COVID Cases In Georgia Kids Rise 60% Since Last Week

by Erica Gerald Mason

Since last week, the number of children in Georgia infected with COVID-19 rose by nearly 60%

As protests against mask and vaccination mandates in schools stay in the limelight, cases of COVID-19 in school-age children have risen nearly 60% in just one week, according to new data from the Georgia Department of Health. The new figures mean the state saw nearly 8,000 new cases of COVID-19 among children ages 17 and under during the week of August 13. The number is up from 5,095 cases from the prior week.

The report is part of a new method of data collection. “I do not think @GaDPH, when they removed weekend COVID reporting, anticipated having a Monday when they’re going to get asked about reporting 30,000 new positive tests,” tweeted Rebecca Mitchell, who is running for office in Georgia’s district 106. “It’s likely going to be *this* Monday. #gapol.”

Of the cases reported this week, 6,539 were among kids ages 5 – 17 years old and 1,187 cases were reported among children 0 – 4 years old, WSB-TV Atlanta reports. That’s an increase of 59.2% in kids ages 5 – 17 and 20.3% in kids ages 0 – 4. On August 18, children 17 and under accounted for 13.6% of all emergency room visits, the station reported. A total of 1,314 children ages 17 and younger have been admitted to Georgia hospitals since the start of the pandemic.

The rise comes as the Delta variant ravages the unvaccinated population and hospital reach capacity.

WSB-TV also reported a 29-year-old correctional officer who died of COVID. Nick Boutwell, of Perry, Georgia, died after battling the virus for over a month. His 1-year-old daughter, Rylee, was hospitalized with COVID but recovered.

Boutwell was hospitalized in Macon and then airlifted to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, where he was placed on an ECMO machine, which effectively acts as an artificial heart and lungs.

Boutwell’s wife, Lacy Boutwell, was open about the fact that she and her husband were not vaccinated. “Yes, Nick and I did not get the shot,” WSB-TV reported. “As many other people in our lives, we believed everything that was being said.”

Boutwell went on to say that she has changed her mind about the shot and will get one for her daughter.

“She cannot lose another parent because of this terrible disease,” Boutwell said.

Georgia Senator Ralph Warnock took to Twitter to ask everyone to get the COVID vaccination.

“I’m praying for our health care workers who are on the frontlines fighting the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across Georgia,” Warnock’s post reads.

“We owe it to them to do our part by getting vaccinated and wearing masks so we can finally get this virus under control.”