Northeast Georgia Health System Sharing COVID-19 Data as Regional Peak Not Yet Reached

Monday, April 20, 2020

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is releasing data about its COVID-19 cases as leaders encourage people to continue to follow shelter-in-place and isolation orders. The following data was available as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, and will be regularly updated and posted to nghs.com/COVID-19 each weekday by 1 p.m.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • Confirmed positive patients currently being treated = 111
    • NGMC Gainesville = 73
    • NGMC Braselton = 13
    • NGMC Barrow = 6
    • NGMC Lumpkin = 3
    • New Horizons Limestone = 16
  • Patients awaiting test results = 79
  • Total deaths = 15

Hall County Specific Data from NGHS Records (including Longstreet Clinic)

  • Total confirmed positive cases = 785
  • Total deaths = 8
  • Case rate = 377 cases per 100K people

While this information is shared with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) each day, it may not match what is available on the Georgia DPH website due to a lag in how the information is verified and updated.

Despite the reporting lag, Georgia DPH currently lists Hall County as having the sixth-highest number of positive cases in the state – more than any other county outside of Metro Atlanta and Albany. The NGHS case rate of 377 per 100K people also puts Hall County in DPH’s most severe category.

“Keep in mind, due to challenges that still exist with testing, we are confident that even our latest data doesn’t truly reveal all cases that exist in our community,” says Supriya Mannepalli, MD, chair of NGMC’s Infection Prevention & Control Committee. “It’s a certainty there are more people with COVID-19 in our region who haven’t been tested and aren’t showing any symptoms.”

NGHS also has a predictive model – which applies widely respected methodology developed by the University of Pennsylvania to real-time data from NGHS – which currently shows COVID-19 activity may eventually outpace the health system’s capacity.

“It’s true that we have some capacity for patients today, but that is extremely likely to change,” says Clifton Hastings, MD, chief of NGMC’s Medical Staff. “The only way to lessen the likelihood of our hospitals being overwhelmed is for people to continue following expert recommendations to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and isolate if you develop symptoms.”

“Our intensive care units in Gainesville and Braselton are hovering between 60-80% full on any given day, and they would have already been overwhelmed if we had not recently increased our total ICU beds from 91 to 134,” says Michael Covert, NGHS chief operating officer. “We look forward to adding 20 more beds when a mobile ICU unit granted by the state arrives on May 5. We have also increased the number of medical/surgical beds across all four hospitals from 474 to 522, and we have a total of 108 ventilators across the health system.”

“Some people may think we are overstating the seriousness of the situation, and they’re anxious to get back to ‘business as usual,’” says Carol Burrell, NGHS president and CEO. “Trust me, as a non-profit, we understand that sentiment for many reasons. But our physician leaders, clinical experts and objective data all tell us now is not the time to relax. Rather, now is the time to continue to take every precaution we can.”

People can continue to get the latest information about what they need to do if they feel sick, how NGHS is responding to the pandemic and how the community can help at nghs.com/COVID-19.

“We know people are tired of staying home, but this is about saving as many lives as possible,” says Burrell. “Thank you for doing your part, and know you should be proud of our entire team – physicians, clinical staff, support staff, everyone – who are working tirelessly to care for you and your loved ones.”

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.