Northeast Georgia Health System Shares More COVID-19 Data Highlighting The Pandemic’s Impact

Monday, August 17, 2020

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is releasing more data about COVID-19 to increase awareness of how the virus is spreading, who is being infected and how it’s impacting the availability of the system’s hospital beds. The data will be updated before 3 p.m. each day.

“As we participate in conference calls and discussions with organizations, government agencies, elected officials, patients and visitors – we always hear common questions about the positive rate of the tests our teams are performing, whether our hospitals are full and which populations are being affected the most,” says Carol Burrell, NGHS president & CEO. “Sharing this data gives everyone easy access to the answers each day, empowering them to make more informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

When you visit nghs.com and click “Latest Data” at the top of the page, the first chart you’ll see shows a rolling 7-day average of the percentage of tests NGHS has provided that come back positive. Each positive is measured from the date of the test, not the date of the result. The chart includes an orange line representing the 7-day rolling average of the state’s percent positive rate, as well as a yellow line representing the 5% mark the World Health Organization (WHO) advises a community should be at or under before full-scale reopening. You can even zoom in on the graph to get a closer look at specific time periods.

“The chart shows the percent positive rate in our community is still well above the state’s rolling average and three times greater than the 5% mark – which is where we would like to see it,” says Supriya Mannepalli, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s medical director of Infectious Disease Medicine. “It’s proof that we have a long way to go in this region, especially as we head into a fall filled with uncertainty.”

The second chart on the page shows how many beds are currently filled and available across the system’s four hospitals, as well as how many of those beds are occupied by COVID patients or patients waiting on test results (also known as patients under investigation, or PUIs).

“The chart shows we have been very close to running out of beds since mid-July, when COVID volumes increased sharply,” says John Delzell, MD, one of NGHS’ COVID-19 Incident Commanders with a background in Public Health. “It seems very likely that relaxed social distancing and large gatherings around the 4th of July weekend drove the increase in cases. We should all keep that in mind as schools reopen and the Labor Day weekend approaches. We all need to make responsible decisions for our community’s health.”

“All it would take is one more big increase in COVID cases to force us to make the difficult decision to stop providing elective surgeries and other important services to free up resources or risk being overrun,” says Clifton Hastings, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s chief of Medical Staff. “That’s why it’s vital for people to continue following the 3Ws – wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands – to help limit the spread of the virus.”

Other charts on the page illustrate confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by age groups – as well as confirmed cases by race, ethnicity and gender.

“This data clearly shows the virus does not discriminate, and it’s not just a problem for any one group in our community,” says Antonio Rios, MD, chief physician executive for Northeast Georgia Physicians Group and a member of the state’s Hall County COVID-19 Task Force. “It’s a shame that conversations and simple actions to protect each other have become so politicized. We are all facing this pandemic together, and it will take everyone working together to overcome it.”

You can get daily alerts about when the charts and data are updated by following NGHS on social media. Visit nghs.com/connect for links to the system’s pages on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.

“All of our physicians, nurses and employees – from clinical workers on the frontlines to the people who mine this data from our records – continue to bring their best every day,” says Burrell. “They do it for you, because they truly care about improving the health of our community in all we do.”

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ABOUT NORTHEAST GEORGIA HEALTH SYSTEM

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 1 million people across the region through four hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has campuses in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega – with a total of more than 700 beds and more than 1,100 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. Learn more at www.nghs.com.


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