The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that area hospitals had 44 COVID-19 patients, down from the 46 reported last Friday.
The number of ICU beds in use was 68, down by one from a week earlier, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 27, also down by one from Aug. 19.
The number of COVID-19 patients in area hospitals has now fallen slightly each of the last three weeks, from a recent high of 53 on Aug. 5
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported six new confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in its report on Wednesday, down from 12 a week earlier.
One of those newly reported confirmed COVID-19 deaths was in Clarke County.
The Georgia Department of Public Health also reported that the number of new recorded COVID-19 cases in the Northeast Health District tallied by the electronic tracking system in the week ending on Aug. 24 had increased by1,083 from the week before.
That increase in the 10-county District was down from the increase of 1,257 added cases in the week ending on Aug. 17.
The Northeast Health District includes Oconee and Clarke counties. The other counties are Barrow, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oglethorpe, and Walton.
Although the Department of Public Health is releasing a report only weekly, it is gathering data on a daily basis, and the weekly report includes a data file containing case counts each day, ending on a Wednesday.
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The Department of Public Health switched to weekly, rather than daily, case counts in April in part because of a concern that its counts under-represent the actual number of cases.
At-home test results are not included in the electronic reporting system.
The average number of added cases per day in the last seven days ending on Aug. 24 in the Northeast Health District was 154.7, compared with 179.6 in the seven days ending on Aug. 17.
Oconee County added 43 cases in the seven days ending on Wednesday. The county added 51 cases in the seven days ending on Aug. 17.
Clarke County added 261 new cases in the seven days ending on Aug. 24. It had added 241 new cases in the week ending on Aug. 17.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Wednesday was 6.6. It had been 7.3 on Aug. 17.
In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Wednesday was 38.6, compared with 35.1 on Aug. 17.
The Clarke County confirmed death was of a 74-year-old male without a chronic condition.
The death in Clarke County bring to 234 the number of deaths in the county attributed to the disease since February of 2020, or 181.9 deaths per 100,000 population.
The other confirmed deaths from COVID-19 reported in the Wednesday report from the Department of Public Health were in Barrow County (1), Elbert County (2), Jackson County (1), and Madison County (1).
The 10-county Northeast Health District now has 1,640 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since February of 2020, or 309.3 per 100,000 population.
Clarke County has the lowest rate of deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Oconee County.
The newly reported death in Elbert County brings to 86 the number attributed to COVID-19 since February of 2020, or 437.9 per 100,000 population. That is the highest rate in the 10-county Northeast Health District.
The Northeast Health District also reported 178 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday. That number in an increase by four from last week.
One of those newly added “probable” deaths from COVID-19 was in Clarke County, which now has 15 “probable” deaths from the disease since February of 2020.
The Department of Public Health does not report any details of “probable” deaths form the disease.
Focus On Hospital Reports
In its announcement in April, the Georgia 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.”
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The announcement directed attention to the data released by the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
The hospital data available for the area include 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.
Neither Oconee County Schools nor the University of Georgia is any longer reporting COVID-19 cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention rates the Transmission Rate of COVID-19 in Oconee and Clarke counties as high, based on total number of new cases per 100,000 population in the last seven days and the percentage of Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests that are positive during the last seven days, ending on Thursday.
Every county in the state of Georgia is rated as High Transmission except Fannin (Substantial), Talbot (Moderate), Echols (Low), and Charlton (Substantial).