a show of confidence, Kemp said he is scheduled to get his first vaccine dose on Friday and has been talking with former University of Georgia football star Champ
Bailey to spread awareness in Georgia about the efficacy – and importance – of receiving the vaccine.

“I just want to encourage everybody to get the vaccine,” Kemp said. “We’re seeing this across the country, but especially in the South, we’re seeing vaccine hesitancy.”

“There should not be hesitancy. This is a medical miracle.”

Amid hesitancy in rural Georgia, Kemp said Tuesday officials this week sent 70% of the state’s weekly vaccine doses to sites in metro
Atlanta, where demand has been consistently higher.

The Governor said many providers in the Atlanta area currently have appointments available for the shots, including a mass site downtown run by the federal government at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“If you’re in the metro where demand continues to be high, we’ve got great options,” Kemp said.

Georgians can pre-register for a vaccine appointment at myvaccinegeorgia.com even if they do not yet qualify under the Governor’s eligibility criteria. They will be notified once they qualify and scheduled for an appointment.

State officials have opened nine mass vaccination sites in Atlanta, Macon, Albany, Savannah, Columbus, Waycross and Bartow, Washington and Habersham counties.

Nearly 845,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Georgia as of Tuesday afternoon, with more than 203,000 more reported positive antigen tests indicating likely positive results. 

Seminole County 

numbers

As of Wednesday morning, March 24, the Georgia Department of Health’s Vaccine Dashboard reported that the Seminole County Health Department has now administered 2,476 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Seminole County residents – administering dose one to 1,423 residents and dose two to 1,023. 

For the past two and a half weeks,  there has been little or no increase in new positive COVID-19 cases being reported in Seminole County. As of presstime on Wednesday, March 24 only five new cases have been reported locally by the Georgia Department of Public Health in the past eight days. So far in the month of March, 2021, only eight new cases have been reported in Seminole County.

Since the pandemic began last March, Seminole County has been recorded with 722 positive cases, seventeen of which, sadly, have resulted in Coronavirus related deaths. 

As of Wednesday, March 24, since March of 2020, there have been 844,720 cases of COVID-19 statewide – and 16,187 deaths reported to state health officials. Since this time last week, 7,277 new cases have been reported and the state’s COVID-19 related death total increased 259.

Those numbers are based on positive results from a Molecular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and represent confirmed cases only. Only molecular test results, reported through multiple sources, are used by the Georgia Department of Health in identifying confirmed cases. 

Molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and antigen tests are used to diagnose COVID-19, meaning that they look to see if someone is currently infected with COVID-19. Each test looks for something different to determine if someone is infected. A molecular (PCR) test looks for the virus’s genetic material. An antigen test is a rapid test that looks for specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Where the test is processed may also differ. Molecular (PCR) tests are processed in a laboratory. Antigen tests are often processed at the point of care, such as in a health care provider’s office.

The nose swab PCR test for COVID-19 is the most accurate and reliable test.

If you add in the local positive antigen test number of 192, and one probable death, Seminole County’s positive case numbers increase to 914 positive cases and 18 deaths since March of 2020.

Local medical experts continue to implore everyone to keep doing their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask in public, washing hands, staying socially distanced, staying home if you are symptomatic, and taking the vaccine when it  is available.

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