As more data comes in from the Georgia Department of Public Health about the spread of coronavirus in Georgia, it paints a sobering picture of how COVID-19 is impacting Dougherty County, which is a hotspot for the virus.
Background: If you don’t live in South Georgia, you may not be familiar with Dougherty County, however, you are no doubt familiar with Albany, the county seat of Dougherty County. Two highly attended funerals in Albany were the catalysts for the outbreak in Dougherty County. The virus unknowingly spread from person to person at these two events and has now spread to over 1,300 people countywide and has overwhelmed the resources Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.
Severity: Calling Dougherty County a hotspot isn’t just a turn of phrase or a designation that only applies within the state of Georgia. The situation in Albany is comparable to other global hotspots. When we look at the number of COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people, the results are startling. In Dougherty County there are 1,400 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. In New York City there are 1,308 infections per 100,000 people, according to the New York Times.
While Dougherty County has had nowhere near the number of cases or the number of deaths as New York City, the spread of the virus throughout the county is dangerously high. For comparison — Fulton County which is Georgia’s largest county and houses within its borders the city of Atlanta — has a case rate of just 169 per 100,000 people. Fulton County has also had fewer deaths than Dougherty County.
The Numbers: So what do the numbers look like in Dougherty County? As of noon April 15, there were 1,308 confirmed cases in Dougherty County and 83 people had died. Dougherty leads Georgia in number of deaths from coronavirus. Fulton County has 1,844 cases, which is more than Dougherty, but it has 62 deaths. The next highest number of deaths is in Cobb County, which has 43 deaths.
Statewide, Georgia has 14,987 confirmed cases and 552 deaths.
Deaths in Dougherty: Behind the numbers of COVID-19 deaths are people who have died from the disease. We don’t know their names or situations because of privacy laws, but we know their ages, genders and whether or not they had known underlying conditions.
We know that the youngest person in Dougherty County to die from COVID-19 was a 34-year-old man with underlying conditions and we know that the oldest person to die in Dougherty was a 98-year-old woman with no known underlying conditions. We know that of the 83 people in Dougherty County who have died from the virus, all but 25 were age 65 or older.
Below is the information provided by the Georgia Department of Public Health about the people in Dougherty who have died from the virus.