Due to a surge in COVID positive cases Bulloch County testing sites are reporting a shortage in COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits. This shortage comes as we experience an increase in positives that are part of the holiday surge experts predicted. All citizens of Bulloch, Candler & Evans Counties are asked to wear their masks in public, avoid large gatherings & wash their hands often. It is imperative to do your part to squash the spread of COVID-19.
WHITE HOUSE COVID TASK FORCE BULLOCH RECOMMENDATIONS:
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 including church and funerals.
Bulloch County Report
- 40 COVID positives reported today. This includes 37 PCR positives and 3 rapid antigen positives
- 57 deaths which include 36 PCR test positive & 21 Rapid positive deaths reported for Bulloch
- 24 at EGRMC with COVID-19 (May or may not be Bulloch County residents.)
- 7 COVID-19 patients on vents at EGRMC
- Bulloch County 14 day average of positive cases per 100,000 is 354 and 7 day average of percent of positive tests is 23.9%. (Targets are below 100 per 100,000 and positive tests at 5% or below) THESE ONLY INCLUDE PCR TEST – DPH DOES NOT INLCUDE ANITIGEN POSITIVES IN DAILY REPORT BY COUNTY. YOU SHOULD ASSUME THE NUMBERS ARE WORSE THAN DPH IS REPORTING.
- 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
Candler County Report:
- 10 COVID positives reported today. This includes 4 PCR positives and 6 rapid antigen positives
- 37 total deaths which include 28 PCR positive and 9 rapid positive
- Candler County 14 day average of positive cases per 100,000 is 268 and the 7 day average of percent of positive tests is 2.7%. (Targets are below 100 per 100,000 and positive tests at 5% or below) THESE ONLY INCLUDE PCR TEST – DPH DOES NOT INLCUDE ANITIGEN POSITIVES IN DAILY REPORT BY COUNTY. YOU SHOULD ASSUME THE NUMBERS ARE WORSE THAN DPH IS REPORTING.
Evans County Report:
- 5 COVID positives reported today. This includes 2 PCR positives and 3 rapid antigen positives
- 13 total deaths which include 8 PCR positive and 5 rapid positive
- Evans County 14 day average of positive cases per 100,000 is 318 and the 7 day average of percent of positive tests is 2.7%. (Targets are below 100 per 100,000 and positive tests at 5% or below). THESE ONLY INCLUDE PCR TEST – DPH DOES NOT INLCUDE ANITIGEN POSITIVES IN DAILY REPORT BY COUNTY. YOU SHOULD ASSUME THE NUMBERS ARE WORSE THAN DPH IS REPORTING.
We are currently in Phase 1: Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Availability
Phase 1-A will include paid and unpaid persons serving in a healthcare setting who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Hospital staff, public health clinical staff, EMS, and other first responders, long term care facility (LTCF) staff, and urgent care facility staff are examples of people who will be included in this phase. Additional examples include:
- Staff in clinical settings (e.g., physicians, nurses, pharmacists, EMS, laboratory staff, environmental services, LTCF staff etc.)
- LTCF Residents
Georgia Governor Kemp has announced plans to add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination. This is expected to begin on January 11th.
BULLOCH VACCINE LOCATIONS:
- Bulloch County Health Department
- Forest Heights Pharmacy
- McCook’s Pharmacy
- Medical Center Pharmacy
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
Bulloch Schools, Colleges and University Report
Bulloch County Schools
Georgia Southern University
- Updated weekly on Monday. Click link below for totals:
East Georgia State College
- Updated daily/weekdays. Click link below for totals:
Ogeechee Technical College
- Updated weekly on Monday. Click link below for totals:
About This Report
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for supporting and following Grice Connect.