The 10-county Northeast Health District added 9,671 new cases of COVID-19 in the last nine days, and 14 confirmed deaths from the disease.
One of the confirmed deaths was in Oconee County, and one was in Clarke County.
The average number of added cases per day in those nine days was 1,074.6, compared with 815.4 in the first five days of the new year.
The Georgia Department of Public Health did not release its usual Daily Status Report on either Thursday or Friday of last week, citing unspecified problems with its Electronic Laboratory Reporting system.
Oconee County added 724 new cases in the nine days ending on Friday, or an average of 80.4 cases per day, compared with 221 new cases in five days ending on Jan. 5, or 44.2 cases per day.
Clarke County added 2,445 new cases in the last nine days ending on Friday, compared with 920 new cases in the five days ending on Jan. 5. The 2,445 new cases is an average of 271,7 cases per day, compared with an average of 184.0 cases per day in the first five days of the year.
The seven-day rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday per 100,000 population was 168.2, and it was 198.2 in Clarke County.
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On Jan. 7, those rolling averages had been 158.9 in Oconee County and 180.0 in Clarke County.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday was 70.3, compared with 66.4 on Friday of last week.
The 70.3 rolling average is down from the rolling average of 82.9 added cases on Wednesday, a new record going back to the beginning of the pandemic in February of 2020.
In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Friday was 255.0, compared with 231.6 on Friday of last week.
That rolling average of 255.0 cases added per day is down from 276.0 on Tuesday, also a record high for the rolling average of added cases in Clarke County going back to the beginning of the pandemic.
The Oconee County confirmed death from COVID-19 was of an 88-year-old male without a chronic condition.
The Clarke County confirmed COVID-19 death was of a 68-year-old male, also without a chronic condition.
Oconee County now has 75 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 going back to the beginning of 2020, and Clarke County has 182.
Oconee County’s death rate per 100,000 population is 179.4, compared with 141.5 in Clarke County.
The remaining 12 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northeast Health District in the last nine days were in Barrow (3), Elbert (1), Jackson (5), Oglethorpe (1), and Walton (2) counties.
The Northeast Health District now has recorded 1,318 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Northeast Health District had 126 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, up by one from Jan. 5.
The added “probable death” was in Clarke County, which now has nine recorded “probable deaths” from the disease. (Oconee County has five.)
Oconee County Schools
As of the end of classes on Thursday, Oconee County Schools had recorded 519 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 519 cases are an increase of 74 from Thursday of last week. Oconee County schools recorded an additional three cases by 10:22 a.m. on Friday.
The parents are reporting the data released to them as a result of the open records request on the Safety First Facebook page, but they also have released the data to me for my own analysis.
Of the 77 cases reported since Oconee County Schools responded to the parents open records request last week, 16 were with staff and the remaining 61 were with students.
Oconee County Schools releases to the public only the number of Active Cases in the schools at the end of the class week, and it is now classifying active cases, according to the records, based on as few as four-days in quarantine.
In its report on Friday, Oconee County Schools, with the shortened quarantine, reported 48 Active COVID-19 Cases, compared with 25 cases in the week ending on Jan. 7.
The records released to the parents indicate that 26 positive cases were reported since last Friday that were declared inactive prior to the release of the report on this Friday and thus were not included in the count of 48 Active Cases.
School Age Data, Test Positivity Rates
Oconee County added 105 cases among those aged 5 to 17 in the week ending at the beginning of the day on Jan. 13, according to the School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Data released by the Department of Public Health on Friday.
The report showed an addition of 572 cases across all age groups in the last week, with 21 of them for children under five years of age, 52 for persons 18 to 22, and 394 for those persons 23 years old and older.
The percentages of added cases that were for persons 5 to 17 years old was 18.4 on Jan. 13, compared with 11.7 percent a week earlier.
These figures are based on the rapid 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 31.7 percent on Friday, down from the 38.9 on Friday of last week. The PCR test is considered to be the more reliable of the tests.
In Clarke County on Friday, the seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate of PCR tests was 30.2 percent on Friday, down from 37.4 on Friday of last week.
University, Hospital Reports
The University of Georgia on Wednesday, in its COVID-19 Health and Exposure Updates, reported 804 positive COVID-19 tests, up from 251 from the previous week. That figure of 251 was revised up from the earlier report of 171 positive cases.
The report on Wednesday covered the period of Jan. 3 to 9.
The University reported 1,620 walk-in tests were performed on individuals by the University Health Center in the week ending on Jan. 9. The University resumed session on Jan. 10.
The positivity rate for the walk-in tests performed in the week ending on Jan. 9 was 13.3 percent, up from the 11.7 percent reported in the week ending Dec. 26, the last week for which walk-in tests were performed.
The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that the number of COVID-19 patients at area hospitals was 278, up from 215 on Jan. 7.
The number of ICU beds in use was 68, up from 61 last Friday, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 44, up from 36 a week earlier.
The listed number of available ICU beds at area hospitals is 70.
Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center and St. Mary’s Health Care System released a joint press release on Jan. 5 regarding the impact of “the rapid spread of the Delta and Omicron variants” of COVID-19 on the two hospitals.
“Both Athens hospitals are once again experiencing a staggering surge in adults and children with COVID-19 symptoms and diagnoses,” the news release stated.
“Collectively, the health care systems have experienced 100 to 200 percent increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past eight days and the vast majority of inpatients are unvaccinated,” according to the release.
“Emergency room activity has also increased significantly for both emergent and non-emergent situations, including those seeking COVID-19 testing without the need for further care or treatment,” according to the release.
“To keep emergency rooms available to individuals who have the most critical health needs, individuals should obtain care at the most appropriate medical facility for their condition and seek COVID-19 testing at primary care locations, public health and mass testing sites, or use at-home testing kits,” the release stated.
The news release said the hospitals are asking everyone to “Get fully vaccinated for COVID-19, obtain the COVID-19 booster when eligible, and get the seasonal flu vaccine. “
According to the raw data behind the Department of Public Health Vaccine Distribution Dashboard for Friday, 47.9 percent of the residents of the Northeast Health District had at least one dose of a vaccine and 44.2 percent were fully vaccinated.
Those percentages were changed just slightly from a week ago, when 47.6 percent of the residents of the District had at least one dose of the vaccine and 44.0 percent were fully vaccinated.
In Oconee County, 60.2 percent of the population has at least one dose in Friday’s report, and 56.5 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures had been 60.0 percent and 56.3 percent a week ago.
In Clarke County, 50.6 percent of the population has as least one dose and 46.8 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures were 50.4 percent and 46.7 percent last week.
In the Northeast Health District as a whole, 17.6 percent of the population has received a booster. Those figures are 25.3 percent in Oconee County and 21.0 percent in Clarke County.
Of those who are fully vaccinated, 39.8 percent in the District have received a booster. Those figures are 42.7 percent in Oconee County and 42.9 percent in Clarke County.
Last week, of those who are fully vaccinated, 35.4 percent had received a booster. Those figures were 44.8 percent in Oconee County and 44.9 percent in Clarke County.
Oconee County leads the Northeast Health District in the percentage of the population with at least one dose, the percentage fully vaccinated, and the percentage with a booster.
The percentages reported here differ from those on the Vaccine Dashboard because the Department of Public Health uses old projections--and lower numbers--for the populations of the counties.