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Daily update: Newton County at 12 COVID-19 cases as Georgia eclipses 1,600
According to the latest report from the Georgia Department of Public Health, the state now has 1,525 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 48 deaths as of noon Thursday, March 26.

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County is now up to 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state announced Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Public Health released its latest status update at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 26, announcing that the state has climbed to 1,643 confirmed cases of the novel virus and 56 deaths. This was a jump from 1,525 cases and 48 deaths at in DPH's report at noon Thursday.

There has been a notable uptick in the numbers in recent days. DPH reported that Georgia had 1,026 confirmed cases and 32 deaths at noon Tuesday, followed by 1,247 cases and 40 deaths at noon Wednesday.

State officials said the large increase of cases over the past three days is in part a reflection of an improvement in electronic reporting efficiency from commercial laboratories, which often have sparse patient data.

DPH is working to complete the records.

Out of 8,948 total tests conducted throughout the state, 1,646 were done at the DPH lap with 253 testing positive. At commercial labs, 7,302 tests have resulted in 1,390 positive cases.

The state said 57% of confirmed cases involved patients ages 18-59, while 35% are 60 years of age or older. Patients 17 and younger currently comprise 1% of the confirmed cases, while there remains 7% unknown.

DPH has also started to keep track of the number of hospitalizations due to the virus. As of 12 p.m. Thursday, 473 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Gwinnett continues to have the most confirmed cases of the surrounding counties with 79. Henry is at 29 confirmed cases, followed by Rockdale with 13, Butts with three, Jasper with two and Morgan with one. 

Walton previously had one reported positive diagnosis but it has since been corrected to show none.

Fulton County, the location of the first confirmed case in Georgia, continues to have the most confirmed cases with 231. Dougherty (164), Dekalb (137) and Cobb (119) are all over 100 confirmed cases as well. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, 178 cases in Georgia are still unknown.

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Newton County Board of Commissioners and Covington City Council passed joint resolutions Wednesday evening issuing a shelter at home ordinance for their residents. That ordinance went into effect at 12 a.m. Thursday and will run through 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.