The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that area hospitals had 29 COVID-19 patients, down from the 47 cases reported last Friday and from 56 reported two weeks earlier.
The number of ICU beds in use on Friday was 76, up from 75 a week earlier, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 30, down from 35 on last Friday.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported five new confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in its report on Wednesday, down from the nine reported a week earlier.
Two of those newly reported confirmed COVID-19 deaths were in Oconee County.
The Georgia Department of Public Health also reported that the Northeast Health District added 446 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Sept. 14, based on the Department’s electronic tracking system.
That number of added cases on Wednesday was lower than the 626 added last Wednesday and the 895 added in the week before that.
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 Sept. 14 in the Northeast Health District was 63.7, compared with 89.4 last Wednesday and 127.9 in the seven days ending on Aug. 31.
Oconee County added 21 cases in the seven days ending on Wednesday. The county added 38 cases in the seven days ending on Sept. 7.
Clarke County added 111 new cases in the seven days ending on Sept. 14. It had added 152 new cases in the week ending on Sept. 7.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Wednesday was 2.9. It had been 5.3 on Sept. 7.
In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Wednesday was 15.9. compared 22.1 on Sept. 7.
The Oconee County confirmed deaths were of an 84-year old male without a chronic condition and of a 90-plus-year-old female without a chronic condition.
The Oconee County confirmed deaths from COVID-19 bring to 101 the number in the county since the outbreak of the pandemic in February of 2020.
The other confirmed deaths from COVID-19 reported in the Wednesday report from the Department of Public Health were in Barrow County (1), Jackson County (1), and Oglethorpe County (1).
Two deaths, one in Clarke County and one death in Madison County, were removed or reassigned from the count of deaths from COVID-19 by the Department of Public Health.
The 10-county Northeast Health District now has 1,653 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since February of 2020, or 311.8 per 100,000 population.
Clarke County has the lowest rate of deaths per 100,000 population (180.3), followed by Oconee County (241.6).
The Northeast Health District also reported 179 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, the same number as a week earlier.
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.
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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 last Thursday.
The CDC now lists 24 out of Georgia’s 159 counties as having Transmission Rates lower than High, none of them in the Northeast Health District.
Last week, the number of counties not rated as Red was 18, and it had been seven the week earlier.
The CDC scale is High (Red), Substantial (Orange), Moderate (Yellow), or Low (Blue).