OUR VIEW: Updating COVID numbers weekly enough for now

Published 10:30 am Friday, April 22, 2022

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It feels like just yesterday all of us were glued to our computer screens, waiting for the latest COVID-19 case updates from the Georgia Department of Public Health. At first, one case felt like a ton. Then, it was hundreds. Thousands.

In March 2020, and the months that followed, tracking the number of cases was a daily task that just about everyone did. We all wanted information, and as Troup County’s daily newspaper, we did our best to update everyone on those numbers as they went up or down. As those numbers climbed, the number of hospitalizations and deaths climbed as well. It was like clockwork — if cases went up, the other numbers followed.

Of course, as the pandemic evolved, the importance of the number of cases became a little less important. The omicron variant was and is very contagious, but most people didn’t get as sick. Therefore, the number of hospitalizations and deaths became the go-to numbers to have a real feel for how bad the situation was.

And now, cases are no longer even reported daily. GDPH announced last week that it will now update case totals on its website once a week.

“Weekly intervals provide a more complete picture than day to day changes or data fluctuations when determining areas of concern or COVID’s trajectory in the state,” GDPH wrote in a press release. “Given the number of at-home COVID tests that do not get reported, there is a now a greater focus on other indicators such as hospital admissions, hospital occupancy, and overall vaccination rates when assessing the community impact of COVID-19.”

As we wrote earlier this week, this again feels like another step in this two-year-long pandemic that has become a normal part of our life. 

GDPH did a lot of work on the front-end to get this information published twice per day so that everyone had reliable information.  We appreciate that work and understand the reasoning for moving to one update a week.