The Department of Public Health added 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 10-county Northeast Health District with its noon Daily Status Report on Sunday, down from the 20 added on Saturday and from the 18 added Sunday a week ago.
The seven-day rolling average of added COVID-19 cases in the Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties, dropped just slightly from 18.6 cases per day to 18.3 on Sunday.
The local data closely matched these reported in the Daily Status Report for the state as a whole, which added 472 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, down from 775 on Saturday but up just slightly from the 469 on May 3.
The seven-day rolling average for the state was 623.9 new cases per day on Sunday, up just slightly from the 623.4 average on Saturday.
No new deaths attributable to COVID-19 were reported on Sunday for the Northeast Health District, and only four new deaths were reported for the state.
Those four deaths were down from the 44 reported on Saturday but down just slightly from the six reported on May 3. The seven-day rolling average of new deaths per day dropped from 33.3 on Saturday to 33.0 on Sunday.
The two deaths at an Oconee County Nursing Home reported in the Department of Public Health Long-Term Care Facility Report on Friday still do not appear in the Daily Status Report figures–and may not ever appear there.
Barrow and Walton counties also have deaths listed in the Long-Term Care Facility Report that do not appear in the Daily Status Report.
Data from Georgia Emergency Management Agency cited by Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday show a consistent drop in the number of COVID-19 Hospitalizations in the state.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency has reported data on COVID-19 hospitalizations only since April 1, though Kemp in his Twitter Post said “Today marks the lowest number of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized statewide (1,203) since hospitals began reporting this data on April 8th.”
Kemp’s figures do not match those of the GEMA report, though the trend line is consistent with his message, showing a decline in COVID-19 Hospitalizations from 1,500 on May 1 to 1,179 on Saturday.
Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry reported on Sunday that GEMA had added no new Active COVID-19 cases to the county’s list, the third day in a row that Berry reported no new Active Cases, which now total 20.
Berry’s Facebook post on Saturday generated chatter about the discrepancy between the Daily Status Report, showing no deaths in Oconee County attributed to COVID-19, and the two reported deaths at High Shoals Health and Rehabilitation nursing home in High Shoals in western Oconee County listed in the Friday Long-Term Care Facility Report.
Different Methodologies, Reports
The discrepancy between the reports also exists in Barrow County, which has five deaths in the Daily Status Report and six deaths in the Long-Term Care Facility Report, and in Walton County, which has six deaths in the Daily Status Report and seven deaths in the Long-Term Care Facility Report.
In early April, an Athens-Clarke County nursing home reported 10 deaths attributed to COVID-19 while the Daily Status Report showed only nine COVID-19 deaths for the county.
The Department of Public Health states that, for the Daily Status Report, deaths are 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.” DPH stands for Department of Public Health.
“These numbers might not reflect all deaths from COVID-19 due to challenges in attribution of the cause of death,” the Daily Status Report states.
The Office of Public Health Informatics at the Georgia Department of Public Health told me in an email message in the middle of April that the data for the Daily Status report come “from numerous sources that include direct reports within our online disease surveillance system, fax and paper reports as well as electronic laboratory reporting from over 74 Georgia hospitals and most of the major commercial laboratories.”
The Long-Term Care Facilities 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."
The facility is asked to report the data for the Long-Term Care Facility report.
Given this description, a death of a nursing home resident that does not occur at a hospital is not certain to appear in the Daily Status Report.
Under these circumstances, the death count in the Daily Status Report represents an undercount of deaths in the state.
During the day on Thursday, the Daily Status Report added a COVID-19 case in Glascock County, bringing the disease to every county in the state.
The first two charts below are for data from the Northeast Health District.
The final three charts are for data for the state, with the final chart showing the GEMA data on hospitalizations.
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