Saturday, April 11, 2020

Oconee Death From COVID-19 Apparently Relisted In Clarke County By State Department Of Public Health

***Positive Test Rate In State Drops***

The sole death in Oconee County attributed to COVID-19 by the Georgia Department of Public Health has been eliminated as of the noon Daily Status Report on Saturday.

The number of deaths in Clarke County increased by one in that same noon Saturday report, with an 85-year-old male without known underlying conditions added to the Clarke County total, now of 11 cases.

An 85-year-old male without known underlying conditions previously had been listed as the sole death in Oconee County in the Department of Public Health’s Daily Status Report. The reports provide no other details of death, so it is impossible to say with certainty this is the same individual.

The change, hardly a surprising one given the overlap of Zip Codes for Clarke and Oconee counties, underscores the uncertainty about how the Department of Public Health assigns cases to counties each day and reinforced the value of tracking regional trends.

The noon Daily Status Report lists only seven new cases in the 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties.

That is the lowest daily increase for the region going back to March 30. The increase had been 27 in the noon Friday Daily Status Report. The region added no new deaths with Saturday's noon report.

The state added 676 new cases with the noon Daily Status Report for Saturday, down from the 917 added a day earlier, and 12 deaths, down from the 37 of a day earlier.

The percentage of tests for COVID-19 in the state that has produced a positive verdict has dropped in three of the last four days. Testing has been increasing, suggesting that more patients with less urgent symptoms are being tested. Results lag testing, so trends in coming days are important.

Input On Data From Coroner Carson

Oconee County Coroner Ed Carson told me in an email message on Saturday morning that “It is my understanding that cases are being reported by the patient’s address (city) by the Department of Public Health.”

Carson was responding to the report by an Athens nursing home that it had 10 of its residents die, apparently with COVID-19, and that at least some of these cases were not reflected in the Daily Status Report.

Zip Codes do not correspond with county borders. Many addresses in Clarke County have a Bogart Zip Code address, but almost all of Bogart is in Oconee County.

Large parts of Oconee County have an Athens Zip Code, but no part of Athens is in Oconee County.

Input On Data From Rep. Gaines

Houston Gaines, 117th House District Representative, sent me an email message early on Saturday afternoon saying he has been in conversation with representatives of the Department of Public Health.

I had asked Gaines for assistance in gaining additional information about the Department of Public Heath data. Gaines is one of Oconee County’s two representatives, and my representative.

“There are many reasons for lags in reporting and/or changes in the data,” Gaines wrote.

“You have small practices that are faxing/calling in cases one at a time. Information is being recorded as that individual’s county of residence,” Gaines said.

“For example, in the nursing home situation in Athens, these should all be recorded as Clarke Co. However, it’s possible that an individual in the facility has an outdated residence in another county,” according to the email.

“If DPH is able to find updated information, they correct it--so that’s how numbers can change from county to county (those cases/deaths numbers do not disappear),” Gaines wrote.

“These are just a couple of examples of where issues occur,” he said.

Charts Updated

The first three charts below are updates of those I’ve used in recent posts.

The first is for the Northeast Health District of the Department of Public Health, and data for the noon Daily Status Report on Saturday are now included.

Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)

The second chart is cumulative showing trends for the state of Georgia.

Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)

The third chart shows the data for deaths and confirmed cases added on a daily basis for the state.

Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)

The final chart is a new one showing the percentages of tests that have produced a positive verdict (that is, a confirmed COVID-19 infection) by the cumulative number of tests.

The chart also shows the percentage of hospitalizations per confirmed COVID-19 test and the percentage of deaths per confirmed COVID-19 test.

The last figure--on percentage of deaths per diagnosis--has remained very steady in recent weeks.

Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for finding out about the Oconee case and explaining it. So glad you are doing the region. Very much appreciate the new graph.