Saturday, April 23, 2022

Area Hospitals Report Slight Increase In COVID-19 Cases; Clarke County Reports Two New Confirmed Deaths From Disease

***Oconee County Schools Lists New Active Case***

The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that area hospitals had six COVID-19 patients, up from four on Friday of last week.

The number of ICU beds in use was 57, compared with 56 a week earlier, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 32, up from 25 a week earlier.

The Georgia Department of Public Health announced on April 14 that it would no longer issue a Daily Status Report on COVID-19, in part because of a lack of confidence in its case count due to in-home testing. Instead, it began issuing weekly status reports, starting on Wednesday.

In that first Status Report on Wednesday, the Department of Public Health reported that the number of cases tallied in its electronic tracking system increased in the 10-county Northeast Health District only by 31 from the final Daily Status Report on April 15.

The Northeast Health District includes Oconee and Clarke counties.

The Department of Public Heath Report on Wednesday added 10 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the Northeast Health District since April 15. It had recorded seven in the week leading up to the final Daily Status Report on April 15.

Two of those added confirmed COVID-19 deaths were in Clarke County. Oconee County added a “probable” death from COVID-19.

Oconee County Schools, after not reporting an Active COVID-19 case for six weeks, reported on Friday an Active Case for a student at North Oconee High School.

Weekly Report

Although the Department of Public Health is releasing its report only weekly, it is gathering data on a daily basis, and the weekly report includes a data file containing case counts each day.

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The average number of added cases per day in the last five days ending on Wednesday in the Northeast Health District was 6.2, compared with 10.7 in the seven days ending on April 15.

Oconee County did not add any new cases in the five days ending on Wednesday. The county had added 17 cases in the week ending on April 15..

Clarke County added 12 new cases in the five days ending on Friday. It had added 36 new cases in the week ending on April 15.

The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Wednesday was 1.6, compared with 1.4 on April 15.

In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Wednesday was 6.3, compared with 5.4 on April 15.

In its announcement on April 14, the Department of Public Health said “Given the number of at-home COVID tests that do not get reported, there is now a greater focus on other indicators.”

The announcement directed attention to the data released by Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

The hospital data available for the area includes the 10 counties in the Northeast Health District plus Hart and Franklin counties. The data are dominated by St. Mary’s and Piedmont Regional in Athens-Clarke County.

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Confirmed Deaths

The Clarke County confirmed deaths were of an 69-year-old male without a chronic condition and of an 83-year-old female, also without a chronic condition.

Clarke County now has 219 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, or 170.2 per 100,000 population.

The remaining eight confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northeast Health District in the last five days were in Barrow (4), Greene (1) , Madison (2), and Morgan (1) counties.

One confirmed death previously recorded in Jackson County was removed from the list.

The Northeast Health District now has recorded 1,586 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, or 299.2 per 100,000 population.

Clarke County continues to have the lowest number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths per population in the 10-county Northeast Health District, and Oconee County, with 227.3 per 100,000 population, has the second lowest.

Elbert County, with 81 deaths, has the highest number per population, with 412.5 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 population.

The Northeast Health District had 154 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 150 on April 15.

The added “probable” deaths were in Oconee and Walton counties. Oconee County now has 11 “probable” deaths form COVID-19, and Walton County has 43.

The Department of Public Health does not provide any details on “probable” deaths.

University, Oconee County Schools Reports

The University of Georgia on Wednesday, in its COVID-19 Health and Exposure Updates, reported 42 positive COVID-19 tests, up from 31 in the report for the previous week.

The report on Wednesday covered the period of April 11 to 17.

The University reported that 129 walk-in tests were performed on individuals by the University Health Center in the week ending on April 17. That number had been 163 a week earlier.

Six of the 129 tests were positive, for a positivity rate of 4.7 percent. The positivity rate for the walk-in tests performed in the week ending on April 10 was 0.6 percent.

A group of parents continues to file an open records request each week for reported cases at Oconee County Schools, and the system responded on Friday that the single new case had been added on Thursday.

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.

Oconee County Schools releases to the public only the number of Active Cases in the schools at the end of the class week. The data from the previous week are removed when the new data are reported.

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