The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported on Friday that area hospitals had 56 COVID-19 patients, up sharply from the 44 reported last Friday.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the area hospitals has not been this high on a Friday since February 25, when it stood at 70.
The number of ICU beds in use on Friday was 72, up from 68 a week earlier, and the number of adult ventilators in use was 31, up from 27 on last Friday.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported four new confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in its report on Wednesday, down from the six reported a week earlier.
One of those newly reported confirmed COVID-19 deaths was in Oconee County, and one 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. 31 had increased by 895 from the week before.
That increase in the 10-county District was lower than the increase of 1,083 added 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 Aug. 31 in the Northeast Health District was 127.9, compared with 154.7 in the seven days ending on Aug. 24.
Oconee County added 39 cases in the seven days ending on Wednesday. The county added 43 cases in the seven days ending on Aug. 24.
Clarke County added 264 new cases in the seven days ending on Aug. 31. It had added 261 new cases in the week ending on Aug. 24.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Wednesday was 5.3. It had been 6.6 on Aug. 24.
In Clarke County, the unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases on Wednesday was 38.1. compared with compared with 38.7 on Aug. 24.
The Oconee County confirmed death was of a 90-plus-year old female without a chronic condition.
The Clarke County confirmed death also was of a 90-plus-year old female without a chronic condition.
The Oconee County confirmed death from COVID-19 is the 98th in the county since the outbreak of the pandemic in February of 2020, or 234.5 deaths per 100,000 population.
The death in Clarke County bring to 235 the number of deaths in the county attributed to the disease since February of 2020, or 182.6 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 Madison County and Walton County.
One death in Greene County was removed from the count of deaths from COVID-19 by the Department of Public Health.
The 10-county Northeast Health District now has 1,643 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since February of 2020, or 309.9 per 100,000 population.
Clarke County has the lowest rate of deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Oconee County.
The Northeast Health District also reported 178 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, the same number as last week.
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 last Thursday.
Every county in the state of Georgia is rated as High Transmission except Treutlen, Telfair, Bacon, Echols, Crisp, and Webster (Substantial) and Early (Moderate).
The CDC scale is High, Substantial, Moderate, or Low.