Another record-setting week of new cases of COVID-19 here

For the second time this month, Grady County has seen a record increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in a week. The number of Grady County residents with the disease is now 314, according to information from the Grady County Health Department. That’s an increase of 52 new cases since last Tuesday, July 14. The first record jump happened the first week of July when it was determined there were 45 additional cases in a seven day period. For the last two months, though, the number of deaths has remained unchanged.
The number of local residents hospitalized from the disease has risen by 10 in the last week, according to information from the Georgia Department of Public Health, for a total of 50 hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
Grady General Hospital is treating four COVID-positive patients as of Tuesday, according to information from Archbold Medical Center. Archbold Memorial Hospital has 27 patients, Mitchell County Hospital has two, and Brooks County Hospital has one.
Thomas County also saw a big jump in cases, an extra 105 cases in the last week and one more death for a total of 714 cases since the pandemic began and 34 deaths. The county also had 11 new hospitalizations in the last week, according to state public health information.
Decatur County had an additional 74 positive cases, and Colquitt County had 83 more cases since last Tuesday.
Statewide, the number of positive cases increased in the last week by 25,025 to 148,988, and the number of Georgians dying from the disease increased by 200 to a total of 3,254.
The two Florida counties on Grady County’s southern border, Leon and Gadsden counties, saw big jumps in cases in the last week. Leon had an additional 737 cases and Gadsden had 287. Leon County also had one more death from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and Gadsden had four.
The state of Georgia is stepping up its coronavirus testing capacity with a new partnership.
The state is working with Raleigh, N.C.-based Mako Medical to provide enough supplies and services for 10,000 tests per day, a capacity increase that will allow Georgians to receive results within 48 hours.
 “As demand for testing has soared across the country, many private labs have been unable to process tests quick enough to aid in contact tracing and mitigation efforts,” Gov. Brian Kemp said. “With some Georgians waiting well over a week for their results, the status quo is unacceptable.
“This new partnership will not only expand the number of tests the state is able to administer, but also greatly reduce the turnaround time of those tests. This is vital to Georgia’s efforts in our fight against COVID-19.”
Georgia has worked with other companies, including LabCorp, to beef up testing since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the state back in the early spring.
“Expanded and streamlined testing is absolutely crucial,” said Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Our contract with Mako Medical will boost test processing capabilities and enable our army of contact tracers to respond quicker to newly identified cases.”
The contract with Mako was announced as the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state reached 145,575. As of late Monday, 3,176 Georgians had died from the virus.
Free testing is available at the Grady County Health Department during the month of July every Wednesday and Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
A new website, covid19.dph.ga.gov, allows individuals to access a scheduling system 24/7 to schedule their own appointments.
For those without internet access, the appointment hotline is still available Monday through Saturday at (229) 352-6567.
(Dave Williams, bureau chief, Capitol Beat News Service, contributed to this article)

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