COVID-19 testing data is fundamental to determine if COVID-19 cases are actually decreasing as opposed to appearing to decrease because we are administering fewer tests. Plus, when a community administers more tests, it can better identify the transmission level of the virus and make fact-based decisions about loosening restrictions and reactivating the economy.
This dashboard uses data published by the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Status Report on weekly new confirmed cases and weekly new tests. To help understand how both indicators are moving through the population, the dashboard shows confirmed new cases and tests per 1,000 population at the county level (top right chart). The percent positivity rate, which is the most common measure for analyzing the state of the pandemic, is in the chart at the lower right at the county, 10-county region, and state level. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a community have a 5 percent positivity rate before implementing a reopening strategy or loosening restrictions.
When it comes to testing, an important caveat is that publicly available data currently only include the molecular (PCR) test, and only those reported to DPH. Rapid antigen testing (that 15-minute test growing in popularity) data is not yet available, so test counts, like case counts, likely are underreported. For more on this, check out Amber Schmidtke‘s excellent reports, especially her weekly digest.
Here are some of the findings:
- Georgia’s DPH data shows that all the counties in the ARC 10-County area experienced a peak of transmission from mid-July to mid-August.
- The number of weekly new cases has been in constant decline since mid-July in the 10-County Area … but so have weekly new PCR tests.
- As of October 3rd, five out of the ten counties in the 10-County Area have a positivity rate lower than 5%. On the other hand, Douglas County has the highest positivity rate in the 10-County Area, with 8.5% of tests returning positive.
Use the dashboard to explore the data and identify trends in each of the ten counties: