by Robin Kemp

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s evening report for Monday, May 18, 2020 shows that 1,009 people in Clayton County are known to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus. 163 residents have been hospitalized and 38 have died of the virus to date.

GDPH lists the case rate, or prevalence of positive cases of COVID-19, as 331 per 100,000 residents. The death rate for Clayton County is 12.5 people per 100,000 residents.

However, GDPH noted the weekend tallies had been incorrect, due to “an electronic processing error which inadvertently included 231 serologic [antibody] test results in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. This error was corrected, but caused a decrease in positive cases between reporting periods on our dashboard.”

GDPH fixed the error over the weekend and apologized.

Critics point out that the agency has issued data with major errors on more than one occasion. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported a GDPH graph had given the impression that case counts were dropping in the five hottest COVID-19 counties when in fact that was not the case. GDPH fixed the graph.

However, differences between early numbers and final results can take a couple of days to sort out. An example is any discrepancy between the addresses that doctors and patients report.

For example, a soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. but who has a home address in Forest Park, was incorrectly included in the city’s positive case totals, said Forest Park Emergency Management Agency head Maj. Joel Turner during the May 18 city council meeting.