Of the four Stephens County resident COVID-19 fatalities reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health this week, one may have been a resident at PruittHealth Toccoa, and two may have been patients at Stephens County Hospital. (See editor's note)
Stephens County Hospital, as of this afternoon, July 30, has conducted 4,079 (up nine from yesterday) molecular tests for COVID-19 since the hospital first began performing throat swabs for the SARS-CoV-2 virus early in the year. This includes only tests conducted at SCH facilities. Results of those tests identified 614 individuals (up five from yesterday) who were confirmed to have contracted the virus – this number includes individuals who tested positive, but were asymptomatic, as well as individuals who were admitted to the hospital for treatment of COVID-related medical conditions.
As of today, there are seven patients hospitalized (up one from yesterday) at Stephens County Hospital who have tested positive for the virus. Another eight patients (up two from yesterday) who have been admitted to the hospital are awaiting the results of their test.
“In the past week, two patients have died at Stephens County Hospital as a result of complications from COVID-19. One was an older individual who arrived in cardiac arrest being transferred to us from another facility and was not able to be revived,” Stephens County Hospital Vice President Van Loskoski said this afternoon. “Another was an older individual who was being treated in our hospital for COVID-19 and passed away from complications from the virus. As many hospitals across the state and the country are experiencing, we too are seeing an increase in the number of people presenting with severe, life-threatening symptoms due to COVID-19. We are working diligently to treat these patients and continuing tirelessly in our fight against the coronavirus.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Although it would stand to reason that the two COVID-19 fatalities reported by SCH and the one listed by PruittHealth Toccoa account for three of the four fatalities reported by GDPH, it cannot be stated with 100% certainty. GDPH lists fatalities by county of residence, not county of death. At the same time, SCH and other medical facilities, while doing their best to remain transparent and provide the community with relevant information about COVID-19, can only provide statistics on deaths that occur at their facility. They cannot provide, due to ethical considerations and the mandates of HIPAA laws, any identifying information, including names and place of residence. There exists a possibility that any of those three individuals identified by SCH and PruittHealth, were actually citizens of another county, and thus would have been included in the GDPH statistics under their own county, and the four deaths of Stephens County residents reported by GDPH are unaccounted for. It is likely that the two SCH and one PruittHealth fatality account for three of the four deaths reported by GDPH, but it is not a guaranteed conclusion.