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Newton has fourth-highest COVID rate per 100K among all Georgia counties
COVID test

COVID-19 in Newton County (through Dec. 24):

  • 788 cases last two weeks
  • 701 per 100,000 last two weeks
  • 12,361 total cases
  • 381 deaths
  • 1,421 hospitalizations
  • 46,485 fully vaccinated (43%)
  • 13,193 additional dose (28%)

Source: Ga. Dept. of Public Health

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information :

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County reported the fourth highest COVID-19 case rate among the state’s 159 counties Wednesday, Dec. 23, as the COVID-19 Omicron variant’s rapid spread spiked cases just before the holidays.

State health records showed Newton recorded 465 cases per 100,000 population in the two-week period since Dec. 8, which was more than triple the number (125) reported in the previous two-week period Nov. 24 to Dec. 8.

The number placed Newton behind only Chattahoochee, Fulton and Rockdale counties in the case rate within each county’s total populations in the past two weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s latest report Wednesday. 

Newton’s rate also was well above the statewide average of 276 per 100,000 population for the same time period. It also was higher than more densely populated counties such as DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb and Forsyth.

Chattahoochee County is home to the Fort Benning Army base and historically has shown a higher rate throughout much of the pandemic than the rest of Georgia’s counties. It reported 716 cases per 100,000.

Fulton County had 504 cases and Rockdale 492, both per 100,000.

The number showed cases per 100,000 residents in the county during the previous two weeks using latest population counts, the Department of Public Health reported.

The latest Georgia Department of Public Health report also showed:

• Newton County reported a daily count of 17 COVID-19 cases Dec. 3. The daily count doubled to 37 on Dec. 16 and doubled again to 75 on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

• Those living in the 30055 zip code in eastern Newton County had the highest rate of incidence of the disease.

• The seven-county region of Georgia that includes Newton had 82% of its hospitals’ ICU beds in use (1,002) out of a total of 1,220, or 82%; and 90% of all in-patient hospital beds (4,732) out of 5,248 in the region.

Dr. Norris Little, chief medical officer for Piedmont Newton Hospital, stressed the importance of getting vaccinated against the disease.

“While the vaccines can’t entirely prevent people from contracting COVID-19, they do an excellent job of preventing hospitalization and death,” he wrote in an op-ed distributed to the county’s media outlets. 

He said preventing hospitalization for COVID-19 was “vitally important.”

“According to early reports, the Omicron variant may not cause as severe illness in many, however, it will cause severe illness (including death) in some, especially the unvaccinated. 

“It also appears to be the most contagious of all of the variants,” Little said. “That means that the number of people expected to be hospitalized could put enormous pressure on our hospital, and the nation’s healthcare system, both of which are already stressed. 

“We need to keep hospitals beds open and staff available for non-COVID urgent and emergent medical needs, as well as some much-needed elective procedures,” he wrote.