The Georgia Department of Public Health reported seven new confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the Northeast Health District in its report on Wednesday, including two in Clarke County.
The Department of Public Health also had reported seven confirmed deaths from the disease on Wednesday of last week.
The Department of Public Health also reported that the Northeast Health District added 494 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Jan. 18, based on the Department’s electronic tracking system.
That number of added cases on Jan. 11 had been 664. The number of cases now has declined three weeks in a row.
Oconee County reported a slight increase in cases, while Clarke County reported a significant decrease.
The Georgia Department of Public Health’s 10-county Northeast Health District includes Oconee and Clarke counties. The other counties are Barrow, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oglethorpe, and Walton.
The Department of Public Health is no longer including the data from the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency on COVID-19 cases at area hospitals in its Daily Status Report.
The most recent data on the Federal Department of Health and Human Services Data Hub were last updated on Jan. 17 and include data only up to Jan. 6.
The seven-day rolling average of adult hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 was 23.3 at Piedmont Athens Regional and 16.7 at St. Mary’s Hospitals. That is a decrease from the week before at Piedmont and a slight increase at St. Mary’s.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified the Transmission Rate for COVID-19 for Oconee County and for Clarke County as High this past week, as it had been a week earlier.
All counties in the Northeast Health District continue to be rated as High Transmission of COVID-19.
The CDC now rates the Influenza Activity Level for Georgia as Low, down from its Moderate rating of a week earlier, and it reports that the percent of Antigen tests for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) that was positive and the percent of PCR tests for RSV that was positive were up slightly.
The CDC is not reporting county level data for Influenza or RSV.
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 Jan.18 in the Northeast Health District was 70.6, down from 94.9 last week.
Oconee County added 44 cases in the seven days ending on Wednesday. The county added 42 cases in the seven days ending on Jan. 11.
Clarke County added 85 new cases in the seven days ending on Jan. 18. It had added 145 cases in the week ending on Jan. 11.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Jan.18 was 6.3. It had been 5.9 on Jan. 11.
The unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases in Clarke County on Jan. 18 was 13.1. It had been 21.1 on Jan. 11.
The two Clarke County confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the last week were of a 68-year-old female without a chronic condition and of a 90-plus-yer-old male without a chronic condition.
The deaths bring to 238 the total number of deaths in Clarke County from COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in February of 2020.
The five other reported confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the Northeast Health District, according to the Daily Status Report on Jan. 18, were in Barrow County (1), Jackson County (2), Morgan County (1), and Walton County (1).
The Northeast Health District now has recorded 1,719 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 since February of 2020, or 324.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
Clarke County has the lowest rate of deaths per population in the Northeast Health District (185.0), followed by Oconee County (102 confirmed deaths, or 244.0 per 100,000 population).
The Northeast Health District reported 193 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 192 last Wednesday.
The Department of Public Health does not provide any data on the characteristics of the “probable” deaths.
Focus On Hospital Reports
The Georgia Department of Public Health last April had directed attention to the number of hospital cases as a better indicator of trends in COVID cases than the case counts it releases.
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The April announcement directed attention to the data released by the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, which reported data from the entire state and from regions of the state.
Despite that, last week the Department of Public Health announced it was no longer using data on hospital cases in its Daily Status Report.
The Daily Status Report instead provided a link to the U.S. Health and Human Services web site.
The most recent data on that site, for Jan. 6 and reported on Jan. 17, show a seven-day rolling average of adult hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 of 23.3 at Piedmont Athens Regional and 16.7 at St. Mary’s Hospital, both in Athens.
On Dec. 30, the seven-day rolling average of adult hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 was 33.5 at Piedmont Athens Regional and 14.4 at St. Mary’s.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention rates the Transmission Rate of COVID-19 in Oconee County and Clarke County 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.
Both counties had been rated at High in terms of Rate of Transmission last week as well.
The CDC now lists 133 out of the state’s 159 counties as having a High Transmission Rate.
That number was 142 last week.
The CDC scale is High (Red), Substantial (Orange), Moderate (Yellow), or Low (Blue).
Neither the CDC nor the Georgia Department of Public Health releases county-level data on influenza rates.
The state-wide Influenza Activity Level for Georgia for the week ending on Jan. 14, the most recent rating, lists the level of activity in Georgia as 4, or Low.
The highest level is 13. The rating last week was 6, or Moderate.
The CDC reports the three-week rolling average of the percent of Antigen and PRC detections for RSV in the state.
For the week ending on Jan. 14, the rate was 2.5 (Antigen) and 2.6 (PCR).
For the week ending on Jan. 7, the rate was 2.4 (Antigen) and 2.4 (PCR).