COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County has some work to do before it can reach “herd immunity” against COVID-19.
As of Friday morning, only 31,360 residents had been fully vaccinated, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, which equates to just 29% of Newton County’s population. Nearly 36,000 had received at least one dose (33%).
Reportedly 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve “herd immunity.” “Herd immunity” happens when a large part of the population — the herd — is immune to a virus.
Newton County’s numbers are below the state’s totals. Per the health department, more than 3.76 million (36%) Georgians have been fully vaccinated, while 4.35 million (42%) had received at least one dose.
The vaccine has been available to Georgians since December.
Chad Wasdin, who is communications director and public information officer for the Gwinnett, Newton & Rockdale County Health Departments, said the health departments were still working to get more residents vaccinated.
“We are first and foremost working to make the vaccine as widely available as possible, whether through our health centers, mass vaccination sites, or mobile teams set up around the community,” Wasdin said. “We are also partnering with the school systems to provide vaccine opportunities to families over the summer. Our health director, Dr. Arona speaks at as many events as she can to encourage vaccines.”
Wasdin said the health departments were also advertising and pushing the message that “vaccine services are available as a walk-in service, no appointment needed,” at any of the vaccine sites.
“Our campaign is called ‘Better Together,’” he said. “From birthdays and holidays to business meetings and game days, our life is better when we get to live it together. We’re hoping that aspirational message encourages as many individuals as possible to get vaccinated so we can safely get back to doing the things we love.”
Vaccines are currently being offered to anyone age 12 and older. To learn more about the vaccination process, or how and where to get a vaccine, visit gnrhealth.com or call the Georgia Department of Public Health Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line at 888-457-0186.
Active COVID-19 case count dwindling
There were 34 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Newton County within the last two weeks, as of Friday. The county’s cumulative total had climbed to 7,684 cases since the pandemic began more than one year ago with 235 confirmed deaths.
The state eclipsed 900,000 cumulative cases this week. The death toll stood at 18,368 with 64,525 hospitalizations. In the last two weeks, there had been 4,078 cases confirmed, equating to 38 per 100,000.