The Thanksgiving surge health care workers warned about has arrived in Bulloch County. As we head into the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, local leaders are very concerned about what we are seeing now.

Area hospitals are pivoting in and out of COVID diversion due to the surge in patients. Also local urgent care facilities and doctors’ offices are reporting testing supply shortages, especially for rapid testing. Several providers we spoke with today tell us they only have days of testing supplies left, with no idea when they will be replenished.

DPH Not Reporting Rapid Test Positives in Daily Numbers

The numbers we are reporting daily from DPH are not telling an accurate picture of what is really happening in our community now. The primary issue is Georgia DPH’s refusal to follow the White House’s COVID task force recommendations to combine all positive test results. Currently Georgia only reports a positive case if it is done by the PCR method, not rapid antigen test.

The PCR test is now taking 48 to 72 hours to get results back. The rapid test takes only minutes. After pressure from health care providers and media, DPH began reporting the number of rapid positives statewide daily and by county on a weekly basis.

On Monday, we will get the rapid test positive numbers for the last seven days. However, DPH continues to refuse to use the total positive cases to calculate critical indicators, like percent positives, which allow citizens and leaders to determine the seriousness of the outbreak. This makes it appear that the COVID outbreak is not as severe as it may actually be.

Act as though EVERYONE is Positive in Bulloch County

This is definitely the case now in Bulloch County. Local leaders are pleading with ALL Bulloch counties to operate for the next few weeks as if EVERYONE you come in contact with is positive. It is imperative that we all wear masks, avoid crowds and social distance. Please reconsider gathering with large groups for Christmas and New Year’s.

Bulloch COVID Testing Options

Local doctors’ offices and urgent cares can provide PCR COVID testing and some have rapid testing capability. However, only a few are providing the rapid test to the general public and the price for testing varies based on insurance from $80 to $175 for rapid testing locally.

DPH and East Georgia Heath Care, which is a federally subsidized clinic, are the two free options for testing. DPH only offers PCR testing and they require you to complete an online questionnaire to determine eligibility for testing. However, East Georgia Health Center is also having difficulty with rapid testing supplies.

East Georgia Health Care – PCR, Rapid Antigen testing


Statesboro Urgent Care – PCR, Rapid Antigen testing

Statesboro Total Health – PCR, Rapid Antigen testing and Rapid Molecular testing

Applecare – PCR, Rapid Antigen and Rapid Molecular testing

South Georgia Immediate Care – which is now St. Joseph’s Urgent Care – PCR, Rapid Antigen testing

 

WHITE HOUSE COVID TASK FORCE BULLOCH RECOMMENDATIONS:

CLICK HERE FOR Region J Hospital Bed and Ventilator Usage


Bulloch County Report

  • Bulloch County 14 day average of positive cases per 100,000 is 244 and 7 day average of percent of positive tests is 13.7%.  (Targets are below 100 per 100,000 and positive tests at 5% or below).
  • 3,554 Total confirmed cases and 56 deaths which include 35 confirmed & 21 probable deaths reported here with 156 hospitalizations total.  Up 29 confirmed since yesterday.  (These figures apply to Bulloch County residents).
  • EGRMC currently/today caring for 17 COVID-19 positive patients today. (May or may not be Bulloch County residents.) 6 COVID-19 patients on vents.  EGRMC has 17 total vents.  However, this is reporting only COVID-19 patients on vents.  It is unknown how many actual vents are in use at this time at EGRMC.  

Bulloch Schools, Colleges and University Report

Bulloch County Schools 

https://www.bullochschools.org/covid19dailyreport

Georgia Southern University

  • Updated weekly on Monday.  Click link below for totals:

https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/exposure-health/

East Georgia State College

  • Updated daily/weekdays. Click link below for totals:

http://www.ega.edu/covid19

Ogeechee Technical College

  • Updated weekly on Monday.  Click link below for totals:

https://www.ogeecheetech.edu/1976


Candler County Report:

  • Candler County 14 day average of positive cases per 100,000 is 111 and the 7 day average of percent of positive tests is 12.9%.  (Targets are below 100 per 100,000 and positive tests at 5% or below).
  • 594 total confirmed cases and 36 total deaths which include 28 confirmed & 8 probable deaths reported with 49 total hospitalizations. (This is an increase of 2 confirmed cases, an increase of 0 hospitalizations and an increase of 0 deaths for Candler County from yesterday)

Evans County Report:

  • Evans County 14 day average of positive cases per 100,000 is 328 and the 7 day average of percent of positive tests is 17.6%.  (Targets are below 100 per 100,000 and positive tests at 5% or below).
  • 557 Total confirmed cases and 13 total deaths which include 8 confirmed & 5 probable deaths reported with 55 total hospitalizations in Evans. (This is an increase of 5 confirmed cases, increase of 1 hospitalization and 0 deaths for Evans County from yesterday)


BULLOCH LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY REPORT

 

BULLOCH, CANDLER & EVANS COUNTIES COVID-19 DEATHS


About This Report

 

A special thanks to Dr. Frank Davis, M.D. F.A.C.S, a retired trauma surgeon who lives in Bulloch County. He has worked closely with the Grice Connect team to design the COVID-19 dashboard and provide brief interpretation of the data. You will be seeing and hearing more from Dr. Davis as he continues to help us monitor the COVID-19 impact locally.

We also want to thank Sean Davis and his team at Glenn Davis Insurers and Auto Owners Insurers for stepping up to sponsor this massive effort daily. They understand the importance of providing the best local data possible so their clients, family and friends can navigate this continuing crisis.

Thanks for supporting and following Grice Connect.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has added two new data sets to their daily COVID reports. These include rapid test positives cases and probable deaths. However, they are not following White House recommendations to include this data in the daily case and death numbers.

This skews the data and makes it appear cases and death rates look more favorable than what is actually occuring. DPH is reporting rapid test totals by county on a weekly basis. They are reporting “probable” deaths by county daily.

Beginning today we will include these in our total. This increased the death total on the dashboard from CVOID to 50. In the body of the report we will break out the numbers. DPH is not releasing demographic data on the “probable” deaths.

DPH Definitions of Deaths

“Confirmed Deaths”: This number includes confirmed COVID-19 cases that were either reported to DPH as deceased by healthcare providers or medical examiners/coroners, identified by death certificates with COVID-19 indicated as the cause of death, or there is evidence that COVID-19 contributed to the individual’s death.

“Probable Deaths”: This number includes individuals who are antigen positive or individuals with compatible illness and known close contact to a case that were either reported to DPH as deceased by healthcare providers or medical examiners/coroners, identified by death certificates with COVID-19 indicated as the cause of death, or there is evidence that COVID contributed to the individual’s death OR individuals with a death certificate that has COVID-19 indicated as the cause of death and there is no laboratory evidence for SARS-CoV-2.

Rapid COVID Test now Available in Statesboro

Currently Applecare, South Georgia Immediate Care and the new Statesboro Urgent Care all have rapid antigen testing capability. These antigen tests will not show in the daily numbers of positive cases for Bulloch. You do not have to be a resident of Statesboro to get tested.

White House Task Force Recommends Including Rapid Test Results

Georgia is not currently combining molecular (PCR) and antigen (rapid) test results, which is recommended by the White House COVID Task Force. Instead Georgia reports them separately daily statewide and provides county antigen positives on a weekly basis. With the rapid accessibility of rapid testing, this will greatly impact the number of positive cases.

In last weeks White House report they explained that antigen tests perform well in the highly infectious window and will be effective in identification of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infectious cases.
• Antigen tests do not perform well after 8-10 days post infection when nucleic acid cycle times are greater than 30.
• All antigen results must be reported with both the number of positive results and total tests conducted; positives must be reported as COVID cases.

DeWayne Grice

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...