Three Jackson Countians died of Covid on Christmas Eve, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 61 with another 10 probable deaths.
The youngest person to die so far from the virus was a 28-year-old white male.
The grim rise in deaths over the holiday reflects a continued rise in community spread of the virus with Jackson County remaining at the third-highest county in the state in the rate of cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks. Jackson has added 894 new positive cases over the last two weeks, bringing its total confirmed number of cases to 5,325 since March.
The county also reached a new milestone as it saw its 300th person hospitalized over the past week from the virus.
While the data is somewhat skewed due to delayed reporting over the holidays, the county set a new single-day record on Dec. 27 in its positivity rate when it topped 33% positive out of those being tested. Over the last two weeks, 26% of those tested have tested positive, a rate nearly double the state rate of 14.4%.
Meanwhile, area hospitals continue to see a surge in patients with the virus.
Northeast Georgia Health System reached another COVID-19 peak this week.
NGHS is treating 312 positive COVID patients in its facilities, with 67 of those at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton. Another 54 patients are awaiting test results.
There are 700 occupied beds at NGHS with 39 available. At NGMC Braselton, 156 beds are occupied with 22 available (24 occupied in ICU with four available).
Meanwhile, NGHS continues to work to get its staff members vaccinated. The hospital system received approximately 5,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 1,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine with more shipments expected in early January. As of Dec. 28, NGHS has administered 2,168 vaccines to its employees.