Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Northeast Health District Reports Largest Number Of New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Ever And Four Deaths From Disease

***Oconee County Adds More Two Nursing Home Deaths***

The Northeast Health District added 81 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 1 p.m. Department of Public Health Daily Status Report on Wednesday and four new deaths.

The number of new cases is the largest number ever added in a 24-hour period, and the seven-day rolling average of added cases jumped from 24.9 on Tuesday to 34.4 on Wednesday.

The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths in the 10-county region also increased from 1.4 on Tuesday to 1.9 on Wednesday, as the region has added 13 deaths in the last seven days.

Every county but Morgan and Oglethorpe added at least one confirmed COVID-19 case in the Daily Status Report, with Oconee County adding four cases and Clarke County adding 25.

The new deaths were of a 78-year-old female in Barrow County, an 83-year-old male in Jackson County, an 81-year-old female in Oglethorpe County, and an 89-year-old male in Walton County.

The Department of Community Health Long-Term Care Facility Report added 14 deaths at long-term care facilities in the 10-county Northeast Health District from its report on May 22 to its most recent report issued late on Tuesday.

Two of those deaths were at the High Shoals Health and Rehabilitation nursing home in North High Shoals in western Oconee County, which has reported a total of six deaths.

Ten of those deaths were at University Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Old Epps Bridge Road in Clarke County.

The most recent report lists 40 of its 71 residents with COVID-19 and six staff with the disease. Both are increases from the report on May 22.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency Situation Report COVID-19 for Tuesday reported that the number of available Critical Care Beds at area hospitals increased to 15 on Tuesday from 12 on Saturday. The hospitals have a total of 70 such beds.

State Data

The state of Georgia added 691 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 with the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, lower than the 926 added on Wednesday a week ago.

The seven-day rolling average of added cases dropped from 715.6 on Tuesday to 682.0 on Wednesday.

The Daily Status Report added 36 new deaths on Wednesday, and the seven-day average of added deaths increased from 29.6 on Tuesday to 31.4 on Wednesday.

The Department of Public Health reported that only 19 of those 36 deaths occurred in the last 14 days, and the seven-day rolling average of deaths added, based on date of occurrence rather than date of reporting, held steady, rather than increase or decline.

The Department of Community Health reported that COVID-19 on Tuesday was present at 386 long-term care facilities around the state, up from 384 on May 22.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported late on Tuesday 854 Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations, down from 892 on Monday, and 1,993 available ventilators, up from 1,957 on Monday.

Conflicting Information

The information being released by the state about the COVID-19 pandemic often does not match.

Chart 4 below presents data from two of those sources, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Community Health, for the 10-county Northeast Health District, and shows the conflicts between them.

Data not included in that chart but specific to Oconee County show that between May 14 and May 26, Oconee County added 39 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report.

According to the Department of Community Health Long-Term Care Facility reports, between May 14 and May 26, Oconee County had only one long-term care facility with a COVID-19 case.

That was at High Shoals Health and Rehabilitation, 3450 New High Shoals Road.

According to that agency’s reports, between May 14 and May 26 that nursing home added 26 new cases of COVID-19 Positive Residents, four COVID-19 deaths, and three cases of COVID-19 Positive Staff.

That would mean that of the 39 new cases from Department of Public Health report, 26 could be among patients in the nursing home, leaving 13 new cases outside the nursing home.

Three of those 13 could be staff members at the New High Shoals nursing home, if they lived in the county, but 10 would seem to have no connection to the nursing home.

Further Reports

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry on Tuesday reported that, based on data given him by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Oconee County had four Active COVID-19 addresses, that is, addresses where a COVID-19 positive person lived.

One of those addresses, Berry wrote on Facebook, “is the nursing home.”

So that leaves three addresses, rather than the 13 new cases in the Department of Public Health Report, as Active.

It is at least possible that only three of the 13 new cases outside the nursing home listed in the Department of Public Health Report since May 14 truly is Active. A case is listed as Inactive 21 days after onset of the disease.

It is impossible, with the information being released, to know the answer.

Adding to the uncertainty, WGAU’s Tim Bryant reported early on Wednesday morning that Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center “over the holiday weekend” admitted “more than two dozen coronavirus patients” and they were “all from two nursing homes in Oconee County.”

I have tried to get a confirmation of that report from Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center but have not received any response so far.

As noted, the Department of Community Health as of 2 p.m. on Tuesday reported only a single nursing home in Oconee County with COVID-19 cases.

Charts

The six charts below summarize the data from the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report, updated as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday, and from the Department of Community Health Long-Term Care Facility Report, updated as of 2 p.m. on Tuesday. (The report usually is released later in the day.)

The first four charts are for the 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties. The final two charts are for the state of Georgia.

Chart 4 shows a comparison of the data in the Daily Status Report for 1 p.m. Wednesday with the data in the Long-Term Care Facility Report for Tuesday evening.

I usually have not included the hospitalization data in my recent charts because the term is misleading.

According to the Department of Public Health, “This number includes the confirmed COVID-19 cases that were hospitalized at the time the case was reported to DPH or when the case was interviewed.

“This number does not capture hospitalizations that occur after a confirmed case was reported and, as such, is likely an underestimation of actual hospitalizations.”

Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 5 (Click To Enlarge)

Chart 6 (Click To Enlarge)

4 comments:

Xardox said...

Having been a practicing physician for over three decades, been on the Board of Health, done work with the US Army as an Associate Investigator for a certain vaccine for a rare virus, keeping up with technology, and a student of history, it has been fascinating to watch this debacle unfold.
Dr. Becker has been extremely conscientious in his running reports,
using the data available to him. I am unaware if he has sought science advice.
Unfortunately, Georgia is one of the states documented to have its published data tainted by using two methods of testing inappropriately lumped together.
See: Main article in The Atlantic, no friend to conservatives.
Further, it is being revealed today that gunshot victims have been added to Covid-19 numbers.
It is clear that the reaction has been extreme, with "extreme" being the correct adverb, as a deeper study of the data is leading to corrections unsupportive of the lockdown measures forced upon Americans.
It will not surprise anyone that I believe the motives are political.
WSM MD

Lee Becker said...

Bill Mayberry,

The Department of Public Health has acknowledged the issue of using two different types of tests. As far as I know, it has not clarified how that might affect the reporting of cases.

I can find only one source online for the claim that gunshot victims are being counted as COVID-19 deaths. That is from a conservative talk radio station in the state of Washington.

Lee

Unknown said...

On political rewind today, the public health expert noted that the mixing of antibody test results with viral test results makes the testing data published by the Dept of Public Health impossible to interpret, but by leading to increased number of tests, it makes it appear that the state is meeting the CDC guidelines on testing when it may actually not be. When there is no clarity in the data, there can be no true accuracy on how the pandemic is affecting the state. I feel for the poor people in the nursing homes, both residents and staff. I wish the Dept of Public Health would do what is necessary to help them out of their mess.

Jeanne Barsanti

Lee Becker said...

Jeanne,

I think there are problems with all of the data being reported. The biggest problem is that the methodology is poorly spelled out. The only thing we can do is try to examine as many different data points as possible and make sense of what they say as a whole.

Lee