Coastal Health District director provides context to reported COVID-19 deaths

Coastal Health District director provides context to reported COVID-19 deaths

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - In the past week, 14 people have died due to COVID-19 in Chatham County. Half of those were recorded in a single day on Tuesday.

While this is concerning Coastal Health District Director Dr. Lawton Davis said there are some reasons for this high number, like a delay in reporting in some areas.

“They are actually spread out over about a week, to a week and a half and there were no more than two in any single day. So, even though it looks like there was a huge jump in one day that sort of reporting artifact is an unfortunate set of circumstances,” Dr. Davis said.

Dr. Davis said another reason is because deaths tend to lag behind. He says data shows it's typical if you see a rise in the number of infected, you'll then see hospitalizations increase and later deaths.

“It’s sort of a progression of the illness. People typically are not hospitalized until about the second week of their illness and then they may linger in the hospital for two three weeks before they ultimately pass,” Dr. Davis said.

Though the Coastal Health District has a total of 98 deaths, leaders say we are actually seeing the death rate decline and that's partly because of how many tests are positive for the younger population. Of those who do die from the virus, several are over the age of 60 and a majority with underlying health conditions.

Dr. Davis does not credit the numbers we are seeing yet to the 4th of July.

“I think what we’re seeing is the surge that actually began back with Memorial Day and we increased significantly after that and sort of plateaued. We have just entered what I would call the window of opportunity for July the 4th,” Dr. Davis said.

He says the results from the holiday could take eight weeks to appear on their data, but it’s something they will be watching as summer continues.

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