The 10-county Northeast Health District added 2,442 new cases of COVID-19 in the last seven days, or less than half the number added in the week ending on Jan. 28.
The District added 18 confirmed deaths from the disease, compared with 34 added in the week ending on Friday of last week.
Three of the confirmed deaths were in Clarke County.
The average number of added cases per day in the last seven days in the Northeast Health District was 348.9, compared with 725.4 in the seven days ending on Jan. 28.
Oconee County added 204 cases on Friday, compared with 433 new cases in week ending on Jan. 28.
Clarke County added 543 new cases in the seven days ending on Friday, compared with 1,196 new cases in the week ending on Jan. 28.
The seven-day rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday per 100,000 population was 67.7, and it was 60.1 in Clarke County.
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On Jan. 28, those rolling averages had been 143.5 in Oconee County and 133.2 in Clarke County.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Friday was 28.3 compared with 60.3 on Friday of last week.
In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Friday was 77.3, compared with 171.6 on Friday of last week.
The Clarke County confirmed COVID-19 deaths were of 73-year-old female, an 87-year-old female, and a 90-plus-year-old female, all without a chronic condition.
Clarke County now has 191 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 going back to the beginning of the pandemic a year ago.
The remaining 15 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northeast Health District in the last seven days were in Barrow (3), Jackson (6), Madison (1), Oglethorpe (1), and Walton (4) counties.
The Northeast Health District now has recorded 1,387 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Northeast Health District had 131 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, up from 128 a week ago.
One of the added “probable” deaths was in Elbert County, and two were in Walton County.
Oconee County Schools
As of the end of classes on Thursday, Oconee County Schools had recorded 676 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 676 cases are an increase of 24 from Thursday of last week. Last Thursday Oconee County Schools had added 48 cases from the week before.
Since the beginning of the school year on Jan. 4 year, Oconee County Schools has added 248 cases. It had recorded 428 cases in all of the first half of the school year through Dec. 28.
The parents are reporting the data released to them as a result of the open records requests on the Safety First Facebook page, but they also have released the data to me for my own analysis.
Of the 24 added cases on Thursday, five are staff members, including teachers, or more than a quarter, and the remaining 19 are students. That is a ratio of more than one in five.
Only a little more than one in 10 of the total full-time staff (including faculty) and students at Oconee County Schools are staff.
All but one of the staff cases are at primary or elementary schools.
The analysis shows that the student cases are slightly disproportionally at the lower grades as well.
Of the 19 student cases, nine, or just less than half, are at the elementary level.
Based on October enrollment figures, 44.0 percent of the students in Oconee County Schools are in the elementary school grades, 23.3 percent are at the elementary school level, and 32.7 percent are in the two high schools.
All 10 of the remaining student cases in the last week are at Oconee County High School.
Oconee County High School accounted for six of the 34 student cases added last week.
Active Cases Counted
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 nine Active COVID-19 Cases, down from 20 the week earlier.
The records released to parents who filed the open records request indicate that four active cases were added on Friday.
On Dec 27, 2021, the CDC shortened the recommended quarantine period from 10 to five days, making comparisons with data from last year of little value.
Based on the records released to the parents who filed the open records request, Oconee County Schools had been using an even shorter period between the recorded ate of positive test results and the return date to school.
That seems to have changed with the data released to parents on Friday morning.
Of the 24 added cases from Friday of last week to this Thursday, 19 are marked as cancelled, or no longer Active.
Of the 19 cancelled cases, one had a gap of two days between Date Of Positive test and Return Date, two had a gap of three days, one had a gap of four days, four had a gap of five days, and 11 had a gap of six days.
Of the five cases marked as still active, all had a gap between Date of Positive Result and projected Return Date of seven or more days.
Parents Seek Clarification
On Jan. 25, Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, Director of Communication for Oconee County Schools, said in an email message to me that the schools are not using the Date of Positive Result but rather the first day of symptoms in determining when a student or staff can return to school.
That date has not appeared in the data file released to parents.
In the open records request the parents filed on Feb. 1, they asked for specifically for “the date determined to be Day Zero, as defined by CDC and GA DPH as the first day of symptoms if symptomatic or the date of the positive test if asymptomatic.”
CDC stands for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and GA DPH stands for Georgia Department of Public Health.
Oconee County Schools did not provide those additional data on the start of symptoms in the file released to the parents on Friday.
School Age Data, Test Positivity Rates
Oconee County added 68 cases among those aged 5 to 17 in the week ending at the beginning of the day on Feb. 3, according to the School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Data released by the Department of Public Health on Friday.
The report showed an addition of 335 cases across all age groups in the last week, with 13 of them for children under five years of age, 15 for persons 18 to 22, and 239 for those persons 23 years old and older.
The percentages of added cases that were for persons 5 to 17 years old was 20.3 on Feb. 3, compared with 20.2 percent a week earlier.
The percentage of cases for those 0 to 4 years old decreased, to 3.9 percent from 4.5 percent.
These cases are based on results of the rapid antigen and molecular tests.
In Oconee County, the seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate of the more robust molecular PCR test for COVID-19 was 22.5 percent on Friday, down from the 40.1 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 21.6 percent on Friday, down from 38.6 on Friday of last week.
University, Hospital Reports
The University of Georgia on Wednesday, in its COVID-19 Health and Exposure Updates, reported 363 positive COVID-19 tests, down from 929 in the revised estimate from the previous week.
The report on Wednesday covered the period of Jan. 24 to 30.
The University reported that 1,245 walk-in tests were performed on individuals by the University Health Center in the week ending on Jan. 30.
The positivity rate for the walk-in tests performed in the week ending on Jan. 30 was 7.5 percent, down from the 13.6 percent reported in the week ending Jan. 23.
The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that the number of COVID-19 patients at area hospitals was 213, down from 230 on Jan. 28.
The number of ICU beds in use was 72, down from 74 last Friday, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 51, down from 53 a week earlier.
The listed number of available ICU beds at area hospitals is 70.
According to the raw data behind the Department of Public Health Vaccine Distribution Dashboard for Friday, 48.3 percent of the residents of the Northeast Health District had at least one dose of a vaccine and 44.7 percent were fully vaccinated.
Those percentages were changed just slightly from a week ago, when 48.2 percent of the residents of the District had at least one dose of the vaccine and 44.5 percent were fully vaccinated.
In Oconee County, 60.5 percent of the population has at least one dose in Friday’s report, and 57.0 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures had been 60.4 percent and 56.8 percent a week ago.
In Clarke County, 51.0 percent of the population has as least one dose and 47.3 percent is fully vaccinated. Those figures were 50.9 percent and 47.2 percent last week.
In the Northeast Health District as a whole, 18.9 percent of the population has received a booster. Those figures are 26.7 percent in Oconee County and 22.3 percent in Clarke County.
Of those who are fully vaccinated, 42.3 percent in the District have received a booster. Those figures are 46.9 percent in Oconee County and 47.2percent in Clarke County.
Last week, of those who are fully vaccinated in the Northeast Heath District, 41.8 percent had received a booster. Those figures were 46.6 percent in Oconee County and 46.7 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.