MACON, Ga. — It's now been almost a year since Georgia first banned large gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and the phrase "flatten the curve" became part of many daily conversations.
Since then, Georgia's COVID-19 case curve has been anything but flat, but the state has seen a lot of improvement since the latest surge after the holidays.
From the peak in January to just before the state's two-week preliminary window at the end of February, Georgia's average daily case count dropped from almost 10,700 cases to just shy of 2,000. That is less than half of the numbers reported during the earlier peak in July at almost 4,700 new cases.
In two weeks, it will be one year since the state banned large gatherings, and at that time, Georgia averaged only 443 new cases a day. When the governor issued the shelter-in-place order, the state averaged 563 new cases. Right now, Georgia's latest numbers stand nearly four times higher.
While the state's steep decline in cases continues, some counties like Bibb and Houston are seeing a bit of a slowdown. Before the preliminary window, Bibb averaged 23 new cases a day, which is significantly lower than the peak in January at 153.
However, the curve starts to level off slightly as it enters the preliminary window.
It's the same in Houston County. After a steep drop from 196 cases down to 24, the curve starts to change toward the end of February.
Meanwhile, a few counties like Laurens and Peach are actually seeing an increase in cases within the preliminary window.
COVID-19-related deaths have now fallen below levels from early in the pandemic. Before the two-week preliminary window, 33 Georgians died a day from the virus compared to 27 when the state issued the shelter-in-place order.
Hospitalizations reached the lowest levels seen since the end of November. Right now, Georgia averages 108 new patients a day across the state, which is close to half of levels reported less than two weeks ago.
The last time daily hospitalizations dipped below 100 was the beginning of November.