Friday, April 17, 2020

State Of Georgia And Northeast Health District Report Very Large Numbers of New COVID-19 Cases On Friday

***Oconee And Clarke Coroners Get First Test Kits***

The state of Georgia recorded 1,525 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour-period that ended at noon on Friday, the largest number of new cases ever recorded in the Department of Public Health’s Daily Status Report.

The 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke County, recorded 38 new cases on Friday, the second largest number of new cases listed for the region in the Daily Status Report.

Oconee County now has 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up from 45 on Thursday, and Clarke County has 106, up from 102 on Thursday.

The state recorded 63 new deaths attributable to the Novel Coronavirus on Friday, the second largest number of new deaths in a Daily Status Report since the Department of Public Health began releasing the Daily Status Reports on March 12.

The Northeast Health District had no new deaths recorded in the Friday Daily Status Report, and the total for the region stands at 22. That number has not changed for two day.

The data released by the Department of Public Health reflect differences in reporting based on day of the week, and the rolling or moving average of confirmed cases at the state and local level indicate the disease is continuing to spread.

Oconee County Coroner Ed Carson said on Friday that he received two test kits from the Department of Public Health just before noon, the first kits he has received to allow him to test for the Novel Coronavirus as a cause of death.

Carson said that Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson also received his first two test kits from the Department of Public Health on Friday.


Chart 1 below includes the data from the noon Friday Daily Status report.

The dual-axis line chart shows the number of cases continuing to increase in the region (shown in the thick blue line, calibrated on the axis at the right) as well as in Oconee and Clarke counties (calibrated on the axis at the left).

The table below the chart shows the data for all 10 counties in the Northeast Health District of the Department of Public Health.

The box on the left-hand side of the chart shows the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 for each of the 10 counties.

Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)

The data plotted in Chart 1 are cumulative figures. Chart 2 below lists the number of confirmed cases in the 10-county region by day of report.

The orange line in Chart 2 is the rolling or moving average across seven days. In other words, the data point plotted is the average of the actual data for a given date and of the data for the previous six days.

This procedure smooths the line to compensate for the uneven reporting by the state and indicates, based on that averaging technique, that the incidence of COVID-19 in the region is on the increase again after an earlier decline.

New Department Of Public Works Maps

I also included in the chart a map from Department of Public Health, first used in its 7 p.m. report on Thursday and repeated in the noon Friday Daily Status Report.

The map shows the cumulative number of cases, standardized per 100,000 population, for Census Block Groups in the state.

A Census Block Group is the second level of geographic clustering used by the U.S. Census Bureau, just above the block itself.

The data underlying the map are for April 1-7, and the map shows two hot spots in Oconee County and several in Clarke County, though, lacking detail, it is hard to identify where they are, even with the amplification I used in the pull-out map.

Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)

The standardization by population for what is a geographic area with uneven population size creations a distortion, illustrated by Wilkes County.

Wilkes County is to the southeast of Clarke County, with Washington as the county seat. Wilkes County is not part of the 10-county Northeast Health District or even in the service area for the two Athens hospitals.

The total population of the county is 9,876, by Census Bureau estimates, and it has only 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases, based on the Thursday Daily Status Report.

How many of them are in that block of Census tracks isn’t knowable from the data presented by the Department of Public Health, but it easily could be quite a small number that still produced the dark red designation because the population is small as well.

The Department of Public Health released a report with the new maps, and that report also includes maps of Active Cases.

The footnote to the chart explains, however, that the designation of an Active Case is based solely on the time period between when the test was positive and the creation of the map.

A case was considered to be inactive two weeks after the “date of symptom onset, or when not available, the data the first lab specimen was collected.”

Three State-Wide Charts

Chart 3 below presents updated data for the state of Georgia of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths attributed to the disease, number of tests, and number of hospitalizations.

The data are cumulative.

Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 4 below shows the data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths on a daily basis and also includes the rolling seven-day averages for these two measures.

The uptick of the actual lines and the rolling averages is quite clear.

Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)

The final chart below is an update of one I used earlier to provide three crucial ratios, standardized as percentage, or per 100 members of the population.

The number of tests has increased dramatically in recent days, but the percentage of those tests producing a positive verdict, or confirmed case, has been relatively stable.

Just less than a quarter of those who are tested are positive.

About one in five of those with confirmed cases are being hospitalized. That number has remained stable going back for more than a week.

Data on hospitalizations and tests were included in the Daily Status Report after the Department of Public Health began issuing those reports.

Data on the ratio between death and confirmed cases are available back to March 2, when the first case was reported in Georgia.

Since March 19, that ratio has been very consistent.

The report released by the Department of Public Health at noon on Friday shows that 3.8 percent of those who are tested positive for COVID-19 die from the disease.

Chart 5 (Click To Enlarge)


Jonathon Streetman said...

Hi Dr. Becker,

I just wanted to show my appreciation for your reporting throughout this pandemic. Your daily mailing list has been my go to source for information within our district. Excellent work and very much appreciated!

-Jonathon Streetman

Your "great" Aunt Peggy said...

I add my appreciation to this remark. It has been great reporting for us! Thanks!

Pam Davis said...

Why only two tests each? And why would Oconee and Clarke get the same number when the deaths are higher in Clarke? No need to respond...I clearly know what is going on.

amanda said...

How are you getting less than 25% from today's numbers? Is that a weekly average and not a daily figure?

Today's numbers were 3745 tests recorded and 1525 confirmed cases, which is around 40%

Lee Becker said...

The figures used in the division are cumulative. There is a delay between a test being counted and a verdict being recorded, so the daily ratio isn't really meaningful.
Thank you for asking.

RM said...

Is there any meaningful data on the increase of the number of COVID-19 tests performed daily (either raw or as a rate), over time? My concern is that if testing capacity has not meaningfully increased or otherwise has peaked and flattened then testing may not be capturing disease spread. In a similar line of thought, I was wondering about the spatial context of testing sites, and their efficacy in capturing rural spread.

Lee Becker said...

Dear RM,

The data on testing are in Chart 3, in the lower-left-hand-side subchart. DPH is using a mobile test site that moves about the District.

I am asking again that those whose google address does not include a real name sign their names in the post.

Thank you for the question.