ATLANTA, GA — Why does Georgia report regularly on coronavirus infections in nursing homes but not in schools?
The state of Georgia’s position — at least concerning schools — is that the public has no legal right to information about coronavirus outbreaks the state is investigating, according to a report. The underlying reason may well be lack of cooperation from some school systems, according to.
In August, the Georgia Department of Public Health mandated weekly reports from schools. In mid-September, the agency agreed to produce the data, but dropped those plans last week.
“The Department is concerned about possible non-cooperation of schools in reporting data and has decided to maintain the confidentiality of the weekly COVID-19 school reports,” the agency wrote in denying The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s open records request.
According to Georgia’s health department, only about 70 percent of Georgia’s 2,300 schools are reporting, even though it’s supposed to be mandatory.
While lack of transparency isn’t an issue yet in metro Atlanta because most classes are still online, it’s a concern elsewhere. The Atlanta newspaper reported that some parents have essentially crowdsourced school system’s coronavirus statistics by starting social-media groups to share information.
GEORGIA’S CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS FOR SATURDAY, SEPT. 26
Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta reported a total of 313,873 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. According to the health department’s website, that includes 1,381 newly confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.
Georgia also reported 6,914 deaths so far from COVID-19, with 44 more deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. In addition, the state reported 28,035 hospitalizations — 118 more than the day before — and 5,176 admissions so far to intensive-care units.
No information is available from Georgia about how many patients have recovered.
Counties in or near metro Atlanta continue to have the highest number of positives, with Fulton County still in the lead.
Fulton County: 27,480 cases — 91 new
Gwinnett County: 27,296 cases — 109 new
Cobb County: 19,513 cases — 83 new
DeKalb County: 18,600 cases — 79 new
Hall County: 9,225 cases — 78 new
Chatham County: 8,407 — 30 new
Clayton County: 7,094 — 33 new
Richmond County: 7,062 — 35 new
Bibb County: 6,039 — 15 new
Cherokee County: 5,994 — 35 new
Counties in or near metro Atlanta also continue to have the most deaths from COVID-19.
Fulton County: 572 deaths — 1 new
Cobb County: 426 deaths — 1 new
Gwinnett County: 402 deaths — 1 new
DeKalb County: 360 deaths — 2 new
Dougherty County: 187 deaths
Muscogee County: 169 deaths — 1 new
Bibb County: 168 deaths
Clayton County: 162 deaths — 1 new
Richmond County: 162 deaths — 1 new
Chatham County: 157 deaths — 3 new
As of Saturday, Georgia has administered more than 3.1 million COVID-19 tests, with about 9 percent of those tests the less reliable ones used to detect antibodies.
For the more reliable test for the virus itself, 10.2 percent of tests came back positive. For the less reliable test for antibodies, 8.2 percent came back positive. The overall positive rate was about 10 percent.
As more Georgians were tested over the last month, the percentage of positive tests inched upward from about 8 percent to more than 10 percent. However, over the last few weeks, the percentage of positives has stabilized at about 10 percent. According to the World Health Organization, positive test results should no more than 5 percent for two weeks before reopening for business as usual. Georgia largely reopened for business in April and May, and since then Gov. Brian Kemp has promoted the use of face masks but has steadfastly refused to mandate them.
All Georgia statistics are available on the state's COVID-19 website.
Globally, more than 32.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 985,000 people have died from it, Johns Hopkins University reported Saturday.
In the United States, more than 7 million people have been infected and more than 204,000 people have died from COVID-19 as of Saturday. The U.S. has only about 4 percent of the world's population but more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country.