Friday, April 10, 2020

Oconee County Added Two New COVID-19 Confirmed Cases In Friday Daily Status Report; Discrepancy On Clarke Deaths Not Explained

***Northeast Health District Adds 27 Confirmed Cases***

The Northeast Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties, added 27 new COVID-19 cases in the 24-hour-period ending at noon on Friday, the largest number of added cases since the 46 added on Tuesday.

Oconee County added two new cases, and Oglethorpe County added nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour-period.

Clarke County added a single death, of a 72-year-old male with known underlying conditions, that had been included in the 7 p.m. Daily Status Report of the Department of Health on Thursday.

No other new deaths were included in the Friday noon Daily Status Report for the Northeast Health District.

Across the state, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 917 to 11,483, the number of deaths increased by 37 to 416, and the number of hospitalizations increased by 192 to 2,351.

The number of tests increased dramatically, by 5,062 to 46,147. Reports of confirmed cases usually lag reports of new tests.

The additional cases of a death in Clarke County in the Friday report does not resolve the question resulting from the report on Tuesday of an Athens nursing home operator of 10 deaths at its facility “in the past few weeks” unless all of the Clarke County deaths were of patients of that single facility.

Updated Charts

I have updated the charts below to include the data from the noon Daily Status Report of Friday.

Chart 1 is from the 10-county Northeast Health District going back to when the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded in the area.

Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 2 shows the cumulative data from the state of Georgia going back to when the first case was recorded in the state on March 2.

Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 3 includes on number of added confirmed cases and added deaths attributable to COVID-19 across the state on a daily basis, again going back to March 2.

Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)

Department of Health Maps

COVID-19 has now spread to all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties, as reflected first in the map released with the Daily Status Report on Tuesday and included again in the Friday report.

The Daily Status Report began on March 12, and each report that is released by the Department of Health, overwrites the report from the day earlier, making the earlier reports unretrievable.

The Department of Health does not release an archive of its reports or data.

I captured the first Daily Status Report on March 16, and I have included the map from the March 16 report and the map included in the Friday noon Daily Status Report in Chart 4 below to show how COVID-19 has spread across the state during that 26-day time period.

I also included the March 28 map as the midpoint of that period.

Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)

The map shows not only the spread of the disease, but also how the meaning of the map has changed over the same time period.

The Department of Health changed the metric underlying the map across the time it has used it, and the number of cases it takes to “earn” a dark green designation consequently has changed.

On March 16, a county needed 21 cases to be labeled as most extreme, and on March 28 a county needed to have 297 cases to reach the “top” classification.

On April 10, for the Friday Daily Status Report, a county needed to have 1,093 confirmed cases to be in the “top” category.

Oconee and Clarke counties would be dark green, or “top scoring” counties, under the March 16 classification.

The New York Times, using the same data from the Friday noon Daily Status Report as are shown in the Department of Heath map, created an interactive map that gives a better sense of the relative number of confirmed cases around the state.

Chart 5 (Click To Enlarge)

Methodology Unclear

The Department of Health has released data by county since the first Daily Status report on March 12, but it has not explained how it determined county of residence. (I have made repeated requests for this information.)

The lack of correspondence between the report of the 10 deaths at the Pruitt-Health nursing homein Athens and the Daily Status report can be explained in at least two ways.

The first is that the 10 deaths were missed and simply were never included in the Daily Status Reports.

A second is that the deaths were reported, but not for Clarke County. The Department of Health could have used residence of the nursing home patient prior to moving to the Pruitt-Health facility.

It is possible as well that the Department of Health uses Zip Code to record death and then somehow assigns the Zip Code to counties. Zip Code, however, is a poor reflection of county borders.

In the noon Friday Daily Status Report, 1,246 of the 11,483 confirmed cases (10.9 percent) are not assigned to county, and five deaths (1.2 percent of 416 ) are not assigned to a county.

The Department of Health began releasing data by race only with the 7 p.m. Daily Status Report on Thursday, and in the Friday Daily Status report, 6,972 of the 11,483 Confirmed COVID-19 cases have no racial identification.

That is 60.7 percent of the total without racial classification, giving some sense of the difficulty the Department of Health is having gathering and providing data in the COVID-19 crisis.


Linda said...

Thank you so much for what you do. I look forward to seeing your blogs. I live in Oconee and was reading your blog before COVUD19, but now it is must read for NE Georgia. Thanks again and best wishes!

Linda said...

Thank you for all you do, Lee. I have been reading your blog post long before the virus pandemic, but now it is must read for NE Georgia. Thanks again and best wishes.

Unknown said...

It looks like the Oconee County death disappeared from the state Covid report?
The missing deaths ? from the nursing home are interesting. Article in today's WSJ says this is a nationwide problem - that deaths in nursing homes are being greatly underreported.

I also thank you for doing this. Easier to keep track with your information than that on the Georgia Public Health which is really just a list of numbers with no reporting on what is changing really. I hope the Governor has more than this to rely on.