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Eligible Georgia residents will have another way to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Whitfield County on Feb. 3 and 4.

The county, the city of Dalton and the local health department are partnering for another set of vaccinations. The drive-thru operation will be at the Dalton Convention Center at 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road. There is no charge for the vaccine.

Time slots for the vaccine have been filling up quickly, but cancellations may open more slots for people who did not sign up in time over the weekend. For information on how to sign up, visit daltonga.gov.

The new drive-thru site is planning to vaccinate 1,000 people each day.

Whitfield County Commission Chair Jevin Jensen said the county will soon pass its own first key milestone: Having more people vaccinated than the number of positive tests since the start of the pandemic.

"Whitfield County continues to lead our health district in the number of people vaccinated," he said by email.

Jensen stressed the importance of people getting the second vaccine shot in order for the dose to be effective. Those who miss their scheduled second shot should reschedule with the health department or the provider of their first dose.

COVID-19 cases have steadily been on the decline in Whitfield County since hitting a peak on Jan. 14. The county has been averaging between 48 and 55 new cases per day on a seven-day average.

On Friday, Hamilton Medical Center reported there were 42 patients with COVID-19 in the hospital, down from 70 earlier in January.

In other coronavirus-related news, the city of Dalton will soon be offering rent assistance to those who have lost income and are unable to pay their rent due to the pandemic. The assistance is available through federal coronavirus relief funds.

A total of $174,800 is available through the city's share of relief funds. The funding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on who is eligible and to apply, visit daltonga.gov or dwcdc.org.

Also, Whitfield County Fire Chief Todd Pangle said a 48-year-old firefighter has been hospitalized with COVID-19, the Daily Citizen News reported Friday. The firefighter has double pneumonia and is receiving oxygen but is not on a ventilator.

On Friday night, Gov. Brian Kemp's office announced the state had administered more than two-thirds of shipped doses of COVID-19 vaccine at 67.13%, which outpaced the national average of 56.66%.

"This marks an important milestone in Georgia's vaccination efforts, but make no mistake: we are not letting up," Kemp said in a statement. "We will continue to work diligently alongside providers and public health facilities across the state to administer this life-saving vaccine quickly and effectively. Together, we will beat this virus and ensure a safe and swift return to normal for the people of Georgia."

As of 6 p.m. on Friday, the state had administered 887,399 doses and nearly 51,000 from Thursday to the end of Friday.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

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