Friday, September 17, 2021

COVID-19 Cases Continue To Drop In Northeast Health District, But Confirmed Deaths From Disease Climb

***Hospital Cases Also Ease Slightly***

The 10 county Northeast Health District added 2,115 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Friday and 27 new confirmed deaths from the disease.

One of the confirmed deaths was in Clarke County.

The 2,115 added cases of COVID-19 and 27 confirmed deaths compared with the 2,817 new cases and 21 confirmed deaths added in the week ending Sept. 10.

The average number of added cases in the District was 302.1 per day, compared with 402.4 per day in the week ending Sept. 10.

This is the second week since the increase in cases began in the beginning of July to see a decline in the average number of cases per day.

Oconee County added 132 cases in the week ending on Friday, compared with 175 on Friday of last week.

Clarke County added 372 new cases on Friday, compared with 557 on Friday of last week.

Rolling Averages

The seven-day rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday per 100,000 population, based on the 2020 Census, was 46.5, and it was 40.9 in Clarke County.

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A week ago those rolling averages had been 60.5 in Oconee County and 62.4 in Clarke County.

The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday was 19.4, down from 25.0 a week earlier.

In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Friday was 52.6, down from 81.1 a week earlier.

The Clarke County death was of a 90-plus-year-old female without a chronic condition.

The death brings to 154 the number of confirmed deaths in the county since the onset of the pandemic in February of 2020.

In the last week, Barrow County had eight confirmed COVID-19 deaths, Elbert County had one, Jackson County had six, Madison County had two, Morgan County had two, and Walton County had seven.

The Northeast Health District now has recorded 1,046 deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Northeast Health District had 100 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, up from 97 a week earlier. Elbert County added one “probable death” and Walton County added two.

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

Oconee County Schools

As of the end of classes on Thursday, Oconee County Schools had recorded 284 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the school year on Aug. 4, based on data released by the schools in response to open records requests filed by a group of parents.

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The parents are reporting the released data on the Safety First Facebook page, but they also have released the data to me for my own analysis.

As of the beginning of the sixth full week of classes on Sept. 13, the number of reported cases had been 261, up by 38 from Sept. 6.

That addition of 38 cases compares with 41 the week earlier and 66 the week before that.

Oconee County Schools releases to the public only the number of Active Cases in the schools at the end of the class week.

In its report on Friday, Oconee County Schools reported 33 Active COVID-19 Cases, down from 42 the week earlier and the smallest number reported since the beginning of the school year.

Last school year, the system reported 40 active cases one time, and the next highest number had been 28, recorded twice during the year.

School Age Data, Test Positivity Rates

Oconee County overall added 48 cases among those aged 5 to 17 in the week ending at the beginning of the day on Sept. 16, according to the School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Data released by the Department of Public Health on Friday.

The report showed an increase of 177 cases across all age groups, with seven of them for children under five years of age, 17 of them for persons aged 18 to 22, and the remaining 105 for those persons 23 years old and older.

The percentages of added cases that were for persons 5 to 17 years old was 27.1, up from 25.3 the week earlier. 

The percentage of cases for those 23 years old or older dropped from 61.1 to 59.3.

These figures are based on antigen and molecular tests results. 

In Oconee County, the seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate of the molecular PCR test for COVID-19 was 15.4 percent, up from 13.6 on Friday of last week.

In Clarke County on Friday, the seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate of PCR tests was 13.1, up from 12.1 on Sept. 10.

University, Hospital Reports

The University of Georgia on Wednesday, in its COVID-19 Health and Exposure Updates, reported 164 positive COVID-19 tests.

The report covered the period of Sept. 6 to 12.

The University had reported 514 positive COVID-19 tests for Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, in its revised counts.

The University reported that 1,422 walk-in tests were performed on individuals by the University Health Center, down from 2,347 a week earlier, and 35 of the tests last week came back positive.

The positivity rate for the walk-in tests was 2.5 percent, compared with 3.9 percent 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 264, down from 292 a week earlier.

The number of ICU beds in use was 65, down from 74 a week earlier, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 54, down from 63 a week earlier.

The report released by the Georgia Hospital Association shows a percentage figure for the ICU beds in use, and it is frequently reported in media accounts, but it is misleading.

The listed number of available ICU beds at area hospitals is 70, and the hospitals expand that number as demand increases.

Vaccine Updates

According to the raw data behind the Department of Public Health Vaccine Distribution Dashboard for Friday, 43.7 percent of the residents of the Northeast Health District had at least one dose of a vaccine and 39.1 percent were fully vaccinated.

Last week, those figures were 42.8 percent with at least one dose of the vaccine and 38.2 percent fully vaccinated.

In Oconee County, 55.6 percent of the population has at least one dose and 51.0 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures had been 54.8 percent and 50.1 percent last week.

In Clarke County, 46.2 percent of the population has as least one dose and 42.1 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures were 45.5 percent and 41.4 percent last week.

Vaccination And Case Rates

In the Northeast Health District, full vaccination rates vary from the low of 34.9 percent in Barrow County to the high of 51.0 in Oconee County.

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Oconee is the only county with more than half of its population fully vaccinated.

These percentages of persons vaccinated 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 for 2020. The Vaccine Dashboard continues to use old population estimates.

Oconee County’s case rate (number of cases per population), despite the relatively high rate of vaccination, is sixth best in the Northeast Health District.

Clarke, Greene, and Oglethorpe counties report lower vaccination rates than Oconee County but also lower case rates.

Elbert County is the clear exception with a low vaccination rate and a low case rate.

Barrow County has a low vaccination rate and a high case rate, as also is the case for Walton County.

The case rate is calculated using cases based on molecular and antigen test results combined.

Vaccine Administrations

The Northeast Health District added 10,445 vaccinations in the week ending on Friday, compared with 7,032 added in the week ending on Sept. 10.

Oconee County added 824 new vaccinations in the last seven days ending on Friday, compared with 574 added the week earlier.

Clarke County added 1,935 new vaccinations in the last seven days, compared with 1,538 a week earlier.

These numbers have varied up and down in recent week, suggesting variations in reporting and relative stability in the number of added vaccinations.

The Department of Public Health is not providing data on the number of added vaccination that are boosters.

State, National Comparisons

Georgia, with 43.9 percent of its population fully vaccinated, ranks ninth 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 more than 10 percentage points higher than in Georgia on Friday at 54.4 percent.

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

Nationally, 63.6 percent of the population 12 or older is vaccinated.

That figure is 51.8 percent in Georgia.


Rosemary Woodel said...

Thank you, Lee.

Ian Taylor said...

Is there a way to know how many hospitalizations / deaths are persons who have not been vaccinated?

Lee Becker said...

I have decided to publish this comment to provide an answer to this question, which also has been asked of me on email.

As far as I know, this information is not being published by the Department of Public Health.