ATLANTA — One of the ways COVID-19 is still spreading through Georgia communities is through social gatherings with families and friends, according to a recent report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
They are warning people that exposure to asymptomatic cases can easily lead to spread as people unmask in private gatherings.
"People must remember that seemingly uninfected family members and friends may be infected but asymptomatic," the Oct. 18 report reads.
The task force recommends for mitigation efforts to continue with mask wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private; They also suggest getting a flu shot.
Georgia is in the orange zone for cases, indicating between 51 and 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week. The state has the 35th highest rate in the country for cases.
As for test positivity, Georgia is in the yellow zone, indicating a rate between 5 percent and 7.9 percent, with the 27th highest rate in the country.
While the state has seen stability in new cases and test positivity over the last week, Gwinnett, Fulton, and Cobb are the three counties with the highest number of new cases over the last three weeks. The report indicates the three counties represent 23.7 percent of new cases in the state.
And Georgia had 83 new cases per 100,000 population in the last week, compared to a national average of 117 per 100,000.
Health officials are still keeping a close eye on the vulnerable population.
The report shows that 7 percent of nursing homes had at least one new resident COVID-19 case during the week of Oct. 5 trough Oct. 11. In addition to that, 19 percent had at least one new staff COVID-19 case; 4 percent had at least one new resident COVID-19 death, the report states.
Tracking hospitalizations is also important when monitoring the state's progress.
The White House report said on average between Oct. 10 through Oct. 16, 389 patients with confirmed COVID-19 and 180 patients with suspected COVID-19 were reported as newly admitted each day to hospitals in Georgia.
"An average of 91 percent of hospitals reported either new confirmed or new suspected COVID patients each day during this period," the report reads. "Therefore, this may be an underestimate of the actual total number of COVID-related hospitalizations. Underreporting may lead to a lower allocation of critical supplies."
The task force suggested for the state to continue tracking test positivity, cases, and new daily hospitalizations in all counties and react to any week over week increases.