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VALDOSTA — Lowndes County reported two COVID-19-related deaths and South Georgia Medical Center reported one death Friday.

The number of hospitalized patients diagnosed with the virus rose by two Friday.

SGMC has reported 427 patients who have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Not all patients are Lowndes County residents.

Nearly 140 people have died from COVID-19 in the past three months at the hospital. On July 1, the hospital had reported 292 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Lowndes County COVID-19 death toll increased to 197 county residents since the start of the pandemic, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The hospital reported 43 patients who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 Friday – up two from Thursday.

Lowndes County reported 10,742 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the GDPH.

There have been 10,045 antigen positive cases reported in Lowndes and 86 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 60 is the average age of its hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 57 is the average age for ventilated patients, according to data taken between Sept. 24-30.

Other data provided by the hospital includes that 88% of the 43 hospitalized patients were unvaccinated. One-hundred 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," Dr. Brian Dawson, chief medical officer, said in a previous statement.

SGMC has released 2,246 patients who were diagnosed with the virus since the start of the pandemic.

SGMC has reported 42,527 vaccinations administered.

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