Thursday, April 16, 2020

Northeast Health District, Which Includes Oconee And Clarke Counties, Added Nearly 100 Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 In Last Three Days

***No Deaths, But Coroners Still Lacking Tests***

The Georgia Northeast Health District added 37 new cases of confirmed cases of COVID-19 with the noon Daily Status Report of the Department of Health on Thursday, bringing the number of cases added in the last three days to just fewer than 100.

The three days of large number of new cases in the region, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties, follows three days in which the number of reported cases had been low.

The total for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was 98, while the number for Saturday, Sunday and Monday had been 41.

Daily figures released by the Department of Public Health vary systematically by day of the week, and the 37 cases added on Thursday for the Northeast Health District compared with the 17 cases added a week ago, on April 9.

The moving average for the Northeast Health District suggests the Novel Coronavirus is spreading or that increased testing is revealing cases that previously would have gone undeteced.

Across the state, the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases increased in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Thursday by 682, compared with 685 on Thursday a week ago. The number of deaths increased by 37, compared with nine on April 9.

The Northeast Health District added no new cases of death attributed to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, but Oconee County Coroner Ed Carson said on Thursday that he and Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson had still not received testing kits.

Carson said, under the guidelines set up for providing data to the Georgia Department of Health, coroners and other medical examiners are expected to report deaths attributable to COVID-19, but “You can’t report if you can’t test,” he said.

Carson said he has been promised by the Department of Health he will have the tests on Friday.


Chart 1 below provides cumulative data on confirmed COVID-19 cases for the 10-county Northeast Health District updated based on the noon Thursday Daily Status Report.

The region is plotted in the thick blue line on the right vertical axis.

Oconee and Clarke Counties are plotted in the orange and green lines on the left vertical axis.

Data for the eight other counties in the region are shown in the table below the line charts.

The Department of Public Health has said that the address of the patient is used to classify patients by county, but it has not specified if Zip Code or an actual database of addresses by county is used. (I have asked for clarification but not received an answer.)

Zip Codes do not follow county lines, but there is a dominant county for the codes that is often used as a short-hand for classifying addresses. Large sections of Oconee County, for example, have an Athens address, and parts of western Oconee County have a Statham address (Barrow County).

The data that are available show that only Elbert County in the Northeast Health District did not add confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 24-hour-period ending at noon on Thursday, that Oconee County added two cases and Clarke County added four, and that Oglethorpe County added 12 cases.

The small box inside Chart 1 lists deaths by county in the Northeast Health District. No new deaths were added in the 24-hour-period ending at noon on Thursday.

Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 2 below lists the number of new COVID-19 confirmed cases in the Northeast Health District, going back to when the first two cases were reported in Clarke County on March 14.

The actual cases are plotted on the blue line with the data points for the date. (The Department of Health did remove one case on March 21.)

The irregularities in the reporting are obvious in the line chart, reflecting a bias in data released by the Department of Public Health. Tuesdays are days in which large number of cases are reported.

To correct for this bias, I have presented a moving or rolling average in the orange line. The data point plotted is the average for that day and the six preceding it.

The actual data and the moving average indicate that the Northeast Health District as a whole is in a period of growth in incidences of the COVID-19 cases, as least as reflected in the released data.

This may well be a result of increased testing, rather than expansion of the disease, but it is impossible to know which is the case given the ongoing problems with testing in the state and country.

Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 3 shows four smaller charts showing the cumulative trends in numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state as a whole, the cumulative number of deaths, the cumulative number of tests, and the cumulative number of hospitalizations.

The chart has been updated based on the noon Daily Status Report for Thursday.

Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 4 shows the individual confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths attributable to the disease for the state of Georgia.

The chart also shows seven-day moving averages for both of these measures.

The moving average suggests that the number of confirmed cases, which had been on the decline, has started to level out rather than continue to decline, and that the number of deaths is increasing.

Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)


andrewscd said...

Lee, I found out today that National Guard went into the Wesley Woods facility (Lanier Gardens) in Athens, in their hazmat suits, and disinfected the building. Does that indicate that there was an infected person in that building?

Lee Becker said...

I will see if I can learn anything and will watch for this in the Daily Status Reports. As I just posted, the coroner now has his test kits, so he can determine cause of death.