Courtesy Georgia Department of Public Health

The latest statistics from the Georgia Department of Public Health show the state has reached a deadly new milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic: more than 25,000 residents have died.

The new numbers released Thursday indicate that 25,042 have died since the pandemic began.

That number of actual deaths is likely more, with the agency reporting another 4,351 “probably deaths” from the virus.

There have been 1,267,762 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the GDPH began tracking the virus.

The additional 5,000 deaths occurred in just the last two months thanks to the highly-contagious Delta variant that swamped hospital ICUs.

Officials are concerned that Georgia’s low vaccination rate could lead to a winter surge and continue to encourage everyone eligible to get inoculated. Booster shots are also now widely available and have shown to limit the severity of the virus in “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.