March 31 noon Covid-19 report: Confirmed cases and hospitalizations sharply up since Monday

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Fayette Covid-19 cases rise to 44, with one additional fatality; statewide it’s 3,817 illnesses with 108 fatalities — 

Here’s the Covid-19 pandemic report from the Georgia Department of Public Health for midday, March 31:

Fayette County: Confirmed infections  — 44 with 4 deaths (one additional — a female, 51, with no underlying medical condition)

Coweta County: Confirmed infections  — 40 with 2 deaths

Total test-confirmed cases statewide: 3,817

Hospitalized: 818, which is 21.43% of the total confirmed cases; up 111 new admissions from one day earlier

State deaths: 108, a fatality rate of 2.83% (compared to 87 and 3.1% the previous day)

Twelve more Fayette Countians have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 respiratory illness since noon Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Fayette to 44. There’s no official report of how many of those 44 diagnosed have been hospitalized versus how many were sent home to self-quarantine.

The fatality rate in Fayette increased by one — a female, 51, with no underlying medical condition. The previous three deaths were all in their late 70s to early 80s. The total fatalities in Fayette are as follows: Male, age 83; male, age 79; and female, age 77, all with underlying medical issues, and the newest — a 51-year-old female with no underlying medical condition.

Neighboring Coweta County has 40 diagnosed coronavirus illnesses and 2 reported deaths: a male, age 77, and a female, age 42. Both had underlying medical problems, according to DPH.

The number of statewide hospitalized confirmed illnesses rose to 818 as of March 31, which is 21.43% of the total number of reported cases. That is an increase of 111 newly hospitalized patients over the previous day, an increase of 15.7% compared to the previous day. Both the raw numbers and rate of increase rose sharply since the noon Monday report.

Here’s what the raw numbers of new hospital patients and the corresponding rates of hospitalization increase day over day look 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;

• March 31, 111 new patients, 15.7% increase.

While for the previous three days, both the raw number of new patients and the rate of increase of new patients had been sloping downward, Tuesday represents a sharp reversal of that mini-trend.

As shown by DPH figures, hospitalizations of testing-confirmed illnesses represent about slightly more than one out of every five persons diagnosed with Covid-19 (21.43%). To put it another way, just under four out of every five Covid-19 confirmed cases did not require hospitalization.

The number of hospitalizations and its percentage share of the total number of infected people is a metric to watch. 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 illnesses overwhelm available medical treatment.

Testing in Georgia as of noon Tuesday stands at 14,260 tests having been handled by commercial laboratories. Of that number, 3,491 of those tests have come back with a positive confirmation of Covid-19, a positive rate of 24.4%.

The state has performed 1,921 tests with a confirmed positive result in 326, a rate of 16.9%.

Statewide, the confirmed cases are split between male (46%) and female (51%) with 3% unknown.

By age group, the Covid-19 cases among persons ages 18 to 59 represent 58% 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 6% of the cases involve unreported ages.

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

Fulton — 547 cases, 17 deaths

Clayton — 96 cases, 3 deaths

Henry — 76 cases, 2 deaths

Fayette — 44 cases, 4 deaths

Coweta — 40 cases, 2 deaths

Spalding — 13 cases, no deaths

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.