But some parts of Georgia are worse than others. In the mountains of northern Georgia, some hospitals have reported that more than four in 10 patients have COVID-19.
The same is true for some hospitals in the regions surrounding Athens, Albany and Valdosta, as well as the Georgian coast.
Near Waycross, nearly 60% of patients have COVID-19.
Statewide, more than 90% of intensive care beds were in use by Friday afternoon. Deaths are also on the rise. The seven-day moving average of confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19 reached 54, the highest since March.
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Supplement for unvaccinated employees
Delta Air Lines plans to charge employees who have not been vaccinated an additional $ 200 per month for health care coverage, starting in November.
Atlanta-based Delta, which cited high hospital costs, will also require unvaccinated employees to be tested for the coronavirus weekly, starting September 12.
About 75% of the airline’s 75,000 employees are already vaccinated and the company needs new recruits to get vaccinated.
Some large U.S. employers – Google, Disney, Microsoft, Walmart, as well as UPS, Invesco, Emory Healthcare, Piedmont Healthcare, Wellstar Health System, and Cox Enterprises (owner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) – have announced vaccine needs for many employees. , especially those entering corporate offices or medical centers.
A Delta Air Lines hand sanitizer station at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. (Stefano Ukmar / The New York Times)
But many companies have turned away from vaccination mandates, which remain a polarizing issue among Americans. In Georgia, poultry manufacturers and processors have encouraged vaccinations, but say requiring injections could cause many frontline workers to quit.
At Delta, the $ 200 monthly supplement for unvaccinated employees enrolled in Delta’s health care plan could be a strong financial incentive for more employees to get vaccinated.
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“I know some of you may be taking a wait-and-see approach or waiting for full FDA approval,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a memo. “With the announcement this week that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, the time has come for you to get vaccinated.”
Delta, which funds its own health care plans, said the average COVID-19 hospital stay costs the company $ 50,000 per person.
The supplement for unvaccinated employees “will be necessary to address the financial risk that the decision not to vaccinate creates for our business,” Bastian wrote. He added that, in recent weeks, not all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID have been fully immunized.
The company, which reopened its headquarters and offices in June, will also require unvaccinated employees to wear masks indoors at work “until case rates in the community stabilize.”
More than 25,000 airline employees are based in Georgia.
AJC hosts a community conversation
Almost a year ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution brought together top Atlanta metro school officials to talk about their plans to keep students, educators and staff safe as COVID-19 was starting to change people’s daily lives.
Now, the delta variant poses a greater health risk, and schools have become the epicenter of the political debate on how to handle the pandemic.
In this file photo, people for and against a mask warrant for Cobb County schools recently rallied and protested ahead of a school board meeting in Marietta. Ben Gray for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Credit: Ben Gray
Credit: Ben Gray
On Monday at 5:00 p.m., the AJC will present “Community Conversation: School is in session”. The newspaper invited superintendents from six of the region’s largest school systems to discuss solutions to the new problems generated by the pandemic.
The event will be hosted by AJC education journalists Alia Malik and Vanessa McCray. Journalists will ask questions about the impact of the pandemic on schools. They will also ask the superintendents questions from the AJC readers.
The conversation can be viewed on AJC Facebook and YouTube. RSVP at ajc.com/conversations.
Editors Kelly Yamanouchi and Todd Duncan contributed to this report.