The Northeast Health District of the Department of Public Health added 154 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, a new record, and the seven-day rolling average increased to 93.9 cases, also a new record.
Across the state, 4,484 new cases were added in the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report for Friday, also a new record, pushing the seven-day rolling average to 2,959.7 cases, a new record.
Oconee County added 11 new cases, and Clarke County added 56. Each of the other eight counties in the district also added two or more cases on Friday.
One of the three deaths listed in the Daily Status Report on Friday was of 68-year-old Oconee County female with no chronic conditions. Oconee County now has 12 deaths attributed to the disease, and Clarke County has 15.
The other two deaths were of an 84-year-old female in Barrow County without a chronic condition and of a 57-year-old male in Jackson County, also without a chronic condition.
The Department of Community Health has listed four deaths at a Jackson County nursing home since June 30, but none of them has been recorded in the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report.
It is unlikely the 57-year-old whose death was reported in the Daily Status Report on Friday was a nursing home resident, though it is impossible to rule that out with certainty given the information released to the public.
The Department of Community Health reported on Friday that one additional staff member at the University Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Athens was COVID-19 positive, bringing the total staff at the facility having reported positive to four.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency, in its Friday Situation Report COVID-19, listed 60 Critical Care Beds in use at area hospitals and 10 Critical Care Beds available, the same numbers reported in the Thursday Situation Report.
Statement by Local Officials
Late on Friday afternoon Oconee County placed a statement on the county web site signed by Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell and other governmental leaders reassuring residents about the situation at local hospitals.
“This afternoon, we held another conference call update with our local healthcare providers and the Department of Public Health for the latest information locally on COVID-19,” the statement reads.
The statement said “our providers are better prepared than ever to treat COVID-19. Less patients are ending up in ICU and less patients are requiring ventilators.
“While there are reports of local hospitals nearing ICU bed capacity, most of these patients are not COVID-19 related,” the statement continues.
“Our hospitals continue to have the ability to expand ICU bed space as needed, but that has not been necessary to date,” according to the statement.
At Odds With Data
The statement makes a number of statements that are not consistent with the data.
“We are continuing to see an increase in cases in this area and around the state. While not where we were at the height of the first wave, we’ve seen a significant uptick,” according to the statement.
Across the state and locally, the numbers are much higher than they were in April, as is obvious in Chart 1 and Chart 3 below.
“The seven day rolling average has begun to plateau, so we remain hopeful we’ll begin to head back in the right direction,” the statement continues.
Any hint of a leveling off of the seven-day averages was erased by the numbers released both at the local level and at the state level on Friday and reported in Charts 1 and 3.
I sent Daniell an email message on Friday after the statement was posted and asked him to explain the discrepancy between the statement and the data, but he did not respond. (Daniell responded shortly after I posted and told me the reference to "height of the first wave" was to hospitalizations rather than cases. The state did not start releasing data on Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations until May 1.)
Addition Details On Patients
“Over the last several weeks, many hospitalizations had been as a result of nursing home patients,” the statement continues. “However, we are now seeing more community spread resulting in hospitalizations.
“There’s a greater range in age of patients that providers are seeing. There is an increase among younger individuals who are testing positive (although not necessarily among hospitalization numbers),” according to the statement.
“These younger patients are increasing the spread, and this remains an important area of focus to reduce community spread,” the statement reads.
“Testing has once again become an issue with labs seeing much more demand and a limited supply chain. All hands are on deck to improve turnaround time, but it remains an issue at this time,” according to the statement.
“Overall, the best thing we can do is continue to social distance, wear a mask, wash our hands, and be smart,” the leaders state. “These efforts will help those most vulnerable among us and ensure we’re able to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Thank you to our healthcare heroes who remain on the front lines--our community appreciates you so much," the statement concludes.
The statement was signed by Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz, Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle, state Senators Bill Cowsert and Frank Ginn, and state Representatives Spencer Frye, Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, in addition to Daniell.
Additional State Data
Across the state, the 35 newly reported deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the Friday Daily Status report pushed the seven-day rolling average to 15.6 on Friday from 11.6 on Thursday.
(In the Northeast Health District, the seven-day rolling average increased from 0.1 on Thursday to 0.6 on Friday.)
The 35 deaths reported in the state included 27 that occurred in the last 14 days, and the seven-day rolling average of added deaths based on date of occurrence rather than date of reporting also increased.
The Department of Public Health also removed four deaths previously included in the Daily Status Report, so the actual number of new deaths added on Friday was 39.
The Department of Community Health listed 543 long-term care facilities with COVID-19 among its residents and/or staff on Friday, up from 540 on Thursday.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency listed 2,443 Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations, the highest number ever reported by the Agency.
The number of ventilators in use increased to 990 from 983 on Thursday.
The four charts below are based on data from the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report and have been updated for the release of the report at 2:50 p.m. on Friday.
The first two charts are for the 10-county Northeast Health District, and the final two charts are for the state of Georgia.
In all four charts both the actual number of new cases or death is reported, as well as the seven-day rolling average.
|Chart 1 (Click To Enlarge)|
|Chart 2 (Click To Enlarge)|
|Chart 3 (Click To Enlarge)|
|Chart 4 (Click To Enlarge)|