The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 10-county Northeast Health District of Georgia grew by 16 in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Wednesday, down from the increase of 46 cases in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Tuesday.
The number of deaths in the Northeast Health District increased by only one during that time period, reflecting the first death attributable to the disease in Oconee County, picked up in the 7 p.m. Daily Status Report from Tuesday.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state increased by 1,063 from a day earlier, according to the noon Daily Status Report of the Georgia Department of Health. That compares with an increase of 1,504 a day earlier.
The number of deaths statewide increased statewide by 33, compared with an increase of 100 reported on Tuesday. And the number of hospitalizations increased by 207, compared with the 442 figure from Tuesday.
The number of tests recorded statewide increased by 5,074, the largest number of new tests recorded going back to March 18, when the Department of Health began releasing testing data.
The number of confirmed cases lags tests, so positive cases may increase in the coming days as a result of new testing.
A study by the University of Georgia released on Wednesday projects that only under extreme conditions will the demand for hospital beds in the 17-county area served by the two Hospitals based in Athens exceed capacity.
The current projection for the state by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington is that the demand for hospital beds in Georgia will peak on April 20 and that the demand for hospital beds will not exceed supply.
Chart 1 below shows the number of confirmed cases in each of the 10 counties that make up the Northeast Health District for the state of Georgia, plotted with the blue line and the axis on the right.
The cases for Oconee and Clarke counties are shown in orange and green respectively and plotted on the axis on the left.
The number of confirmed cases in Oconee County increased by one in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Wednesday, and the number of confirmed cases in Clarke County increased by four.
The single death of an 85-year-old male from Oconee County without known underlying conditions is reflected in the increase in the number of cases and in the increase in the number of deaths as reflected in the box in the left-hand side of the chart.
Update: Jackson County recorded its first death due to COVID-19 in the 7 p.m. Daily Status Report for Wednesday.
The deceased was a 53-year-old woman without know underlying conditions. She is the youngest of the 19 deaths recorded in the 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties.
Neither Oconee nor Clarke county added a confirmed case in the 7 p.m. report, but the region added 7 cases and the state added 308, bringing the total to 10,189.
The state added seven deaths, bringing the total to 369.
|Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)|
The second chart reflects the cumulative data on confirmed cases, deaths, tests recorded, and hospitalizations from the Daily Status Report for the state of Georgia.
The lines are not smooth across time, but there is little at present to contradict the University of Washington IHME projection that the slowing of growth in COVID-19 has not yet taken place.
The IHME projections have been labeled by experts as conservative in many media reports.
|Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)|
The third chart shows the statewide data on number of newly reported confirmed cases and number of newly reported deaths on a daily basis.
The numbers are irregular, reflecting, according to the Department of Health, gaps in reporting.
The IHME study projects that the number of deaths will peak at 87 per day on April 21.
The IHME projections change daily, as new data from the state are fitted into the model behind he projections.
|Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)|
The University of Georgia College of Public Health released a report on Wednesday morning from a team of researchers based in the College that analyzed data from the 17-county region served by Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital, both based in Athens.
The researchers used two scenarios in their predictions.
The first was that “social distancing interventions will not be adopted or will not be maintained throughout the service area,” and the second is based on the assumption that social distancing “interventions do occur and adherence to them is at an ‘average’ level.”
Under these two scenarios, the overall range of estimated cumulative confirmed cases is between 779 and 3,358 by April 28.
The two lead authors on the report are Grace Bagwell Adams and Justin Ingels.
The report was prepared at the request of physicians from Athens area hospitals, according to the Wednesday news release.
The total inpatient admits to the area hospitals over the month of April are estimated to range between 175 and 757.
The peak simultaneous admits (subtracting out discharges) are estimated to range between 98 and 639.
Athens regional lists its number of beds at 360.
The number of beds at the St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens is 196, with 25 beds at its Green County affiliate and 56 at its Franklin County affiliate, according to another study by the University of Georgia team.
Both Green and Franklin counties are in the 17-county service area uses in the study. So the total number of beds across all units of the two hospitals in the service area is 637, with 556 of those in Athens.
Under the extreme conditions, the number of beds would exhaust supply.
Area hospital administrators said on Monday that they were prepared to handle the anticipated surge in demand.
I created the final chart below to show the increase in confirmed cases and deaths for the 17-county area served by the hospitals from the noon Daily Status Report for Wednesday and from the noon Daily Status Report of a week earlier. The UGA study was last updated on April 3.
The number of cases and deaths doubled in that time period.
|Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)|