The Department of Public Health Daily Status Report on Friday listed 190 new Northeast Health District COVID-19 cases and two COVID-19 deaths–one in Oconee County–resulting in small drops in the seven-day rolling averages of cases and deaths.
The death in Oconee County was of a 63-year-old female without a chronic condition, while the second death was of an 80-year-male without a known chronic condition in Walton County.
The seven-day rolling average of added deaths dropped from 2.0 on Thursday to 1.7 on Friday.
The Department of Community Health, in its Long-Term Care Facility Report on Friday, listed a death at Social Circle Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Walton County that may or may not be the death recorded in the Daily Status Report. Deaths at nursing and personal care homes often do not appear in the Daily Status Report.
The 190 new cases added in the Daily Status Report on Friday were 10.2 percent of the new COVID-19 cases in the entire state of Georgia, though the population of the 10 counties is only 4.9 percent of the state’s population.
Each of the 10 counties in the District except Oglethorpe added at least one case on Friday, with Oconee County adding 10 and Clarke County adding 109, or 57.4 percent of the total. Clarke County has only 24.5 percent of the District’s population of 530,630.
In the last seven days, Clarke County added 904 cases, or 64.8 percent of the 1,395 cases added in the District. Oconee County, with 7.9 percent of the population of the District, contributed 57 cases in the last seven days, or 4.1 percent of the District’s 1,395 added cases.
Tests, Staff Infections
The Department of Public Health reported on Friday that 8.1 percent of the molecular tests recorded for Oconee County were positive, and the seven-day rolling average for the percentage dropped from 8.2 on Thursday to 7.6 on Friday.
For Clarke County, the Friday percentage of molecular tests resulting in a positive verdict was 12.7, and the seven-day rolling average for this percentage dropped from 14.1 on Thursday to 13.5 on Friday.
The statewide figure on Friday was 7.8 percent positive tests.
The seven-day rolling average of added cases in the Northeast Health District dropped from 200.9 on Thursday to 199.3 on Friday.
The Department of Community Health also reported three new COVID-19 positive staff, one at St. Mary’s Highland Hills Village, 1660 Jennings Mill Road in Oconee County, one at Social Circle Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and the other at Legacy Health and Rehabilitation nursing home in Greensboro.
Oconee County Schools
Oconee County Schools reported on Friday that the total number of Active COVID-19 Cases in the schools as of 4 p.m. on Friday was 10, and the total number of Active Quarantines Due To Close Contact was 38.
The number of Active Cases is down by one from last week, while the number of Quarantines is down by 44. Oconee County Schools had reported 117 Quarantines on Aug. 28.
Oconee County Schools does not report any information on the characteristics of those who tested positive or of those who are quarantined. Nor does it provide any information on the schools where the cases and quarantines occur.
Since last week, parents have forwarded to me emails from principals at Oconee County Middle School and North Oconee High School reporting cases at those two schools. The Middle school email was dated Sept. 8, and the high school email was dated Sept. 9.
Other school systems in Georgia are providing more detailed information. Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest school system in the state, is reporting at the end of each school day and providing data by school and separately for staff and students.
Walton County Schools is issuing weekly reports similar to those of Oconee County and, with a larger students body, reported on Friday six positive cases and 150 quarantines.
It is difficult to compare statistics across the school districts because of the variability in instructional options.
Clarke County Schools has reopened with virtual instruction.
Hospitals, Long-Term Care Facilities
The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency on Friday reported that area hospitals had 91 COVID-19 patients, down from 93 on Thursday, 65 ICU Beds In Use out of a capacity of 70, down from 68 on Thursday, and 35 ventilators in use, up from 28 on Thursday.
The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 patients has increased each of the last two days and the figure of 91 COVID-19 Patients on Friday is higher than any day except Thursday going back to Sept. 1.
Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell released a statement on the county web site on Friday saying he and other local governmental leaders had participated in a conference call with area healthcare providers and hospitals regarding COVID-19 on Thursday.
“We have seen in recent days a significant increase in cases, mostly among the college student population,” the statement continued. “This increase is concerning. We all recognize that our campuses are not in a bubble, and any cases among students can spread to the greater population--which is why we reiterate the importance of wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing.”
“Fortunately, the number of COVID-19 positive patients in our hospitals are decreasing locally--albeit not at the same level of improvement we’re seeing in other parts of the state,” the joint statement continues.
The statement is at odds with the data from the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). Those data are for the 12-county Region E, which includes the 10 counties in the Department of Public Health Northeast Health District plus Hart and Franklin counties.
Piedmont Athens Regional and St. Mary’s are the dominant hospitals in Region E with more than 60 percent of the total bed capacity covered by the GHA and GEMA report.
According to the statement by Daniells, the health care officials have not “seen signs of hospitalization increases among students to date. Statewide, numbers continue to improve, and we must work to ensure our area follows.”
Across the state on Friday, the Department of Public Health reported 46 deaths attributed to COVID-19, and the seven-day rolling average of added deaths dropped from 48.9 on Thursday to 46.1 on Friday.
Of those 46 deaths, 24 were in the last 14 days, and the seven-day rolling average of added deaths dated by occurrence remained unchanged from Thursday to Friday.
The Department of Public Health reported that it eliminated two deaths previously attributed to COVID-19 from its records with the release of the Friday report.
The state reported adding 1,863 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, and the seven-day rolling average of added cases dropped from 1,757.0 on Thursday to 1,718.6 on Friday.
The number of molecular tests also dropped, with 15,725 reported in the Daily Status Report on Friday, and the seven-day rolling average of added tests declined from 18,847.0 on Thursday to 18,027.7 on Friday.
Across the state, the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency on Friday reported that hospitals had 1,554 COVID-19 patients, up from 1,540 on Thursday, 2,327 ICU Beds In Use, up from 2,325 on Thursday, and 999 ventilators in use, down from 1,016 on Thursday.
The Department of Community Health listed 642 long-term care facilities across the state with COVID-19 among their residents and/or staff on Friday, up from 640 on Thursday.
All of the charts 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 Friday.
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.
Chart 3 presents data for Oconee and Clarke counties in the main chart and for Oconee County Schools in the insert.
Charts 4 and 5 show data for the entire state of Georgia.
Click on any of the charts to enlarge it.