Kemp touts progress as COVID-19 data studied

  • As Gov. Brian Kemp touts reduced COVID-19-related hospitalizations and increased testing in Georgia, the number of new confirmed cases in White County’s appeared to show some good news over the past week.
    As Gov. Brian Kemp touts reduced COVID-19-related hospitalizations and increased testing in Georgia, the number of new confirmed cases in White County’s appeared to show some good news over the past week.
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As Gov. Brian Kemp touts reduced COVID-19-related hospitalizations and increased testing in Georgia, the number of new confirmed cases in White County’s appeared to show some good news over the past week.

But health and safety officials are advising the public to keep its guard up with continued practices to limit spread of the coronavirus.

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s 1 p.m. status report Wednesday, May 20, showed the county had reached 91 total confirmed COVID-19 cases since the state began tracking positive diagnoses during the pandemic. The county total stood at 83 total cases on May 7.

Georgia DPH daily status reports do not differentiate between how many are active infections and those who have recovered, however, White County Emergency Management has calculated those figures locally.

As of Monday, May 18, the agency considered 72 of the 89 COVID-19 cases at that time to now be recovered, based on 21 days elapsing after a confirmed case is reported to the county.

White County Emergency Management & Public Safety Director David Murphy noted Monday that this past weekend was the first time the county had not had any new cases reported over a weekend since tracking began.

Murphy continues to urge caution as the coronavirus remains active here and the pandemic lingers.

“While the numbers are showing a relatively steady state even with increased testing, we are seeing the curve flatten, which is the intent of social distancing measures,” he said Tuesday. “I would encourage we stay vigilant and continue to follow all the guidelines by the CDC, including personal hygiene. The coronavirus is still present in our county, state and country, we are now winning this war against the virus.”

The state Public Health Department has faced recent scrutiny for how it has presented data in its online graphs and for changes in numbers. White County’s figures are among those that have fluctuated over the past couple of weeks. The DPH online report showed 89 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county early Monday, but had reduced that to 87 by end of the day.

A note on the DPH tracking website stated  “there was an electronic processing error which inadvertently included 231 serologic test results in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. This error was corrected, but caused a decrease in positive cases between reporting periods on our dashboard.”

On May 7, the website listed two White County deaths attributed to COVID-19 – a 95-year-old female and a 65-year-old male, both with a chronic health condition. Without explanation, the female’s death was removed the following day.

On May 14, the death count again rose to two with the addition of a 26-year-old male. It listed the case as “unknown” when it came to a chronic health condition. On Monday, May 18, the total rose to three with the addition of a woman over 90 with a chronic health condition. No exact age was released.