MONROE, Ga. — Most local ICU beds are again being used as the nation again sees a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The Athens area had nearly 96% of its intensive care beds in use Thursday, according to figures from the state.
As of Friday afternoon, Georgia had more than 382,000 cases since the start of the pandemic. There had been 8,418 deaths and 33,000 people hospitalized.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Friday to extend COVID-19 restrictions through the end of the month.
"As COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations rise across the country, Dr. (Kathleen) Toomey (the state's public health director) and I are asking Georgians to remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19," Kemp said in a statement Friday afternoon.
"The state has deployed over 300,000 rapid tests to communities across our state, stockpiled a 60-day supply of PPE (personal protective equipment), and worked with hospitals and nursing homes to provide the medical staff needed to treat COVID-19 patients. While we are prepared for any scenario, it is vital that Georgians do not grow complacent.
"Continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance, follow public health guidance, and get a flu shot. By taking these simple steps, we will protect lives — and livelihoods."
The count of cases jumped by more than 2,500 from Wednesday to Thursday, and again by nearly 2,400 from Thursday to Friday.
Walton County has had 155 new cases in a two-week span, to 2,527 total.
There had been 74 deaths as of Friday.
The Walton County School District reported 10 new cases across the district’s nearly 16,000 students and staff in the past week with 69 people in preventive quarantine.
Social Circle had no new cases to report in its school system.