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VALDOSTA — South Georgia Medical Center reported nine COVID-19-related deaths and Lowndes County reported three virus deaths, while the number of hospitalized patients diagnosed with the virus decreased to 70.

Lowndes County reported three deaths Tuesday, increasing the death toll to 183 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

SGMC has reported 387 patients who have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Not all patients are Lowndes County residents.

The hospital had 70 patients who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 Tuesday, the lowest count reported since late July, according to reports taken Sept. 14. 

Lowndes County pushed past 10,300 cases since the start of the pandemic with the addition of 121 new cases since Friday, reporting 10,386 virus-related cases, according to the GDPH.

There have been more than 9,600 antigen positive cases reported in Lowndes – officially reporting 9,696 Tuesday – an increase of 261 antigen cases since Friday – and 76 probable deaths since the pandemic began, according to the report.

South Health District urges anyone older than the age of 12, who has not been vaccinated, to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

In addition to vaccination, other steps that individuals can take to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 include mask wearing (for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals) in areas of high transmission, social distancing, hand-washing and avoiding crowded settings.

People can contact the health department to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Meanwhile, SGMC reported that 57 is the average age of its hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 58 is the average age for ventilated patients, according to data taken between Sep. 3-10.

Other data provided by the hospital includes that 94% of the 70 hospitalized patients were unvaccinated. Ninety-nine percent of the ventilated patients are unvaccinated.

"COVID-19 does not discriminate when it comes to age and we are seeing a wide range of ages test positive for the virus. We're highly encouraging everyone if they have not been vaccinated to go get vaccinated, and if you happen to test positive and do not have to be hospitalized we have treatment options available," said Dr. Brian Dawson, chief medical officer.

SGMC reported taking 314 COVID-19 tests since Friday (counting tests from Sept. 11-12) — 55 of which resulted in a positive diagnosis — and has released 2,151 patients who were diagnosed with the virus since the start of the pandemic.

SGMC has reported more than 41,000 vaccinations, showing 41,115 vaccines administered.

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