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Newton County records first death from COVID-19
The novel strain of coronavirus causes early symptoms of cough, fever and shortness of breath.

COVINGTON, Ga — The state of Georgia now has 184 deaths from COVID-19 including one from Newton County.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported Friday at noon that a 61-year-old man from Newton County with underlying health conditions had fallen victim to the novel coronavirus.

Out of the 184 deaths in Georgia, just four were confirmed to not have underlying health conditions, all of which were over the age of 50. It is still unknown if 58 of the deaths due to COVID-19 in Georgia had underlying heath conditions. One of those 58 includes the youngest person in the state to die from the virus: A 29-year old female from Peach County.

As of DPH’s noon Friday update, Georgia has 5,831 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Out of those 5,831 cases, 1,158 are hospitalized. Newton County has 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 25 cases since last week.

Much of the increase can be contributed to an increase in testing. Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday a large surge in the ability to test for COVID-19 in Georgia thanks to a partnership with two state universities.

Kemp said there will be an increase in the availability of polymerase chain reaction testing, featuring pooled resources of the University System of Georgia, Georgia Public Health Laboratory and Emory University.

“Adequate testing for COVID-19 has continued to be a top priority for the Coronavirus Task Force as we fight this pandemic,” Kemp said. “With this innovative partnership between state government agencies, our world-class research institutions and private-sector partners, we will be able to dramatically increase testing capacity.”

The partnership allows Georgia’s universities to transfer equipment needed for COVID-19 testing from their research labs to accredited clinical labs at Georgia State University, Augusta University, Emory University and the Georgia Public Health Laboratory.

The state has now reported to have conducted 16,181 tests with the majority of those being done at commercial labs. The Georgia Department of Public Health’s lab has tested just 1921 cases with 326 returning positive while the other 3,791 positive tests have come from the 14,260 tests completed by commercial labs.

COVID-19 seems to be affecting males and females evenly in Georgia, with females accounting for 52% of cases in the state. The virus is also affecting those in the 18-59 age group the most at 59% of confirmed cases. Meanwhile 36% of confirmed cases involve those over the age of 60.

Nearly every county in the state now has at least one confirmed case. Taliaferro, Hancock, Glascock, Crawford, Marion, Quitman, Treutlan, Montgomery, Telfair, Jeff Davis, Evans, Wayne, Brantley, Treutlen, Montgomery, Evans, Jeff Davis, Wayne, Brantley, Atkinson and Echols counties are the only counties out of 159 in the state to not register confirmed cases.