MACON, Ga. — Georgia's tally of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 is climbing faster than the state's expanding testing capacity.
The number of new hospitalizations across the state is also rising. New virus-related deaths are moving the other direction.
Let's start where we always start: the statewide COVID-19 case curve. This graph depicts Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) data as of June 28 and shows the daily number of new confirmed cases of the virus.
The orange section represents the most recent two weeks of data. It's separated from the rest of the bars because the DPH warns it is incomplete. The data in that range is still being counted and the "preliminary" figures there are likely to increase until they move into the blue zone.
For example, on June 28, the graph suggested only 29 new cases were confirmed on that day across Georgia. In two weeks, as more data is collected and counted, that figure is likely to be much higher.
The seven-day moving average of new confirmed cases has been steadily rising since May 25 and by June 15, the last day before the orange zone, Georgia was averaging more than 1,000 new confirmed cases per day.
Michael Hokanson, the spokesperson for the North Central Health District, recently said the increase in confirmed cases is not solely the result of increases in testing capacity across the state.
"It's not the only factor in these new numbers," he said. "We know that with restrictions lifted, with people just getting tired of being cooped up, people are going to parties, they're going to celebrations."
Publicly available data from the DPH shows the rise in new cases has outpaced the increasing availability of tests.
From the week of June 14 (6/14-6/21) to the week of June 21 (6/21-6/28), the number of total tests conducted across Georgia rose about 40%.
Over that same time period, DPH data shows new confirmed cases increased more than 118%.
New virus-related hospitalizations have also been rising.
The 7-day moving average of new virus-related hospitalizations sits at about 120 new hospitalizations per day statewide, an increase from previous weeks.
However, it is still much lower than the nearly 200 deaths per day, on average, in early April.
Death trends tend to lag behind these other indicators, but for the moment new virus-related deaths are dropping.
According to DPH data, the number of statewide virus-related deaths has dropped from around 40 per day on average in mid-June to about 20 on June 28.
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