• 79°

OUR VIEW: COVID-19 numbers locally at lowest during pandemic

When looking at numbers, it’s always important to look at the whole picture, and that has always been true when discussing the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, over the last month, Troup County quietly hit another marker detailing just how challenging the pandemic has been overall in our community. We’ve now seen over 6,000 cases in our community, meaning roughly more than 8 percent of the population has had a known case of the virus. We’re also nearing 200 deaths (as of this writing we’re at 192, a number that hopefully will creep no higher.)

Those numbers are a reminder of where we’ve been, but thankfully it’s not indicative of how things are currently going.

In the last two weeks, Troup County has had a total of 20 new COVID-19 cases. Twenty. That averages out to barely over one a day, and it speaks to just how far we’ve come. That’s a number we’re not sure anyone thought we’d be seeing at this point.

The last time Troup County had an average of 1 new case a day was back in March 2020 at the very beginning stages of the pandemic.

The positivity rate in recent COVID-19 testing shows that only 3.5 percent of PCR tests in Troup County are currently coming back positive, another big step. Over the course of the pandemic, that number has averaged out to 13.5 percent, per the Georgia Department of Public Health.

All of this is great news. Maybe we are really on the verge of being able to put COVID-19 in our rearview mirror as a country, though we urge you to continue being cautious and to wear a mask if unvaccinated.

Let’s not declare victory too early or count the chickens before they hatch.

On the vaccine front — a topic that we realize has become extremely politicized and controversial — the news isn’t as good for Troup County. Only about a fifth of Troup County residents are fully vaccinated, and that number is barely increasing week after week. Georgia also has one of the lowest vaccine totals in the country, and experts say that makes our state susceptible to outbreaks.

We’ve written until we’re blue in the face that we hope you’ll consider the facts about the vaccine when making a decision, and we realize most people who are going to get vaccinated have already done so. We’re not sure a million dollar lottery (as Ohio is doing) would make any difference. Maybe Georgia should give away front row Georgia-Auburn football tickets, a bucket of Vidalia onions and some world-famous peaches.

Who knows.

Regardless of our vaccination rate, we’re glad to see our numbers so low. The progress we’ve seen locally is truly unbelievable.