The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that area hospitals had 47 COVID-19 patients, down from the 56 reported last Friday.
The number of ICU beds in use on Friday was 75, up from 72 a week earlier, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 35, up from 31 last Friday.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported nine new confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in its report on Wednesday, up from the four reported a week earlier.
One of those newly reported confirmed COVID-19 deaths was in Oconee County.
The Georgia Department of Public Health also reported that the number of newly recorded COVID-19 cases in the Northeast Health District tallied by the electronic tracking system in the week ending on Sept. 7 had increased by 626 from the week before.
That increase in the 10-county District was lower than the 895 added in the week ending on Aug. 31. The District had added 1,083 cases in the week ending on Aug. 24.
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. 7 in the Northeast Health District was 89.4, compared with 127.9 in the seven days ending on Aug. 31.
Oconee County added 38 cases in the seven days ending on Wednesday. The county added 39 cases in the seven days ending on Aug. 31.
Clarke County added 152 new cases in the seven days ending on Sept. 7. It had added 264 new cases in the week ending on Aug. 31.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Wednesday was 5.3. It had been 5.3 on Aug. 31 as well.
In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Wednesday was 21.9. compared with compared with 38.3 on Aug. 31.
The Oconee County confirmed death was of an 84-year old male without a chronic condition.
The Oconee County confirmed death from COVID-19 is the 99th 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 Jackson County (3), Madison County (1), Morgan County (1), Oglethorpe County (1), and Walton County (2).
Two deaths in Clarke 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 1,650 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since February of 2020, or 311.2 per 100,000 population.
Clarke County has the lowest rate of deaths per 100,000 population (181.1), followed by Oconee County (236.8).
The Northeast Health District also reported 179 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, up by one from the week earlier.
The added “probable” death from COVID-19 was in Walton County. The Department of Public Health does not provide any details on the “probable” deaths.
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 18 out of Georgia’s 159 counties as having Transmission Rates lower than High, including Elbert County in the Northeast Health District, with a rating of Substantial.
Last week, the number of counties not rated as Red was seven.
The CDC scale is High (Red), Substantial (Orange), Moderate (Yellow), or Low (Blue).