March 30 noon DPH status report: Numbers and rates of hospitalizations flattening past 3 days

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Covid-19 deaths rise to 87 in Georgia; confirmed Fayette cases up to 32 — 

Here’s the Covid-19 pandemic report from the Georgia Department of Public Health for midday, March 30:

Fayette County: Confirmed infections  — 32 with 3 deaths

Coweta County: Confirmed infections  — 28 with 2 deaths

Total test-confirmed cases statewide: 2,809

Hospitalized: 707, which is 25.17% of the total confirmed cases

State deaths: 87, a fatality rate of 3.1%

Six more Fayette Countians have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 respiratory illness since noon Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Fayette to 32. There’s no official report of how many of those 32 diagnosed have been hospitalized versus how many were sent home to self-quarantine.

The fatality rate in Fayette has remained unchanged since Sunday with a total of 3, all in their late 70s to early 80s. The fatalities in Fayette are as follows: Male, age 83; male, age 79; and female, age 77, all with underlying medical issues.

Neighboring Coweta County has 28 diagnosed coronavirus illnesses and 2 reported deaths: a male, age 77, and a female, age 42. Both had underlying medical problems, according to DPH.

One metric we’re keeping an eye on is the number of hospitalizations and its percentage share of the total number of infected people. Since the number of hospital beds — especially intensive care units fitted for respiratory patients — has been identified as the critical weak link in the United States healthcare system response to the novel coronavirus, the number of Georgia-based hospital beds with Covid-19 patients in them is key to the state keeping ahead of the “curve,” the statistical line showing the intersection point where the number of serious illnesses overwhelm available medical treatment.

The number of statewide hospitalized confirmed illnesses rose to 707 as of March 30, which is 25.17% of the total number of reported cases. That is an increase of 41 newly hospitalized patients over the previous day, an increase of 6.1% compared to the previous day.

Here’s what the raw numbers of new hospital patients and the corresponding rates of hospitalization increase day over day looks like:

March 26, 79 new patients, 20% increase;

March 27, 93 new patients, 19.9% increase;

March 28, 51 new patients, 9% increase;

March 29, 49 new patients, 7.9% increase;

March 30, 41 new patients, 6.1% increase.

Note that for the past three days, both the raw number of new patients and the rate of increase of new patients has been sloping downward. There was a spike of 93 new hospitalized patients on March 27, but at least for a short period since the spike, the trend is not upward bound. Whether that is a temporary blip or the beginning of a trend is not knowable yet. The DPH has only in the past week or so been reporting the hospitalizations and the associated rate of increase, not enough time to draw any reliable conclusions about trends from the publicly available numbers.

As shown by DPH figures, hospitalizations of testing-confirmed illnesses represent about one out every four persons diagnosed with Covid-19. To put it another way, three out of four Covid-19 confirmed cases did not require hospitalization.

Here are other figures that don’t show up in the publicly available statistics:

(1) The number of people who are hospitalized with respiratory illnesses but who either haven’t received the tests that are still in short supply or whose test results haven’t come back yet;

(2) The actual number of people who have the coronavirus but are showing no symptoms or only mild symptoms of the respiratory illness, but who might still be capable of passing the infection on to others;

(3) The total number of people who have already contracted the coronavirus since its introduction into the United States, but who have since completely recovered.

Testing in Georgia has surpassed the five-figure mark, with 10,671 tests having been handled by commercial laboratories. Of that number, 2,507 of those tests have come back with a positive confirmation of Covid-19, a positive rate of 23.4%.

The state has performed 1,895 tests with a confirmed positive result in 302, a rate of 15.9%

Statewide, the confirmed cases are split nearly evenly between male (48%) and female (49%) with 3% unknown.

By age group, the Covid-19 cases among persons ages 18 to 59 represent 57% of the total cases, while those over age 60 account for 35% of all cases. Those under 18 are still only 1% of the total, while 7% of the cases involve unreported ages.

Test-confirmed cases and deaths attributed to Covid-19 in Fayette and adjacent counties are as follows:

Fulton — 463 cases, 14 deaths

Clayton — 61 cases, 1 death

Henry — 58 cases, 2 deaths

Fayette — 32 cases, 3 deaths

Coweta — 28 cases, 2 deaths

Spalding — 12 cases, no deaths