Ga. governor expands vaccine criteria for people 55+ and with high-risk health conditions

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 12:16 PM CST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - According to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, COVID-19 numbers are heading in the right direction in the state.

Vaccine efforts will begin to ramp up as Phase 1A is set to expand to people 55 and older and people 16 and older with high-risk health conditions. COVID-19 numbers such as confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are trending downward.

People, not the government, would stop this virus. Today, that number is 1,523 patients, around 10 percent of our census. Our seven-day average of new cases is the lowest since early November and our percent positive test is at it’s lowest level since October,” said Kemp.

According to Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, the numbers are also improving in Muscogee County.

They’ve sort of plateaued, but they’re still improving, just at a little slower rate. And I think that you can attribute to the fact that the weather’s warmer, people are wanting to get outside and socialize, said Henderson.

Starting next week, more people will be eligible for the COVID-19 shot.

“On March 15th, we will be expanding vaccine criteria further to include all Georgians over the age of 55, and those with high-risk conditions defined by the CDC,” said Kemp.

Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency officials say a mass vaccination site will open March 17 at the Columbus Civic Center and operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The goal is to administer 1,100 shots a day. The time frame isn’t quite clear when next phase group of the vaccine distribution plan will go into effect, but city and state officials are hopeful. According to Henderson, with the addition of the vaccination site at the Civic Center, hopefully Columbus could see people in Phase 1B get vaccinated. There are currently 19,000 people registered for phase 1A in Muscogee County.

“We’re just excited about it. GEMA’s operating that big mass vaccination site and at the same time, we’re continuing to partner with DPH for pop-up sites so that we can make sure that we get out into the community,” said Henderson. “We’ve given about 28,000 shots throughout Columbus right now, so all of those are in tier 1A”

Georgians can begin registering for the COVID-19 vaccine through GEMA here.

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