Nine of the 10 counties in the Northeast Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health added confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the noon Daily Status Report for Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 595.
The 34 new cases were up from the 27 added at noon on Thursday, but down from the 38 cases added on Friday a week ago.
The rolling average was 23.9 cases added per day on April 20, and that was the high point for the Northeast Health District going back to the advent of the disease in the region on March 14.
Clarke County added eight new cases with the Friday noon Daily Status Report of the Department of Public Health, Jackson County added seven, and Walton and Oglethorpe each added five.
Oconee County added a single case, bringing its total to 54. Morgan County did not add any cases.
The Northeast Health District added no new deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the 24-hour-period ending at noon on Friday, and the total for the District is 25.
The state added 635 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 from noon on Thursday to noon on Friday. It added 20 deaths.
The seven-day rolling average of number of confirmed cases in the state dropped markedly from 834.7 cases per day to 707.6, and the seven-day-rolling average of deaths dropped from 40.7 to 34.6.
The Daily Status Report on Friday continued to include the raw data on confirmed cases and deaths that have been a part of the report from its launch in the middle of last month and a set of charts based on different measures not being released to the public.
The charts based on those different measures provide a much more optimistic picture of the decline of the disease in the state than do the raw data available to the public.
Chart 1 below plots the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across time for the 10-county Northeast Health District (blue line, right-hand vertical axis) and for Oconee and Clarke counties (green and orange lines, respectively, left-hand vertical axis.)
The table at the bottom includes the data for all 10 of the counties beginning with the discovery of the first case in the region (in Clarke County) on March 14.
The number of deaths for each of the 10 counties is listed in the box at the top, left of the chart.
The data have been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Friday Daily Status Report.
|Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)|
Chart 2 below is an expansion of Chart 1 to include lines for each of the 10 counties in the Northeast Health District. The box in the chart shows the population for each of the 10 counties, based on the 2019 Census Bureau estimates.
Clarke County, the largest county in terms of population, has the largest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, but it is followed by Barrow County, which is smaller in population that Walton County, with the yellow and third line in the chart.
Jackson County is represented by the fourth line, and Oconee by the fifth. Oconee is fifth in population and in terms of ranking for number of COVID-19 cases.
Greene and Oglethorpe counties have more cases than their populations would suggest they should.
The Department of Public Health has refused to indicate how the data it presents in the Daily Status Report are assigned to counties. I filed an open records request to get a document that would specify how this is done and been told that “we do not have any responsive records” to release.
Sarah Peck, clinic manager at the Clarke County Health Department, has told me in an email exchange that she does not know the answer. Peck is in charge of media relations for the Northeast Health District.
It is possible the data are based on Zip Code, which is only a very rough approximation of county.
|Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)|
The lines have been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Friday Daily Status Report.
|Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)|
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.
Each of the four charts has been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Friday Daily Status Report.
|Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)|
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 Friday Daily Status Report.
|Chart 5 (Click To Enlarge)|
Department Of Public Health Data
With the noon daily Status Status Report on April 12, the Department of Public Health added two new line charts, one showing a leveling of number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and another showing a leveling of number of deaths attributed to the disease.
The small print beneath the line chart for confirmed cases said the data were based on “Cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 by date of symptoms or positive specimen.”
The small print beneath the line chart for deaths said it represented “Cumulative confirmed deaths of COVID-19 by date of death.”
Though the charts did not reflect the data included in the Daily Status Report itself, the Department of Public Health made no mention of any change in reporting procedures.
The noon Daily Status Report for April 13 included a bar chart showing deaths by date, without any explanation of the chart at all.
The noon Daily Status Report for April 16 included a bar chart for confirmed cases. It contained the note that it represented “Confirmed Cases by earliest known sign of illness.”
In a story in the Friday edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Department of Public Health Officials said the charts are based on different indicants of time for confirmed cases and deaths than is used for the data released in the Daily Status Report.
The Daily Status Report uses the date of reporting, while the charts push those dates back to an estimate, at least in the case of confirmed cases, to time of diagnosis.
I have indicated in Chart 6 below how this difference is reflected in the data.
|Chart 6 (Click To Enlarge)|
The Daily Status Report, beginning with the 7 p.m. report on April 20, began reporting rolling seven-day averages for confirmed cases and deaths in the Daily Status Report.
I noted the next day that these data were not consistent with the data being released in the Daily Status Report itself.
These rolling averages are based on the data not released to the public.
The rolling averages in the Daily Status Report show dramatic drops in confirmed cases and deaths, though they do include a note indicating that the data showing these changes are incomplete because cases will not be counted until some time in the future when new data are gathering and assigned to these dates.
I have shown the rolling averages based on the data released and the rolling averages shown in the charts as a way of illustrating the differences, given the information that has been made public by the Department of Public Health.
|Chart 7 (Click To Enlarge)|