Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Shoot Up In Oconee County And Elsewhere Around The State

***State Says Testing Part Of Explanation***

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported the largest single increase ever in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its noon Daily Status Report today, attributing the increase in part to new testing.

Oconee County added three new cases, and Clarke County added nine.

Each of the counties surrounding Oconee and Clarke counties except Madison County added confirmed cases, with Oglethorpe reporting its first case.

Barrow County added 11 new cases, bringing its total number of cases to 18, putting it ahead of Oconee’s 14 cases and behind Clarke’s 50 cases.

Yesterday’s 7 p.m. Daily Status Report listed a death in Madison County. That death was reflected in the noon Status Report today, and the number of deaths in Clarke County (5) and Barrow County (2) remained unchanged since yesterday.

None of the other counties has reported a death to this point.

The huge increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state and the area in the report today negates any suggestion from the slow growth in cases reported in recent days that the growth curve has begun to flatten.

The number of deaths statewide increased by 21 in the last 24 hours and now stands at 108, and the number of hospitalizations went up by 111 to 818.

As of 7 p.m., the state added another 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases, making the total at present 4,117. The number of deaths has increased by 17 to 125, and the number of hospitalized has increased by 67 to 885.

Since noon, Oconee County added two cases, Walton County added three cases, and Clarke, Barrow and Jackson counties each added one case.

Chart 1 below has been updated with the current figures for the 7 p.m. report in the box. The Chart itself is based on the noon Daily Status Report for each of the days shown.

Testing Problems

The noon Daily Status Report from the state Department of Public Health is headed by this notice:

“Today’s significant increase in cases is in part due to additional laboratories reporting to DPH, and also improvements in electronic reporting from other laboratories. Patient information is often incomplete and DPH works to complete the records, so data will change over time.”

Chart 1 Revised 7 p.m. 3/31 (Click To Enlarge)

The Daily Status Report for today shows 16,181 tests have been recorded, up 3,615 tests from the day before.

The Daily Status Report for yesterday listed only two new tests recorded in the previous 24 hours.

The big increase in tests was by commercial laboratories (3,589), with the Department of Public Health Laboratory recording only 26 new tests.

In the previous 24 hours, the two new tests came from commercial laboratories.

The increase in the number of tests is shown in the bottom, left chart below. The other three charts summarize trends in cases, deaths and hospitalizations going back to March 2 (as data are available), when the first confirmed case was reported for the state.

Chart 2: Click To Enlarge

The relationship between testing and the number of recorded cases is shown in the final chart below.

In each of the time point where the number of recorded tests shows slight decreases, the number of new cases decreases.

This is most noticeable in recent days, but it also was true on March 25 and to a much less pronounced degree on March 21.

Chart 3: Click To Enlarge

The number of registered tests is not the same as the number of confirmed cases. Even with only the two new registered tests yesterday, the Daily Status Report listed 158 new cases.

Note From Area Government Leaders

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell, Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz, and Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle, joined with the area legislative delegation on Sunday evening to issue a press release regarding area hospitals.

The legislators were Sen. Bill Cowsert (Sen. District 46), Sen. Frank Ginn (District 47), Rep. Houston Gaines (District 117), Rep. Spencer Frye (District 118), and Rep. Marcus Wiedower (District 119). Cowsert, Gaines and Wiedower represent Oconee County in the General Assembly.

“We just completed another update with our two local hospitals and other healthcare providers in the area,” the release said.

“The most important is this--our healthcare providers in the Athens area are prepared,” the notice said. “We all know the number of cases is going to increase, and we may see a surge--but the hospitals and our other providers are ready.”

The Daily Status Report does not list hospitalizations by county or hospital, so it isn’t possible to know from the data released the case load from COVID-19 at the two area hospitals.

Testing And Report Lags

“Testing capacity and response time for results continue to move in the right direction,” the group wrote. “One of the most significant challenges in addition to limited testing is waiting times for results.

“Fortunately, we anticipate much quicker testing results over the next several days--which will also significantly help with PPE supplies,” the group wrote. (PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment.)

“The Georgia National Guard has deployed medical officers to the Athens area to provide additional support, as well, and we thank them for their continued service to our state and community,” the release continued.

Many have reached out about providing support to those on the frontlines--whether it's food or supplies,” the group notice stated.

“For Piedmont Athens Regional, please contact Libby Hayes, and for St. Mary's, please contact Ansley Martin.

“We're also seeing a continued need for blood donations. Please consider visiting the Red Cross and donating blood,” the leaders asked.


Anonymous said...

President just announced to the nation that the next two weeks will see 100K-240K deaths from the pandemic Covid-19.
Do we still need a BOC meeting? When will these characters in government finally realize the reality of this devastating health emergency.

Prayers and strength, Oconee

Lee Becker said...

I am going to try something different. I just changed the comment setting so only people with a google account can comment.