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Public school COVID cases to be announced

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The Baldwin County School District plans to unveil a COVID-19 “dashboard” on its website either late this week or early next week, according to Felicia Cummings, community relations coordinator.

It’s not immediately clear if the dashboard will classify COVID cases by each particular school, or whether it will be district wide. Although public school systems in Georgia are not required to publicly disclose its case counts, many districts that have returned to in-person classes have volunteered to do so.

Dubious milestone hit

One-out-of-every-900-something residents of Milledgeville-Baldwin County has now died to complications of COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health’s database.

Baldwin’s death total reached 46 late last week, while the Census Bureau most recently placed the local population at 44,725.

In terms of death rate, Baldwin currently ranks 27th out of 159 Georgia counties, which puts Baldwin in the top 83rd percentile. Georgia, meanwhile, has the 18th-highest death rate in the country. In terms of neighboring states, South Carolina ranks 15th, Florida 16th, North Carolina 32nd and Tennessee 33rd.

Dubious data dump

On Monday afternoon, according to the DPH dashboard, next-door Jones County was listed with 422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March, including 406 in the last two weeks. Baldwin, meanwhile, showed total 1,515 cases, including 808 in the last two weeks.

No, those are not typos, but rather an error in the DPH’s reporting. At the root of the problem, apparently, was a “data dump” by Navicent Health, which is the largest healthcare system in middle Georgia.

“Navicent Health has been working to automate reporting of its COVID-19 lab test results to the Georgia Department of Public Health,” wrote the North Central District on its Facebook page. “Earlier (Monday), the two systems connected and the DPH state record system received a large number of automatic reports from The Medical Center, Navicent Health. The connection caused around 21,000 electronic lab reports (ELR) to be added to the DPH system.

“These records include COVID-19 tests with collection dates conducted in mid-June. This data dump has caused some of the case numbers in our counties to be reported inaccurately. While a large amount of the records appear to be duplicates that had been previously reported and can be removed, there are still several new cases. DPH and North Central Health District are working with Navicent Health to review the data and hope to have the issue resolved soon.”