Vaccines have finally become available in Carroll County, though cases and hospitalizations still remain high.

Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout is now underway, which expands the vaccine availability to adults aged 65 and older, and their caregivers as applicable, and to all law enforcement and fire personnel, including volunteer departments.

Previously, the vaccine had only been available to healthcare workers in clinical settings and staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

On Tuesday, Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of West Georgia Stadium parking lot, 1500 Lovvorn Rd, Carrollton, GA 30117. Everyone must enter from Lovvorn Rd.

And COVID-19 cases continue in the county.

There have been 467 cases within the last two weeks within Carroll County and since the pandemic began, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports that 97 people have died from the virus.

Carroll County remains on the list of counties with high transmission indicators; only five out of Georgia’s 159 counties are not on this list.

To be listed, a county must have had over 100 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents within the last 14 days, and have had over 10% of positive PCR tests for COVID-19. A PCR test determines the presence of a virus in a person’s system.

For the week of Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 , Carroll County had a 23% rate of emergency department visits for COVID-19, which is 3% higher than the week prior. As for visits with influenza like illness, that rate was at 2%, the same rate as the week prior.

Tanner Health System also tracks COVID-19 within its health system and provides weekly updates. The numbers reported by Tanner reflect cases that have been tested or treated within the health system, regardless of the county of patient origin. It does not include any tests performed by the local health department, government agencies, or non-Tanner affiliated clinics.

For the weekly updates with data as recent as Jan. 7, there was a 16.85% positive rate for positive COVID-19 tests and 9,983 tests performed. There are 79 cases in the health system, or 21.6% of the total 366 beds.

The health system also reported that 46 patients of 181 total licensed beds, or 25.4% of all beds at Tanner Medical Center Carrollton, had patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

At Tanner Medical Center Villa Rica, there were 30 patients of 145 total licensed beds, or 20.7%.

Higgins General Hospital in Bremen has three of its 25 licensed beds and Tanner Medical Center in East Alabama in Wedowee had zero patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

This week was the first week back from winter break at Carrollton City Schools and Carroll County School System. DPH data reports that as of Jan. 7, COVID-19 in school aged people are “high” and “increasing” in Carroll County.

Within the last 14 days, there have been two cases among children younger than four, 34 cases for children five to 17-years-old, and 42 cases for those 18- to 22-years-old.

Carroll County School System began its in person classes this week on Jan. 5 and its COVID-19 data among the student and teacher population has not been updated as of Dec. 11, or before students left for winter break. This data is updated on Mondays.

At Carrollton City Schools as of Jan. 8 there were 27 students with a positive test out of the 5,435 students enrolled or .5%. The number of students quarantined for possible exposure, either at school or outside of school, was 111.

Of the 576 staff members, there were 17 employees who had a positive test. The number of staff quarantined for possible exposure, either at school or outside of school, was 10.

At the University of West Georgia, as of Dec. 30, zero students and three employees have reported testing positive for COVID-19 during the week Dec. 23 to Dec. 29. The university will begin its spring semester today, Jan. 9.