Virus deaths climbing locally

  • Virus

The first official deaths in Hart County from the novel coronavirus are being reported this week as cumulative cases in the county continue to grow and nursing homes continue to report deaths from the pandemic-inducing virus.

Four people in Hart County have died from COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health’s daily status report on Tuesday.

Hart County administrator and emergency management director Terrell Partain said as of Wednesday morning there were 37 active cases of the virus in the county.

Two of the deaths reported by the DPH were women who were more than 90 years old. Comorbidity, or other factors in their death was unknown as of Wednesday morning, according to the DPH.

Another death in the DPH’s report was a 78-year-old woman who had no comorbidity.

A death reported by the DPH on July 29 shows a 62-year-old man died from the virus and also had no comorbidity.

Five resident deaths from COVID-19 have occurred at the Brookdale Hartwell nursing home, a report from the Department of Community Health showed Tuesday. Overall, 12 residents have contracted the virus, as well as seven staff members. No residents had recovered as of Tuesday’s report.   

Three resident deaths have also been reported at Hart Care Center. At the facilit residents have tested positive and five have recovered, the DCH reportsHart Carehhart.

It is unclear whether any of those deaths are the same deaths the DPH is reporting.

District 2 public health spokesperson Dave Palmer said there is a lag time in death reporting from coroners/medical examiners, hospitals, and death certificates to the DPH. Nursing homes have to report daily to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, so they would know about a death before DPH would, Palmer said.

Another reason for the conflicting reports could be that some people in assisted living facilities use their home address, as opposed to the facility’s address that they are in, especially if they are there for a shorter period of time such as recovery from an illness or for rehabilitation, Palmer said, causing the death to be listed in their home county.

The number of cumulative cases in Hart County has grown significantly in recent weeks, adding 98 new cases in the past two weeks, according to the DPH. As of Thursday morning, the county has seen a total of 277 cases, 40 hospitalizations and four deaths from the virus since the DPH began tracking the data in March.

There is one critical care bed available out of 70 total in a 12-county region which includes Hart County, The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency reported Tuesday. GEMA reports 85 emergency room beds and 148 general inpatient beds are available in the region.

Statewide, there are 201,713 confirmed cases, 3,984 deaths, 19,788 hospitalizations and 3,616 ICU admissions attributed to the virus, according to the DPH’s status report on Thursday. About 87 percent of critical care beds are in use statewide, according to GEMA.