Despite the start of the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, January was a difficult month for Georgia.

On January 5, the first case of the significantly more contagious strain of the virus was found in a patient in Georgia. The second week of January saw four consecutive days that the total number of deaths in one day exceeded the previous one-day record of 129 in August 2020.

On Sunday afternoon, on the eve of February, some COVID metrics finally trended down after rising in recent months. On the positive side, the seven-day average for new positive cases has gone down over the past three weeks.

But more worrying are the weekly death toll. As of January 9, the metric has been the same as it has been since the pandemic began, with around 750 confirmed deaths per week since January 9.

More:Savannah Country Day School: A third of the staff received a COVID vaccine

As for vaccine distribution, all of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines assigned in the state were shipped on Sunday – over 1.3 million doses. Of these, 913,936 had been administered.

The Georgia Department of Health is currently administering the vaccine in Phase 1a +, which includes health care workers, residents and long-term care workers, adults 65 and older and their caregivers, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.

More:One area hospital system has leaped ahead of the other in vaccinating seniors. Why the difference?

Georgia’s confirmed case numbers for COVID-19 rose by 3,021 to 749,867 since Saturday, while the nationwide death toll rose by two to 12,570, the Georgian Ministry of Health announced shortly before 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Of the 50,237 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia in patients hospitalized when the case was reported or interviewed to DPH, 105 patients were added on Sunday.

Chatham County’s coronavirus count rose 70 to 16,510 on Sunday. The county’s COVID-19 death toll remained at 287.

The Chatham County’s death rate, measured as the percentage of known cases dying from COVID-19, remained at 1.7% on Sunday.

In Effingham, the number of cases in the county rose by 22 to 3,134 on Sunday. The county’s death toll remained at 46.

The number of confirmed cases in Bryan County jumped ten to 2,190 on Sunday. The county’s death toll remained at 23.

The daily DPH update contains the percentage positive value of the tests tested in the last two weeks. Chatham County was 14.5%, Effingham 15.3%, and Bryan 11%. Nationwide, the percentage of positive tests is 14.8%.

Will Peebles is the corporate reporter for Savannah Morning News. He can be reached on Twitter at and @willpeeblessmn.