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Hospital Occupancy Rates Climb in Rural Georgia Counties Due to COVID-19

Map reflects bed occupancy numbers collected by the Department of Health and Human Services the week of August 13, 2021.
*7 day average of hospitalized patients (Total number of staffed inpatient beds in the hospital including all overflow, observation, and active surge/expansion beds used for inpatients, includes all ICU beds)
Blue – rural county with hospital, no data listed
Green – bed occupancy less than 75%
Yellow – 76%-100% bed occupancy
Red – over 100% bed occupancy 
White – rural county without hospital
Gray – non rural county


In the United States, an estimated 52.9% of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19; whereas, about 41.2% of the population is fully vaccinated in Georgia. As of mid-August 2021, 23 rural Georgia counties had over 100% of hospital beds filled. Most people who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated. In fact, a research study conducted by the CDC found that people who are unvaccinated are about 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to those who are fully vaccinated. Even with the more contagious Delta variant, people who are unvaccinated are about 5 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.

People who are unvaccinated are more at risk for contracting severe COVID-19, which is defined as COVID-19 with one of the following additional features: clinical signs at rest that are indicative of severe systemic illness; respiratory illness; respiratory failure; evidence of shock; significant acute renal, hepatic, or neurologic dysfunction; admission to an intensive care unit; or death. Thus, it is critical for people to be fully vaccinated to reduce their risk of contracting severe COVID-19.

Currently, the three vaccines authorized and recommended in the United States to prevent COVID-19 are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen.  A two-dose regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has conferred at least 95% protection against COVID-19 in persons 12 years of age or older, the two-dose Moderna vaccine has shown 94.1% efficacy at preventing COVID-19 illness and severe COVID-19 manifestations, and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine has been shown to protect against symptomatic COVID-19, asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, and severe COVID-19.


Article Submitted by Dahlia Al-Haleem, MSES, PhD Research Assistant



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