Georgia Week in Review – May 4

Cases continued to rise over the past week in Georgia. There was a small decline in the cases by report date on May 3 and 4, but it’s too early to tell if that’s a real signal of slowing case increases or just a hiccup in data reporting. Test positivity rose over 5% this week, but with less asymptomatic testing and more people using home antigen tests instead of PCR tests, our thresholds for “good” test positivity will need to shift.

As I said last week, the biggest case increases have been in the Metro Atlanta region, but other regions are increasing some as well. I added a page for Regional Graphs where you can this quite clearly. By onset date, cases in Metro Atlanta started climbing in mid-March, almost two weeks prior to the other regions. If this mini-wave follows previous patterns of rising for about 8 weeks, cases will peak around mid-May in Metro Atlanta and late May in the rest of the state.

Hospital metrics in Georgia have risen a little from recent record lows, but current hospitalizations are still fairly flat, as you can see from the graph below.

New CDC metrics were announced in late February that incorporate hospital rates as well as more realistic case rates, and they show the country in a pretty good position right now, with most of the country now in the Low level. Although cases have been rising in many states, hospitalizations nationwide have remained very low due to prior immunity from vaccination and infection. This small spring wave seems to be having the most impact in the Northern US, particularly the Northeast, but Georgia, in particular Atlanta, isn’t completely escaping it.

Deaths are still falling in Georgia, and reported deaths are likely still inflated due to reporting lag. For the past several weeks, a majority of the deaths reported have been from the Omicron peak (Dec. 2021 – Feb. 2022), when death reporting got backed up.