State Hits Daily Record on Virus Deaths; Kemp Voices Frustration on Vaccines

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Georgia reported 145 COVID-related deaths Tuesday, the state’s highest single-day total recorded since the pandemic began.

More than 9,000 new infections were also reported Tuesday, along with 435 new hospitalizations. The overall number of COVID hospitalizations currently has hit 5,700, continuing its steady, record-breaking climb.

These grim statistics coincide with frustrating waits for Georgia seniors and others who need COVID vaccinations. Georgia had the worst vaccination rate in the nation as of Monday, according to CDC data, though state officials pushed back against the federal agency’s figures.

The CDC statistics Tuesday showed that Georgia’s rate had improved to 1,607 doses administered per 100,000, up from 1,346 on Monday. The state rate is now better than those of Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama.

Numerous Public Health departments this week have experienced a flood of calls and emails asking for appointments to get shots. Medical providers, too, are feeling the tremendous demand.

Kemp, in a Tuesday news conference, said the state has made “great progress’’ on vaccinations, but noted that the supply of vaccine is limited. 

The governor sharply warned large medical providers not to hold back second doses of vaccine. Both COVID vaccines being used in this country — one made by Pfizer and the other by Moderna — require two doses.

“We expect [providers] to be administering those doses quickly and as safely as possible,’’ he said. If that does not happen, Kemp said, the state will take possession of those vials. “If it takes me firing up my pickup truck and doing it myself, so be it.”