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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Civic Center Complex Manager Michael Smith helps pass out masks at the Walker County Civic Center on Monday, July 27, 2020 in Rock Spring, Georgia. Walker County officials held "Mask Up Monday," where they distributed reusable masks to the public.

Hamilton County surpassed 5,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections Monday, having nearly doubled the total number of cases since the beginning of the month.

The department reported 452 new infections since Friday, including 77 new cases on Monday, to bring the county total to 5,062. The county is averaging 100 new cases a day in the past week, down from a record high average of 121 new cases a day last week.

Since Friday, the health department has reported four COVID-19 deaths — a white man between 51 and 60 years old, a Black man between 71 and 80 years old, a Black woman between 61 and 70 years old and a Black woman between 51 and 60 years old — all with underlying health conditions.

The deaths mark 15 total for the month, tying July with June as the deadliest month for the virus in Hamilton County.

There are now 79 people hospitalized in the county with the virus, 26 of whom are in intensive care units.

Hospitalizations in the county have spiked in recent weeks and represent those hardest hit by the virus. Like the number of new cases, the recent hospitalization data shows a slight downward trend from record highs last week.

While the virus has appeared to slow somewhat in Chattanooga, surrounding counties, especially those in Alabama and Georgia, are experiencing surges.

(READ MORE: Where COVID-19 cases are rising and falling in the Chattanooga region)

Critical care beds in North Georgia are running at an all-time low capacity as the virus continues to spike in some rural areas. Last week, the Chattooga County Courthouse closed after a judge tested positive for the virus, and the government announced further closures Monday.

Walker County, Georgia, has reported more than 50 new infections in the past week, nearly doubling what it was reporting a week ago when it had among the lowest number of new cases per 10,000 residents in the region.

Contact Wyatt Massey at wmassey@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.

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