SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A 7-year-old boy with COVID-19 has become the youngest known person to die in Georgia since the coronavirus pandemic began, state health officials reported.
The boy had no other chronic health conditions, according to data released by the state. The case is from Chatham County, which includes Savannah, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported. The child is Black, but state data lists no other details about him or the death.
The boy’s death comes amid nationwide debate about the risks that children face in getting infected or spreading the coronavirus, particularly as the school year begins. There is no indication in the health department’s reports about where or when the child contracted the virus.
Before the boy’s death, Georgia’s youngest death was that of a 17-year-old African American in Fulton County who had undisclosed health issues in addition to COVID-19. More than 30 people in their 20s also have died, state data shows.
The trend in recently reported deaths in Georgia hit a new record on Friday, with an average of 52 deaths a day reported over the last week, as the state’s total death toll rose to at least 4,117 since the start of the outbreak. Deaths, though, tend to come at the end of a long illness, and other indicators show the big spike in COVID-19 cases that began in June across the state has plateaued or is easing.
The number of people hospitalized in Georgia with confirmed COVID-19 cases dropped under 3,000 on Friday for the first time since July 18.
The state continues to average more than 3,000 confirmed cases a day, as total cases confirmed rose above 209,000 on Friday. But the total of new daily cases has been going down, on average, for more than a week, opening the possibility of fewer hospitalizations and fewer deaths.
A “mega-testing site” is opening near Atlanta, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday.
The site in College Park, near Atlanta’s airport, has the capacity to test 5,000 people a day. Free testing will be available to all Georgians regardless of symptoms. Appointments and online registrations are recommended, officials said. People can register online and make an appointment at https://www.doineedacovid19test.com/
Experts say many people with the disease are never tested, and most people recover.
In Savannah, a large testing site at the Savannah Civic Center will close Tuesday for the Georgia primary election, the state’s Coastal Health District announced. The civic center is a polling place, so no COVID-19 tests will be done during the election, officials said. Testing will resume Wednesday, they said.