ATLANTA — Passing a symbolic threshold as COVID recedes around the U.S., according to state figures Georgia's seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases fell below 500 on Friday for the first time since practically the outset of the pandemic.
With a reported seven-day average of 499.3 new cases as of May 21, Georgia is below 500 for the first time since April 1, 2020 according to Department of Health numbers.
At that stage in the pandemic, COVID was quickly gaining a hold in Georgia. The seven-day average on April 1, 2020 was 466 - it had only passed 100 little more than a week earlier, and spiked to 514 the next day.
Now a little more than a year later, we are seeing a rapid movement in the other direction. The state's moving average was still over 1,000 about a month ago and was almost exactly 900 on May 1. It was still over 600 less than a week ago.
Even compared to other states, Georgia is now solidly in the top half for the fewest new COVID cases. And while testing is down considerably, the state reports a 3.5% positivity rate for the last two weeks.
The state reports 797 hospitalizations for COVID, about as low as the state has seen since it began tracking them.
Public health officials and medical experts are still cautioning against declaring victory against COVID - seasonal factors could be playing a role in the current dramatic decline in numbers, with more people outside because of the warming weather.
Experts have generally credited the country's vaccination progress for turning the tide against COVID, though Georgia has consistently lagged behind the rest of the country. The state still has fewer than 40% of residents with at least one vaccine dose, about 31% fully vaccinated. Both figures place Georgia in the bottom-10 among states.