Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Seven-Day Rolling Average Of Added COVID-19 Confirmed Cases In Northeast Health District Increases Second Day In Row

***State Issues New Long-Term Care Facility Report***

The Northeast Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health added 32 cases of confirmed COVID-19 at noon on Wednesday, down from the 33 cases added a day earlier but up from the 24 cases added on Wednesday of last week.

The seven-day rolling average of added COVID-19 cases for the 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties, increased for the second day in a row, to 23.0 cases, up from 21.9 on Tuesday and 20.6 on Monday.

Oconee County added only a single case, and the cumulative number of cases stands at 59.

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry added two more cases to the list of Active COVID-19 cases in the county on Tuesday, bringing the total to 17. An active case also had been added on Monday, and a case remains active for 21 days after the onset of symptoms.

The Northeast Health District added no new deaths with the noon Daily Status Report on Wednesday. The number stands at 27.

The Department of Public Health released an updated Long-Term Care Facility Report on Tuesday afternoon that listed eight nursing homes and four personal care homes in the 10-county Northeast Health District as having COVID-19 Positive residents or staff.

None of Oconee County’s more than a half dozen facilities was on the list.

Across the state, according to the noon Wednesday Daily Status Report, the Department of Public Health counted 723 new cases of confirmed COVID-19, down from 778 on Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of added cases declined from 667.1 to 647.7.

The state recorded 32 deaths ever in the 24-hour-period ending at noon on Wednesday, and the seven-day rolling average decreased slight from 31.6 to 30.9. (This is a correction from the initial report, which contained a data recording error.)

Long-Term Care Report

The Long-Term Care Report states that it “includes COVID-19 activity for all licensed nursing homes, all licensed assisted living communities, and licensed personal care homes of 25 beds or more.”

Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)

The Personal Care Home category includes both personal care homes and assisted living communities, but only those facilities with 25 beds or more are included.

The report includes three facilities in Clarke County, three in Walton County, and one each in Barrow, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan and Oglethorpe counties.

The facilities have 936 residents, with 92 listed as COVID-Positive Residents, and 41 COVID-Positive Staff.

The Comer Health and Rehabilitation nursing home in Madison County listed one staff as COVID-19 positive but no residents who had tested positive for the disease.

The report states that the reported figures are the “cumulative number of residents who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus” and the “cumulative number of COVID-19 positive residents who have died.”

Deaths Listed In Report

The report lists 16 COVID-19 deaths at the Northeast Health District facilities, including 11 at Pruitthealth Grandview in Athens, three at The Pearl at Loganville in Walton County, and two at Quiet Oaks Health Care Center in Crawford in Oglethorpe County.

The Daily Status Report from the Department of Public Health on Tuesday listed 13 deaths COVID-19 in Clarke County, three in Walton County, and three in Oglethorpe County.

It is possible, if the Department of Public Health used the county of the facility, rather than the former address of the resident, that almost all of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in these counties were at these nursing homes.

The Department of Public Health does not indicate how deaths in the Long-Term Care facilities are recorded in the Daily Status Reports.

The Long-Term Care Facility Report on Tuesday emphasized that the data in the report were provided by the long term care facilities themselves.

“Surveyors within the Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR) Division of DCH have been contacting long-term care facilities for several weeks to provide monitoring and oversight support as part of the State’s response to the COVID-19 public health crisis,” the Department of Community Health (DCH) statement released on Tuesday specifies.

The Healthcare Facility Regulation Division also “has conducted some onsite surveys,” the report states, but those have been limited “to conserve the supply of Personal Protective Equipment.”

This is at least the fourth Long-Term Care Facility Report issued by the Department of Public Health, but the earlier ones were full of inconsistencies and have been taken down from the Department of Public Health site.

Across the state, the Long-Term Care Facility Report lists 3,106 COVID Positive Residents at long-term care facilities and 450 deaths.

Other Local Data Charts

Chart 2 below plots the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across time for the 10-county Northeast Health District (orange line, left-hand vertical axis) and for the state of Georgia (blue line, right-hand vertical axis.)

The number of active cases in Oconee County is shown in the box at the top, left. Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry receives these data as head of the county’s 911 Center and began releasing the data to the public on April 26.

The chart is updated to include the raw data on confirmed cases from the noon Wednesday Daily Status Report.

Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 3 below shows the actual number of new reported confirmed COVID-19 cases across time in the Northeast Health District, with the blue line showing the actual count and the orange line showing the rolling or moving seven-day average.

The lines have been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Wednesday Daily Status Report.

Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)

Active Cases

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry began releasing the count of Active Cases of COVID-19 to the public on Sunday.

He took his number from a report of addresses of Active Cases his 911 Center receives from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). The data come from the Department of Public Health and are intended to help the county’s first responders who might be sent to an address.

Berry posted a message on his Facebook page on Tuesday saying he had been asked to remove the information.

“I just received a call from Michael Nix at GEMA instructing me that I should take down my post about the 21 day drop off dates,” Berry wrote.

Michael Nix is the Executive Director of the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority and the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator at GEMA.

“It was a rather heated conversation in which I told him that people could handle the truth, and the disparity in numbers is more explainable than the state withholding information that the public needs,” Berry continued.

“However, I agreed to take down the drop off dates since most of you can do basic math,” the Sheriff continued.

“Y'all elected me to be your Sheriff, and your Sheriff I will be,” Berry wrote. “I won't be around much longer and GEMA and everyone else will breath a sigh of relief I am sure.”

Berry is retiring at the end of the year.

State Charts

Chart 4 below summarizes the cumulative data from the state of Georgia on four indicators: number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, number of tests for the disease, and number of hospitalizations for treatment of the disease.

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.

The chart at the top-left differs from Chart 2 in that it goes back further in time.

Each of the four charts has been updated to include the numbers included in the noon Wednesday Daily Status Report.

Chart 4r (Click To Enlarge)

Status Report Definitions

Confusion has reigned following the reformatting of the Daily Status Report on Monday evening by the Department of Public Health (DPH).

Here are key definitions based on the explanations offered on Tuesday with the issuance of the noon Daily Status Report.

*Total Tests: Includes tests performed as reported to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and is not reflective of the number of persons tested because multiple tests might be performed per individual.

*Confirmed COVID-19 Cases: Defines the count of all confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. All those who have a lab-confirmed infection are counted as confirmed cases. Some confirmed cases from the last 14 days might not be reflected or accounted for as recent illnesses might not be reported yet or might have pending test results. Delays in reporting can cause the number of COVID-19 cases reported on previous days to increase and might not reflect cases that have yet to be reported. Given the time taken to conduct laboratory testing, confirmed cases from a previous day might be added to the daily counts a few days later.

*Hospitalizations: Defines the count of confirmed cases in which the patient was hospitalized at the time of reporting to DPH. Because of how this number is reported to DPH, it may be underreported. This number does not represent the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases currently hospitalized.

*Deaths: Defines the total number of Georgia residents who are confirmed COVID-19 cases that were reported as deaths on the Person Under Investigation (PUI) to DPH. These numbers might not reflect all deaths from COVID-19 due to challenges in attribution of the cause of death.

Chart 5 below provides the actual number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Georgia attributable to the disease going back to March 2. Those data are plotted with the blue lines.

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 Wednesday Daily Status Report.

Chart 5r (Click To Enlarge)

The noon Wednesday Daily Status Report listed 25,274 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state.

At noon on Tuesday, it listed 24,551 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state.

That is a difference of 723, or the number of added new cases.

Yet a chart of COVID-19 Confirmed Cases in the noon Daily Status Report for noon on Wednesday lists only 12 new cases and a seven-day rolling average of 222.3.

The seven-day rolling average based on the logging of cases is 647.7, as I wrote above.

The explanation for the discrepancy is in a note beneath the table.

The chart shows a “14-day window” for the data for the last 14 days. “Confirmed cases over the last 14 days may not be accounted for due to illnesses yet to be reported or test results may still be pending.”

The Department of Public Health is dating cases that are logged in the Daily Status Report each day based on some estimate of when the symptoms occurred. That pushes the cases back in time and reduces the number of new cases only to the very small number shown in the chart.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You do such a great job. Yes, the state's Dept of Health 7 day rolling average of cases is meaningless for the most recent 7-14 days. We can all watch the number of cases increasing though. Thank you Sheriff Berry!