The seven-day rolling averages of added confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths attributed to the disease increased both in the state of Georgia as a whole and in the 10-county Northeast Health District with the release of the Daily Status Report on Saturday.
The increases at the state level were quite dramatic, as the state added 1,018 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths.
The seven-day rolling average of confirmed cases at the state level jumped to 784.6 cases per day on Saturday, from 737.4 on Friday, and the string of increases goes back to May 31.
The seven-day rolling average of deaths at the state level increased from 34.9 deaths per day on Friday to 38.3 deaths per day on Saturday, and the string of increased deaths per day goes back to June 8.
The seven day rolling average of added COVID-19 cases in the 10-county Northeast Health District increased from 20.0 on Friday to 23.1 on Saturday. Oconee County did not add any cases, but Clarke County added three.
The added death in the District brought the seven-day rolling average of deaths up from 1.6 deaths per day on Friday to 1.7 on Saturday.
The newly recorded death was of a 60-year-old male in Walton County without a chronic condition.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that the number of available Critical Care Beds in area hospitals had increased to 26 after dropping to 10 on June 4.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said that only six of the 28 newly reported deaths occurred within the last 14 days.
It recorded one of the new deaths on April 27, three on May 11, and 14 of those deaths from May 25 to May 30.
The Department of Public Health also removed two deaths earlier recorded, so the actual number of added deaths was 30, not 28.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency in its Friday Situation Report said the number of Current Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations had dropped by six from Thursday and the number of ventilators in use had dropped by 12.
The Situation Report for Saturday had not been released when I wrote this post.
The Georgia Department of Community Health did not produce a Long-Term Care Facility Report on Saturday.
It is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the status of COVID-19 in the state, given the changes in testing, which affect identification of cases, the delays in the recording of both cases and deaths, and the uncertainty about what actually is being counted.
The three state agencies releasing reports, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Community Health, and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, provide minimal information about how the data are gathered and recorded, and inconsistencies between and even within reports are common.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency, in fact, provides no methodological details, and its reports are the most optimistic of the three and stand in contrast with the trends of the other two.
While cases and deaths are going up in the Department of Public Health reports, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency says that hospital demand and ventilator use has gone down and offers no explanation for that seemingly conflictual finding.
Media reports often focus on a newly released statistic and give confusing information about trends.
Check On Computation
I checked my computation of the rolling averages of cases in Chart 1 below against those of a group that produces a website called How We Reopen Safely. The numbers are exactly the same.
Here’s how this group describes itself:
“We are a group of public health and crisis experts. With former experience working at the White House, Department of Health and Human Services, and on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. We are a non-partisan group, having worked across multiple administrations. We built this site to track each state's progress towards stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“Our focus is the data available on the ground and how we can surface it in meaningful ways for state and local leaders to act on.”
The web site lists collaborators on the project and data sources.
On Saturday, the group labeled Georgia as “Red”, “Trending Poorly,” with COVID-19 cases “increasing.”
The two dual-axis charts below are based on data from the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report, updated with the release of the report at 2:50 p.m. on Saturday.
Chart 1 shows the seven-day rolling averages of added cases for both the state of Georgia and for the 10-county Northeast Health District. The data for the state are plotted on the left-hand axis, and the data for the region are plotted on the right-hand axis.
Chart 2 shows the seven-day rolling averages of added deaths for both the state of Georgia and for the 10-county Northeast Health District. The data for the state are plotted on the left-hand axis, and the data for the region are plotted on the right-hand axis.
While the long-term trends for the District and the state are consistent, there are significant variations between the District and the state in both of the charts.
The data for the state include the data for the Northeast Health District, and the 10 counties in that District are a small subset of the 159 counties in the state. So local patterns get cancelled out and masked by other trends in the larger data set.
|Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)|
|Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)|