Are cases going up in Georgia?

It seems like every day there’s another headline or person claiming that cases or deaths are going up in Georgia. The DPH site posts totals of confirmed cases and deaths on their web site, so until a day goes by where we don’t have a single new case or a single death reported, those numbers will go up. Cumulative graphs of cases and deaths also always increase. You can only see the trend by looking at the changes over a period of time.

Some days go up more than others, because reporting is limited on the weekends, so I caution against ever looking at or comparing individual days. That’s why I focus on the 7-day moving average of daily increases or the weekly totals. That balances out low numbers from the weekend with higher numbers on Mondays an Tuesdays, as well as another other days that are out of the ordinary for a variety of reasons.

What matters is whether new cases are going up more or less, in the context of testing. From my daily updates and weekly overview, you can see the latest details about how cases and deaths are growing in Georgia. But in general, cases were growing more before re-opening than they have since re-opening. In the first half of April, Georgia was averaging about 800+ cases per day, which was about 1 in every 4 tests run. Now, the 7-day average of new cases has dropped to around 700, while testing has increased dramatically. Now, less than 1 in 10 tests run is positive.

Update May 25: As testing has opened to asymptomatic individuals, we are seeing a small rise in new cases identified, but no corresponding increase in current hospitalizations, so it appears the new cases may be the result of the expanded testing, which is now able to identify cases with mild or no symptoms.

The first graph on my Today in Georgia page shows the average number of new cases reported per day by the Georgia DPH, which I get by subtracting yesterday nights’s total from tonight’s total.

Please do NOT be confused by the sharp drop in the past 14 days on the graphs of new cases or new deaths on the DPH site. That period of uncertainty is grayed out and the data points are not connected by lines because that data is incomplete – often substantially – and should not be used to make conclusions about current trends. Read more about these graphs here.