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Local cases top 700 as positive test rate increases

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While new cases of COVID-19 are on the decline in some counties in the North Central Health District, many rural counties – including Jones – are seeing an increase.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 701 Monday, and the current two-week period saw a 31 percent increases in new cases over the previous two-week period. That indicates community spread has increased as only 3 percent of cases are linked to a congregate setting, like long-term care facilities.

The new cases over the past two weeks are split fairly evenly among adult age groups. The increases are:

• Ages 5-9: 3 percent

• Ages 10-17: 12 percent

• Ages 18-24: 15 percent

• Ages 25-34: 15 percent

• Ages 35-49: 21 percent

• Ages 50-64: 13 percent

• Ages 65-79: 15 percent

• Ages 80 and older: 5 percent

Despite the increase, the number of hospitalizations and deaths have remained the same. Only one new case has been reported in the Jones County School System over the past week. That infection was reported at Wells Elementary on the school district’s website.

Jones County is not alone in seeing increases in the health district. Hancock cases have increased 11 percent; Jasper County, 29 percent; Monroe County, 74 percent; Peach County, 16 percent; Putnam County, 11 percent; Twiggs County, 60 percent; and most notably, Washington County at 117 percent.

Unlike Jones County, a majority of new cases are due to a congregate setting outbreak. The coronavirus is striking mostly older residents there as 24 percent of new cases are among those 80 and over while 23 percent are among those ages 65-79.

Out of the 13-county health district, 631 people have died of the 20,547 confirmed cases, reaching a rate of 3.07 percent. The median age for those who have died is 74, ranging from 24 to 100 years old.