Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Northeast Heath District Joins The State In Reporting Large Numbers of COVID-19 Cases And Deaths

***Rolling Averages Of Cases And Deaths Increase In Region***

The 10-county Northeast Health District does not always reflect the general patterns of the state when the Department of Public Health releases its Daily Status Report on COVID-19 each day, but it did so on Tuesday.

The day the state recorded a record 137 deaths, the Northeast Health District recorded two–not a record number, but enough to push the seven-day rolling average of added deaths to 1.9, a level last reached on July 16.

When the state added 3,639 new cases on Monday, pushing the seven-day rolling average up to its highest level in more than a week, the Northeast Health District added 179 cases, pushing up the seven-day rolling average of added cases to 156.0 from 150.6 on Monday and 151.0 on Sunday.

Every county in the 10-county District added cases on Tuesday, with Oconee County adding nine cases and Clarke County adding 36.

The two deaths in the District were of a 62-year-old male in Clarke County with a chronic condition and of an 88-year-old female in Jackson County without a chronic condition.

The Department of Community Health, in its Tuesday Long-Term Care Facility Report, listed two additional deaths at the University Nursing and Rehab Center in Athens-Clarke County, and the Monday report had listed a death at a nursing home in Greene County.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the Long-Term Care Facility Report often are not reflected in the Daily Status Report, though the Department of Public Health now produces the Long-Term Care Facility Report based on data gathered by the Department of Community Health.

The Long-Term Care Facility Report on Tuesday also added a COVID-19 Positive Staff at the nursing home in Greene County that had the death reported on Monday and at a separate personal care home in Greene County.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday reported that six of the 70 Critical Care Beds at area hospitals were unoccupied, down from 10 on Monday.

Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, director of Communications for Oconee County Schools, said on Tuesday morning that “We have two clinically suspected cases total” but no confirmed COVID-19 cases at the schools.

School Notice

Jennifer L. Whitaker, principal at High Shoals Elementary School, sent parents an email on Saturday saying “I am emailing today to inform you that an individual in your child’s class has been notified by a healthcare professional that they are clinically suspected to have COVID-19.

“There is no required action needed on your part,” the email message continued. “However, as always, if you have healthcare concerns, please contact your family’s healthcare provider.

“Those who met the Department of Public Health's contact tracing guidelines have already been notified,” according to the email.

“If you have not been notified, your child does not meet the ‘close contact’ criteria--that is, being within 6 feet of the individual for 15 or more minutes within 2 days of when the individual first had symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, or received a clinical diagnosis/suspicion of COVID-19.

“Please also know that your child’s classroom/bus is being thoroughly disinfected,” the email message said.

Those students who met the Department of Public Health guidelines have been quarantined, the message said.

“Per privacy guidelines, no additional information can be shared regarding this individual,” the note stated.

Monday School Report

The Rocky Branch Elementary School email was similarly worded.

The Department of Public Health Eighth Amended Administrative Order for Public Health, issued on July 28, defines Persons With Suspected COVID-19 as those who have been notified “by a healthcare provider or public health official that COVID-19 infection is diagnosed or suspected based on symptoms.” 

I reported in Monday’s post that Jimenez said no COVID-19 cases had been identified after the first three days of school last week.

I had asked Sullivan on Monday, “can you provide details on the number of positive COVID-19 tests at school last week among students and separately among faculty and staff and tell me what has been done as a result?”

Her answer was: “Zero.”

State Data

The 3,639 new COVID-19 cases added across all 159 counties of the state on Tuesday pushed the seven-day rolling average of added cases to 3,563.6, up from 3,411.3 on Monday. The average has increased each of the last six days.

The 137 newly reported deaths is a record, greatly exceeding the 100 deaths recorded on April 7.

The seven-day rolling average of added deaths on Tuesday was 64.6, also a new record. That figure had been 56.6 on Monday.

The Department of Public Health eliminated 25 deaths from the file, so the actual number of added deaths was even higher.

Eighty-eight of the added deaths occurred in the last 14 days, and the seven-day rolling average of added deaths jumped from Monday. One of the deaths added on Tuesday was dated as occurring on March 27.

The Department of Community Affairs reported on Tuesday that 618 of the state’s 790 long-term care facilities with 25 or more beds had COVID-19 among its residents and/or staff, up from 615 on Monday.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported that the state had 2,881 Current Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations on Tuesday, up by 10 from the day earlier, but the number of ventilators in use dropped from 1,246 on Monday to 1,234 on Tuesday.


Charts 1 to 4 below are based on data from the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report and have been updated to include data from the release of that report at 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday.

Charts 1 and 2 include data from the 10-county Northeast Health District of the Department of Public Health, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties.

Charts 3 and 4 show data for the entire state of Georgia.

Click on any of the charts to enlarge it.

Chart 1

Chart 2

Chart 3

Chart 4

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