The Georgia Department of Public Health reported seven new confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the Northeast Health District in its report on Wednesday, up from the four reported a week earlier.
The Department of Public Health also reported that the Northeast Health District added 664 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Jan. 11, based on the Department’s electronic tracking system.
That number of added cases on Jan. 4 was 729, and on it Dec. 28 was 758. The decline is the first going back to Nov. 30.
Both Oconee and Clarke counties reported slight increases in the number of cases in the week ending on Wednesday.
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 announced on Friday that it was 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 Daily Status Report states that “Hospital bed and patient census data is now being reported directly to HHS and can be viewed on the HHS Public Data Hub.” HHS is for the Federal Department of Health and Human Services.
That Hub does include data from both St. Mary’s Hospital and Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, but the most recent data I was able to find were from Dec. 30.
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 Moderate, down from its High rating of a week earlier, and it reports that the percent of Antigen tests for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) that were positive was up just slightly from a week earlier, and the percent of PCR tests for RSV that was positive was unchanged from a week earlier.
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.11 in the Northeast Health District was 94.9, down from 104.1 last week and down from 108.3 two week ago.
Oconee County added 42 cases in the seven days ending on Wednesday. The county added 37 cases in the seven days ending on Jan. 4.
Clarke County added 145 new cases in the seven days ending on Jan. 11. It had added 137 cases in the week ending on Jan. 4.
The unstandardized rolling average of added cases in Oconee County on Jan.11 was 5.9. It had been 6.1 on Jan. 4.
The unstandardized seven-day rolling average of added cases in Clarke County on Jan. 11 was 21.3. It had been 19.7 on Jan. 4.
The newly reported confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the Northeast Health District were in Barrow County (2), Morgan County (3), and Walton County (2).
The Department of Public Health removed or reassigned one confirmed death previously reported in Clarke County.
The Northeast Health District now has recorded 1,712 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 since February of 2020, or 322.9 deaths per 100,000 population.
Clarke County, with 236 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, has the lowest rate of deaths per population in the Northeast Health District (183.4), followed by Oconee County (102 confirmed deaths, or 244.0 per 100,000 population).
The Northeast Health District reported 192 “probable” deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, the same as last Wednesday.
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, which reported data from the entire state and from regional areas of the state.
The hospital data available for Region E included the 10 counties in the Northeast Health District plus Hart and Franklin counties. The data were dominated by St. Mary’s and Piedmont Regional in Athens-Clarke County.
The link provided in the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report to the HHS web site do not provide any specific data on regions in Georgia.
After hours of searching, I was able to find a data file that contained data for Piedmont Athens Regional and St. Mary’s in Athens.
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 seven-day rolling average of pediatric cases at both hospitals was 0.0.
I do not have any earlier data with which to compare these averages.
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 142 out of the state’s 159 counties as having a High Transmission Rate.
That number was 148 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. 7, the most recent rating, lists the level of activity in Georgia as 6, or Moderate.
The highest level is 13. The rating last week was 9.
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. 7, the rate was 2.5 (Antigen) and 2.0 (PCR).
For the week ending on Dec. 31, the rate was 2.3 (Antigen), and 2.0 (PCR).