Monday, April 27, 2020

After Losing Cases On Sunday, Northeast Health District Adds 12 New Cases Of Confirmed COVID-19 On Monday

***Group Of Area Leaders Call For Continued Social Distancing***

The Northeast Health District added 12 cases of confirmed COVID-19 with the noon Daily Status Report on Monday, with all of the six counties in the region that lost cases in the noon Daily Status Report on Sunday adding cases on Monday.

Clarke, Jackson, and Oglethorpe counties added the same number of cases on Monday as they had lost on Sunday. Oconee County had lost two cases on Sunday and added three on Monday, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 56.

Barrow County added a death, with the passing of an 84-year-old female with known underlying conditions. That brings the total number of deaths in Barrow County to four and the region to 26.

The rolling seven-day average of confirmed COVID-19 cases added in the 10-county Northeast Health District on Monday is 20.6, compared with 20.7 on Sunday.

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry released data on Monday provided to the county’s 911 Center, which is under his control, indicating that the Department of Public Health considers 14 of Oconee County’s 56 cases to be active.

The noon Monday Daily Status report added 372 cases across Georgia, down from 706 on Sunday. The seven day rolling average of added cases is 689.4, down from 728.6 on Sunday.

The state added 30 deaths, up from eight on Sunday, but the seven-day rolling average dropped from 32.1 to 29.9.

A group of area government leaders issued a letter on Sunday indicating that local hospitals are managing the demand well and urging citizens to “continue to social distance.”

Watkinsville Mayor Bob Smith, who did not join the other leaders in the Sunday letter, on Friday told residents of Watkinsville to “resume” their lives including assembling “to worship.”

Added Cases

An analysis of the noon Daily Status Reports for the 157 of Georgia’s 159 counties with a confirmed COVID-19 case shows that nine counties lost cases from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday.

Of those nine, six were in the Northeast Heath District: Barrow (-3), Clarke (-4), Jackson (-2), Morgan (-2), Oconee (-2), and Oglethorpe (-1).

The noon Daily Status Report on Monday added cases in all six: Barrow (+1), Clarke (+4), Jackson (+2), Morgan (+1), Oconee (+3), and Oglethorpe (+1).

The Department of Public Health offered no explanation of the changes. It also will not reveal how it classifies cases by county.

On Saturday, the Daily Status report listed 441 cases as having an unknown county, and 957 as from a Non-Georgia Resident.

On Sunday, those figures jumped to 620 and 1,022 respectively.

On Monday, the number of confirmed cases without a county had grown to only to 633, and the number of cases for a Non-Georgia resident had grown only to 1,027.

The cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases should not go down. The curve should flatten when no new cases are added.

The Daily Status Report states that “A confirmed case is defined as a person who has tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus.” Cases are not supposed to be removed when they become inactive.

Local Charts

Chart 1 below plots the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across time for the 10-county Northeast Health District (orange line, left-hand vertical axis) and for the state of Georgia (blue line, right-hand vertical axis.)

The number of deaths for each of the 10 counties in the Northeast Health District is listed in the box at the top, left of the chart.

The chart and box are updated to include the raw data on confirmed cases from the noon Monday Daily Status Report.

Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 2 below shows the actual number of new reported confirmed COVID-19 cases across time in the Northeast Health District, with the blue line showing the actual count and the orange line showing the rolling or moving seven-day average.

The lines have been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Monday Daily Status Report with the negative number of cases for Sunday reflected in the blue line.

Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)

Active Cases

Chart 3 below is based on the data that Oconee County Sheriff Berry released on his Facebook page on Sunday and Monday.

Berry said on Sunday that he would start releasing the data “since there seems to be so much misinformation online and in our community.”

Berry said on Monday that the Georgia Emergency Management Agency began providing to the county 911 Center on April 17 the list of confirmed COVID-19 active cases in the county.

GEMA on that date provided 13 addresses of active COVID-19 cases, with three “of those actually being in other counties,” Berry wrote. A case is considered active for 21 days after first symptoms are recorded.

The Department of Public Health provides the information to GEMA, Berry wrote, and “then GEMA goes through the info and then sends each agency (provided they signed an agreement) a list.”

“Since 4/17/2020, we have been provided with 21 addresses with positive COVID cases,” Berry wrote. “Take out the 3 that don’t belong to us, that takes us down to 18 cases that were still within the 21 day period on 4/16.

“We had 2 that expired last night at midnight so currently we have 14 cases still within the 21 day window,” he wrote.

The addresses are provided to the 911 Center so dispatchers can notify first respondents if they are sent to the address of a COVID-19 individual, Berry explained.

I have summarized Berry’s information in the chart below and will update this as he releases more information.

The information Berry receives is not included in the Daily Status Report and is not available to the public except through Berry.

Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)

State Charts

Chart 4 below summarizes the cumulative data from the state of Georgia on four indicators: number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, number of tests for the disease, and number of hospitalizations for treatment of the disease.

The charts begin on March 2, when the first cases were discovered in Atlanta. Measures of tests and hospitalizations are included from the point at which the Daily Status Report provided those data.

The chart at the top-left differs from Chart 1 in that it go back further in time.

Each of the four charts has been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Monday Daily Status Report.

Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)
Chart 5 below provides the actual number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Georgia attributable to the disease going back to March 2. Those data are plotted with the blue lines.

The orange lines are based on computation of the rolling or moving seven-day averages for confirmed cases and deaths.

The two charts have been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Monday Daily Status Report.

Chart 5 (Click To Enlarge)

Government Leaders Report

Area governmental leaders, including Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell, released a statement on Sunday providing an update on the COVID-19 situation locally.

“We just completed another conference call update with local healthcare providers and want to relay to the community the latest updates,” the group wrote.

“Overall, our numbers remain stable, and we continue to see a decline in ICU and hospitalized patients,” the group wrote. “ Patient intake is not as volatile - another positive step.”

“In terms of PPE and supplies, our providers report they are in a positive position and have the necessary supplies at this time,” the letter states. PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment.

“Testing continues to ramp up significantly,” the group wrote. “ However, with some providers, we continue to have issues with a lag in reporting times, so we must continue to focus on that.

“Importantly, we are now testing patients with any symptoms and many healthcare workers and other first responders without symptoms - a huge step forward,” according to the letter.

Continue To Social Distance

“Our healthcare providers will gradually begin to resume elective operations,” the letter from the government leaders states. “Many of these operations are critical that have been delayed for weeks, and it's important that these patients now be able to be seen.

“The hospitals are taking strict measures to ensure the health and safety of all patients,” the group wrote.

“Finally, we want to reemphasize the importance of continuing to use common sense,” the letter states. “There's no doubt what we've done has made a difference.

“We must continue to be smart - wear a mask when in public, avoid gatherings, wash your hands, cover coughs and continue to social distance,” the group asks.

“Much progress has been made,” the group states. “Together, we'll continue to win this fight and move our community forward.”

The message is signed by Daniell, Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz, Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle, Senators Bill Cowsert and Frank Ginn, and Representatives Houston Gaines, Marcus Wiedower, and Spencer Frye.

Watkinsville Mayor Smith had signed an earlier message from the group but is not listed as a signer of the Sunday message.

Smith’s Letter

On April 24 Watkinsville Mayor Smith released on his Facebook page a letter to citizens of the city.

“I believe it is time to turn off the television and all the distractions in the media and get back to basics,” Smith wrote.

“It’s now time for us to emerge from our homes and utilize smart, common-sense safe distance practices and resume our lives,” the letter states. “It is imperative for our emotion, spiritual, physical and economic health.

“I encourage you to get outdoors and exercise,” Smith said. “Go to work. Earn a living. Assembly to worship. And be grateful for every day we have.

“Because life is a gift,” the letter continues. “Let’s not waste it continuing to sit at home, looking at four walls.”

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