The Northeast Health District added four COVID-19 deaths–including one in Oconee County--with the release of the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report on Friday.
The Daily Status Report also added 114 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the seven-day rolling averages of both deaths and cases increased on Friday.
The Oconee County death was of a male identified as 90 plus in age with a chronic condition. Oconee County now has 27 deaths from the disease.
The other deaths were of a 75-year-old male in Elbert County without a chronic condition, of a 72-year-old male in Walton County without a known chronic condition, and of a 77-year-old male in Walton County with a chronic condition.
The Daily Status report also removed a death recorded on Aug. 19 of a 71-year-old female with a chronic condition in Jackson County.
With the net addition of three deaths, the seven-day rolling average of added deaths increased to 1.7 on Friday from 1.4 on Thursday.
The seven-day rolling average of added cases on Friday increased to 77.9 from 74.6 on Thursday with the addition of the 114 new cases.
Those cases were spread across the 10-county District, with every county adding at least one case. Oconee County added three cases and Clarke County added 36.
Oconee County Schools reported on Friday four Active COVID-19 Cases in the system’s schools, down from six a week earlier, and 56 Active Quarantines Due to Close Contact, down from 112 a week earlier.
The Weekly Status Report does not identify schools or whether the Active Cases involve students, faculty, or staff.
Parents forwarded to me emails from Malcom Bridge Middle School on Oct. 5 and Oct. 7 reporting that “we were alerted to an individual in our school who tested positive for COVID-19.”
Those with the fifth and sixth such notifications I have received from parents from Malcom Bridge Middle School since the school year began.
The Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) reported on Friday that area hospitals had 52 COVID-19 patients, down from 60 on Thursday, 61 ICU beds in use out of a capacity of 70, down from 64 on Thursday, and 30 adult ventilators in use, up from 29 on Thursday.
The Department of Public Health on Friday reported no new molecular tests in both Oconee and Clarke counties for which verdicts were available. The Department also reported no new tests for Thursday.
Long-Term Care Facility Report
The Department of Community Health, in its Long-Term Care Facility Report on Friday, listed no new COVID-19 cases or deaths at the 36 long-term care facilities in the Northeast Health District that have reported cases of the disease among residents and/or staff.
In fact, two long-term care facilities–Magnolia Estates personal care home in Elbert County and The Gardens of Social Circle II personal care home in Walton County–did not file reports on Friday, though both have reported cases in the past.
Magnolia Estates in Elberton had reported a COVID-19 death on Thursday as well as a COVID-19 Positive Staff member.
The data in the Department of Community Health Report are filed by the facilities themselves, and the facilities are not supposed to remove themselves from the list once a case or death has been reported.
The situation in Elbert County is illustrative of the problems with the state’s reports on deaths in the Daily Status Report–which is the official state report on deaths from the corona virus–and in the Long-Term Care Facility Report.
The Long-Term Care Facility Report is assembled by the Department of Community Health, but it is distributed by the Department of Public Health.
Elbert County Problems
As of Friday, the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report, with the newly added death of the 75-year-old male without a chronic condition, had six deaths, three of them in their 70s, one aged 88, and two aged 90 or more.
The Department of Community Health Long-Term Care Facility Report on Friday listed 10 deaths in Elbert County. If the Magnolia Estates in Elberton death is included, that total is 11.
But even that could be an undercount.
PruittHealth Spring Valley in Elberton has reported an inconsistent number of deaths in the Long-Term Care Facility Report in recent weeks.
The number was seven on Oct. 2, up from six the day before, and the number had increased from four to six on Sept. 28.
On Oct. 7, PruittHealth Spring Valley reported it had only five deaths from COVID-19. That number has remained in the report through to Friday.
If those two removed deaths are added back in, Elbert County’s tally in its long-term care facilities is 13, compared the total of six in the Daily Status Report.
The Daily Status Report listed 56 deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Friday, and the seven-day rolling average of added deaths increased to 35.7 from 34.1 on Thursday.
Twenty-five of those deaths were in the last 14 days, and one of the added deaths was recorded as having occurred as far back as Aug. 6, more than a month ago.
The Department of Public Health reported eliminating two deaths from its listing of deaths from the disease, including the one in Jackson County. No explanation is given for the decision to remove a death from the list.
The Department of Public Health added 1,695 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, and the seven-day rolling average of added cases increased to 1,242.1 from 1,191.0 on Thursday.
The state added 29,508 new molecular tests, and the seven-day rolling average of added molecular tests increased to 20,373.7 on Friday from 18,389.9 on Thursday.
The positivity rate of the added tests dropped to 4.9 percent, the first time the rate has been below 5 percent going back to early June, when these data were first released. The seven-day rolling average of that statistic dropped to 5.5 on Friday from 5.6 on Thursday.
Across the state, the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported 1,247 COVID-19 patients on Friday, down from 1,284 on Thursday, 2,333 ICU beds in use, up from 2,304 on Thursday, and 894 adult ventilators in use, up from 882 on Thursday.
The Department of Community Health listed 645 long-term care facilities with COVID-19 among its residents and/or staff on Friday, down from 646 on Thursday. At least two facilities–in Elbert and Walton counties–incorrectly removed themselves from the list.
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.