Friday, August 20, 2021

Oconee, Clarke, Northeast District COVID-19 Cases Continue To Climb; Hospital Cases And ICU Bed Use Increase

***Oconee School Cases Up Sharply***

The 10 county Northeast Health District added 2,558 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Friday and six new confirmed deaths from the disease.

The 2,558 added cases of COVID-19 and six deaths compare with the 1,964 new cases and five confirmed deaths added in the week ending Aug. 13.

The average of 365.4 new cases per day for the week ending on Friday compares with the average of 280.6 new cases per day for the week ending on Aug. 13.

Oconee County added 168 cases in the week ending on Friday, compared with 126 on Friday of last week.

Clarke County added 466 new cases on Friday, compared with 346 on Friday of last week.

Rolling Averages

The seven-day rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday per 100,000 population was 54.7, and it was 51.4 in Clarke County.

A week ago those rolling averages had been 40.3 in Oconee County and had been 37.6 in Clarke County.

(I have used the official population figures from the 2020 Census for the calculations.)

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The unstandardized rolling average in Oconee County on Friday was 22.9 cases, compared with 66.1 cases in Clarke County. Those figures had been 16.9 in Oconee County and 48.4 in Clarke County a week earlier.

This is the highest the rolling average has been since Jan. 24, 2021, in Oconee County and Feb. 3, 2021, in Clarke County.

Three of the deaths were in Barrow County, two were in Jackson County, and one was in Walton County.

The total number of deaths in the Northeast Health District attributed to COVID-19 now stands at 962.

The Northeast Health District had 95 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, the same as a week earlier.

These data are from the Friday Daily Status Report of the Department of Public Health.

Oconee County Schools

Oconee County Schools reported 71 Active COVID-19 Cases at the end of the day on Friday, the largest number ever recorded in the Friday report going back to the beginning of last school year.

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The old record was 48 cases last Friday.

Last school year, Oconee County Schools reported 40 cases once and 28 cases twice.

The system ended the school year with 0 Active Cases.

The available evidence is that cases are concentrated at the lower grade levels, where students are too young for authorized vaccinations.

Data Released To Parents

Oconee County Schools is providing only the number of active cases at the end of the school week, but parents who have organized the Safety First Facebook Group have filed open records requests for internal school reports.

The most recent report released to the parents ended with cases as of 1:23 p.m. on Thursday.

As of that time, Oconee County Schools had recorded 100 cases, all but six of them among students.

The group forwarded to me the raw data provided to them by the Oconee County Schools shortly after it received the records.

Forty-eight of the student 94 cases are at the primary and elementary school level, 22 are at the middle school level, and 24 are at the high school level.

Enrollment data are not yet available for the current school year, and enrollments are expected to have increased over last year.

I used the official enrollment report filed with the Georgia Department of Education by Oconee County Schools on March 4 as the best available indicant of enrollments and computed case rates based on those figures.

These percentages are likely to be slight exaggerations of the actual rates based on current enrollments.

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Based on those enrollment estimates, 1.31 percent of the students at the system’s elementary schools have had an active cases, 1.11 percent of the students at the two middle schools have had an active case, and 0.91 percent of the students at the two high schools have reported a case.

It is possible–though unlikely this early in the year--that the same student could have tested positive twice.

Oconee County High School has a higher rate of the disease than North Oconee High School.

The two middle schools have roughly equal rates.

Two elementary schools, Oconee County Elementary School and Rocky Branch Elementary School, report much higher rates than the other elementary schools.

University, Hospital Reports

The University of Georgia on Wednesday, in its COVID-19 Health and Exposure Updates, reported 90 positive COVID-19 tests.

The report covered the period of Aug. 9 to Aug. 15, or before classes started on Wednesday.

The University had reported 58 positive COVID-19 tests last week.

The University reported that 384 walk-in tests were performed on individuals at the University Health Center, down from 410 a week earlier, and 12 of the tests last week came back positive.

The positivity rate for the walk-in tests was 3.1, compared with 2.4 a week earlier.

The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that the number of COVID-19 patients at area hospitals was 208, the number of ICU beds in use was 73, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 62.

On Friday a week earlier, the number of COVID-19 patients was 150, the number of ICU beds in use was 70, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 48.

Area hospitals have not reported this number of COVID-19 patients since Jan. 30 of this year.

Area hospitals last reported 73 ICU beds in use on Feb. 11 of this year.

The listed number of available ICU beds is 70, though the hospitals expanded that number last year as the demand increased and have done so again this year.

Vaccine Updates

According to the raw data behind the Department of Public Health Vaccine Distribution Dashboard for Friday, 40.8 percent of the residents of the Northeast Health District had at least one dose of a vaccine on Friday and 36.2 percent were fully vaccinated.

Last week, those figures were 39.7 percent with at least one dose of the vaccine and 35.6 percent fully vaccinated.

In Oconee County, 52.9 percent of the population has at least one dose and 48.1 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures had been 51.8 percent and 47.5 percent last week.

In Clarke County, 44.0 percent of the population has as least one dose and 39.8 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures were 43.2 percent and 39.3 percent last week.

Vaccine Administrations

These percentages for Oconee and Clarke counties are different from those shown on the Vaccine Distribution Dashboard.

I have used the population figures from the release of the U.S. Census Bureau last week.

The Vaccine Dashboard continues to use old population estimates, which are much below the new counts for Oconee County.

The Northeast Health District added 9,310 vaccinations in the week ending on Friday, compared with 8,051 added in the week ending on Aug. 13.

Oconee County added 816 new vaccinations in the last seven days ending on Friday, compared with 608 added the week earlier.

Clarke County added 2,008 new vaccinations in the last seven days, compared with 1,603 a week earlier.

State, National Comparisons

Georgia, with 40.2 percent of its population fully vaccinated, ranks seventh from the bottom among the 50 states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Nationally, the percentage of persons fully vaccinated was 51.2 on Friday.

At present, the vaccine is being administered only to those 12 years old and older.

Nationally, 59.9 percent of the population 12 or older is vaccinated.

That figure is 47.4 percent in Georgia.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for compiling this, Lee. I thought last year that perhaps people would be more willing to take precautions against COVID (vaccination, masking, social distancing) if children were being affected, rather than older folks. After all, this is the county that is proud of the educational system and park provided to draw families with children. But, I guess not. As the cases in the schools grow and the hospitals struggle, people are out and about without masks, acting like there is no COVID around or at least, that it is not important enough to bother with. I find it puzzling.

Jeanne Barsanti