Friday, September 10, 2021

Northeast Health District Records Decline In Added COVID-19 Cases; Confirmed Deaths Remain High At 21

***Oconee Schools Also See Drop In Cases***

The 10-county Northeast Health District added 2,817 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Friday and 21 new confirmed deaths from the disease.

Four of the confirmed deaths were in Clarke County.

The 2,817 added cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths compare with the 3,331 new cases and 24 confirmed deaths added in the week ending Sept. 3.

The average number of added cases in the District was 402.4 per day this past week, compared with 475.9 per day in the week ending Sept. 3.

This is the first 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 175 cases in the week ending on Friday, compared with 200 on Friday of last week.

Clarke County added 557 new cases on Friday, however, compared with 718 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 60.5, and it was 62.4 in Clarke County.

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A week ago those rolling averages had been 68.3 in Oconee County and 80.2 in Clarke County.

The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday was 25.3, down from 28.4 a week earlier.

In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Friday was 80.3, down from 103.3 a week earlier.

The Clarke County deaths were of a 41-year-old female with a chronic condition, a 61-year-old male without a chronic condition, a 62-year-old male without a chronic condition, and an 88-year-old female without a chronic condition.

The 41-year-old was the fifth youngest death from COVID-19 recorded in Clarke County.

Barrow County had four confirmed deaths, Elbert County had one, Jackson County had five, Madison County had one, Oglethorpe County had two, and Walton County had four.

The Northeast Health District now has recorded 1,019 deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The four Clarke County deaths bring to 153 the number in the county since the beginning of February of 2020.

The Northeast Health District had 97 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, up from 96 a week earlier. The added probable death was in Walton County.

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

Oconee County Schools, School Age Data

As of the end of classes on Wednesday, Oconee County Schools had recorded 247 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 fifth full week of classes on Sept. 6, the number of reported cases had been 223.

That number grew from 10 at the beginning of the first full week of classes to 62 a week later and 116 at the start of the third full week of classes, and 182 at the start of the fourth week of classes.

Those are increases of 52, 54, 66, and 41 cases per week. The last week, which included the holiday, was the first decline in added cases per week.

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 42 Active COVID-19 Cases, down from 57 a week earlier.

Last school year, the system reported 40 active cases one time, and it has reported no fewer than 42 cases on each of the four reporting Fridays this school year.

Oconee County overall saw in increase of 48 cases among those aged 5 to 17 in the week ending at the beginning of the day on Sept. 9, according to the School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Data released by the Department of Public Health on Friday.

The report showed an increase of 190 cases across all age groups, with eight of them for children under five years of age, 18 of them for persons aged 18 to 22, and the remaining 116 for those persons 23 years old and older.

The percentages of added cases that were for persons 5 to 17 years old increased from 25.9 in the week ending on Sept. 2 to 30.4 percent in the week ending on Sept. 9.

These figures are based on antigen and molecular tests results. They give a more negative picture than the comparisons based on the Friday to Friday comparisons, reflecting declines at the end of the week.

Across all age groups, the positivity rate for the more stringent molecular COVID-19 tests dropped from 14.2 in the week of Aug. 21 to Aug. 27 to 13.7 in the week of Aug. 28 to Sept. 3, data released by the Department of Public Health on Monday show.

University, Hospital Reports

The University of Georgia on Wednesday, in its COVID-19 Health and Exposure Updates, reported 505 positive COVID-19 tests.

The report covered the period of Aug. 30 to Sept. 5.

The University had reported 474 positive COVID-19 tests for Aug. 23 to 29, in its revised counts.

The University reported that 2,347 walk-in tests were performed on individuals by the University Health Center, up from 1,519 a week earlier, and 91 of the tests last week came back positive.

The positivity rate for the walk-in tests was 3.9, compared with 5.1 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 292, down from 294 a week earlier.

The number of ICU beds in use was 74, down from 76 a week earlier, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 63, down from 67 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, keeping the percentage in use under 100.

Vaccine Updates

According to the raw data behind the Department of Public Health Vaccine Distribution Dashboard for Friday, 42.8 percent of the residents of the Northeast Health District had at least one dose of a vaccine and 38.2 percent were fully vaccinated.

Last week, those figures were 42.2 percent with at least one dose of the vaccine and 37.6 percent fully vaccinated.

In Oconee County, 54.8 percent of the population has at least one dose and 50.1 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures had been 54.3 percent and 49.5 percent last week.

In Clarke County, 45.5 percent of the population has as least one dose and 41.4 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures were 45.0 percent and 40.9 percent last week.

These percentages of persons vaccinated 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 for 2020.

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

Vaccine Administrations

The Northeast Health District added 7,032 vaccinations in the week ending on Friday, compared with 9,425 added in the week ending on Sept. 3.

Oconee County added 574 new vaccinations in the last seven days ending on Friday, compared with 845 added the week earlier.

Clarke County added 1,538 new vaccinations in the last seven days, compared with 1,804 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 42.8 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 more than 10 percentage points higher on Friday at 53.6 percent.

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

Nationally, 62.7 percent of the population 12 or older is vaccinated.

That figure is 50.5 percent in Georgia.

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