Editor’s Note: Trying to make sense of Cobb’s COVID-19 statistics

Cobb COVID statistics
A Cobb GIS Map of COVID-19 deaths by ZIP code, with icons showing the locations of long-term care homes.

Since we began breaking down COVID-19 cases, deaths and other data in Cobb County and specifically East Cobb, we’ve been getting queries from readers imploring us to dig further into the numbers.

Some think the seriousness of the virus is overstated considering the high number of people who test negative and the very high percentage of those who recover.

They worry that a slide back into lockdowns would not only devastate the local economy, but some wonder if there isn’t an intent to close things down until after the November elections.

Others think we’re not doing enough to illustrate the spread of a virus that’s killed and sickened far too many people, and that we should hunker down until the case numbers decline, or a vaccine is developed.

Most just want to know how to better understand numbers that are floating around in incredible quantities, and from an increasing variety of sources.

The biggest problem is the limited range of the data that is community-specific, and especially pertaining to East Cobb.

On Friday a total of 339 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Cobb County, a weekday single-day high since the Georgia Department of Public Health began issuing daily updates in March.

Those reflect a sharp spike in cases across Georgia, which was the first to “reopen” from substantial shelter-in-place mandates in April.

(A total of 556 new cases were reported in Cobb on Monday, July 6, reflecting a lag due to the Independence Day holiday weekend.)

As of Friday in Cobb County, there were 6,708 confirmed cases of COVID-19, fourth-highest in Georgia, and 250 deaths, second only to Fulton County.

On Saturday, Cobb’s case count rose by 232, to 6,950 cases, and three more deaths were added, for 253 overall.

Those are staggering numbers, and some readers have been asking us what exactly do they mean? It’s easy to see graphs and charts showing big jumps in cases alone and get very jittery. How concerned should we be?

What’s the larger context we should be thinking about? Who’s getting the most sick and dying the most, and who’s experiencing only mild symptoms or none at all?

Cobb and Douglas Public Health figures showing higher case rates for younger age groups. For more local data click here.

This more recent crest of cases—which is disproportionately affecting younger age groups—is not bringing with it the death rates we saw in the spring, when many elderly and at-risk people were the primary casualties.

They still are. But you’ve got to go the state public health website to find that out, and count out literally one-by-one.

The Cobb and Douglas Public Health website, like the state’s, has a lot of valuable information, but quite often it’s hard to parse data that readers say they want us to examine.

CDPH breaks down cases by age group, but not deaths. It also tracks the test positivity rate (how many people test positive against all those it tests), which is at 6.76 percent in Cobb, up from around five percent just a few weeks ago.

Those are figures noted by Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb and Douglas Public Health, who issued a public health alert last week as a result.

CDPH has tested 18,571 people in Cobb County. If you factor in those 253 deaths, that’s 1.36 percent of people in Cobb who’ve been tested for the virus—at least by our public health agency—who’ve died.

If you measure deaths against what as of Saturday is now 6,940 positive cases (what’s called a case fatality rate), that figure is 3.6 percent.

Cobb government’s Geographic Information Systems department also has been tracking COVID numbers, focusing mostly on data stemming from case and death counts.

Cobb GIS Covid cases 5.2-7.10

How many of those who are testing positive these days are seriously ill? Beyond hospitalization numbers, which have been going up in Cobb and elsewhere in Georgia but are still considered manageable, that’s unclear.

How many people have mild or no symptoms at all also isn’t known. Since anyone is being encouraged to get tested, it would be helpful to know how many asymptomatic cases there are. But that’s data that isn’t readily available.

In East Cobb, we’ve had 1,271 confirmed cases of the virus, and 44 deaths. That’s up from 1,034 and 41 a week ago. But that’s about all that we know, for now.

As we noted in that last report, 16 of those deaths were in ZIP Code 30068, in East Cobb, which has a number of long-term care homes.

While that information has been helpful, it’s become public only in recent weeks. There’s nothing more in the ZIP Code data to indicate the infection rate (those who test positive against those tested) and the case fatality rate.

We don’t even know the age, gender or racial breakdowns by ZIP Code, or how many of those cases involved people with other underlying health issues.

This is information that might calm the fears of many citizens, fears that have been skyrocketing in recent weeks.

Right before Friday’s numbers came out, Cobb Commission Chairman Mike Boyce said he wouldn’t issue a mask mandate, as some mayors have done in Georgia, because he thinks it’s unenforceable.

After Friday’s numbers were reported, the Cobb County School District issued revised reopening plans that do not require staff or students to wear masks.

That’s set off a firestorm of emotion and anxiety that figures to get even more heated before classes start next month.

How masks became such a fraught issue is a topic for another column, but it does show the continuing uncertainty, not just over data, but how to interpret it and how to develop strategies to combat the virus.

We are drowning in data without having a better understanding of it. Other data that might better explain how many people seriously become sick, or not, is harder to come by.

Yet politicians and public health officials keep peddling the same pedestrian messages they have since March—wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask in public.

Gee, thanks Mom.

After four months, this is all they can still say? This isn’t reassuring the public any more than continuing to extend emergency orders, as the governor and judges have done, at least until August, and possibly into the fall.

How much longer will business owners, employees, students and parents, religious worshippers, sports fans and everyday citizens be told to continue placing their lives and well-being on indefinite hold?

How much longer will there be public demands to mask up, and lock down, healthy people? Especially school children, who are in an age group with the fewest virus cases of all? Is this even a good thing for our society to expect?

The numbers are all over the place, begging to be better organized, and so are the reactions to a crisis that seems to have no end.

Cobb County appears to be in good shape, based on data that goes beyond raw case and death counts.

However, those are the metrics that dominate government response, media coverage and good bit of public opinion.

They’re also feeding a social contagion that’s sweeping through our country faster than COVID-19, and that might be the most difficult outbreak of all to contain.

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Cobb courthouse COVID-19 cases prompt new judicial orders

Cobb Superior Court, Cobb judicial emergency

After several employees of various Cobb courts tested positive for COVID-19, Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Reuben Green has issued new orders regarding court operations.

In an order issued on Friday, Green said that four Cobb Superior Court employees, two in Juvenile Court Court, and one each in State Court, Probate Court and Magistrate Court have tested positive for the virus.

Green said there’s no information that any of them were exposed at work, but they are required to undergo 14 days of quarantine.

Infected employees must test negative before they are allowed to return to work, and contact tracing has taken place to inform those who may have been exposed to someone who’s tested positive for the virus.

In addition, Green said the work areas where those employees work are being deep cleaned, and that the Superior Courthouse is being disinfected this weekend.

In his order (you can read it here) Green said Probate Court and Superior Court operations “will shift back to a general presumption that all cases should be handled virtually via videoconference.”

Anyone who thinks a case needs to be heard in person, Green said, should contact the assigned judge’s chambers.

Green has issued guidelines on what he deems non-essential court matters, and

All persons entering Cobb courthouse buildings are required to undergo temperature checks and must wear masks, and social distancing guidelines are in effect.

Earlier this week a state judicial emergency that was to have expired on Sunday was extended for another month, to Aug. 11. Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton’s order continues a prohibition on jury trial proceedings and most grand jury proceedings and issues guidelines for in-person and remote proceedings that are taking place.

Friday’s extension was the fourth since COVID-19 closures began, and the new deadline coincides with a continuing state public health emergency that was extended last month by Gov. Brian Kemp.

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Confirmed COVID cases in East Cobb surpass 1,000; 41 deaths

East Cobb COVID cases surpass 1,000
To view the Cobb ZIP Code hover map, click here. Source: Cobb and Douglas Public Health.

For the fourth day in a row, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cobb County rose by 200 or more, reflecting a continuing surge in positive tests in Georgia.

In East Cobb, the overall figure has gone over 1,000.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, another 206 positive cases were reported in Cobb on Friday, pushing the overall total to 5,507.

That’s an increase of 877 cases since Monday, easily eclipsing a previous weekly high of 685 last week in only five days.

Five more deaths were reported in Cobb during that time, with the 245 cumulative total the second-highest in the state,

Across Georgia, there were 2,784 new cases on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 90,493. A total of 2,856 deaths have been reported in Georgia, a jump of seven from Thursday.

The new cases in East Cobb rose from 849 last week, with one new reported death, in ZIP Code 30066, bringing the community total to 41.

Cobb and Douglas Public Health has been compiling confirmed case and death totals by ZIP Code, and here’s the latest for those in East Cobb, which has 1,034 as of Thursday:

  • 30067: 317 cases, 8 deaths
  • 30062: 297 cases, 12 deaths
  • 30066: 241 cases, 9 deaths
  • 30068: 155 cases, 16 deaths
  • 30075: 24 cases, 0 deaths

The Cobb COVID count at the start of the week was 4,630. But 247 more cases were reported Tuesday and 204 on Wednesday, when Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb and Douglas Public Health, issued a public health alert.

The Cobb case total jumped by 220 on Thursday and 206 on Friday.

Gov. Brian Kemp last week extended the state’s public health emergency and issued social distancing measures governing public gatherings.

He also embarked on a tour of Georgia to urge mask-wearing, warning that the college football season could be in jeopardy if the case numbers keep rising.

The governor, however, is not requiring masks to be worn. Nor will the Cobb County School District, which is delaying the start of the school year by two weeks to make COVID-related preparations.

On Friday, the Moxie Burger and Moxie Taco locations in East Cobb announced they would be closed temporarily after an employee tested positive for the virus.

Much of the rising number of cases is attributable to a greater number of tests being conducted and younger, more active people testing positive.

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Moxie Burger, Moxie Taco close temporarily after COVID case

Moxie Burger Moxie Taco close COVID
The original Moxie Burger restaurant at Paper Mill Village.

The two East Cobb locations of Moxie Burger and the Moxie Taco restaurant have closed temporarily after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The East Cobb-based Moxie Restaurant Group alerted customers on its Facebook pages Friday morning that the three restaurants will undergo a full disinfecting process from a professional sanitation provider and that all employees will required to be tested.

The Moxie Burger locations at Paper Mill Village and 2421 Shallowford Road are closed, as is Moxie Taco, also at Paper Mill Village.

“Previous to this, Moxie Taco and all Moxie Burger locations have been relentless with their disinfecting efforts and social distancing. The safety of our customers is just as important to us as is the safety of our staff and we are doing everything in our power to take our sanitation and safety measures above and beyond,” the message states.

“We do not take this announcement lightly and fully understand the concerns you might have. We remain steadfast in our commitment to keep our staff, guests, and community safe and are here to address any concerns and questions that you have.”

The Moxie Burger location in Roswell remains open, as “we are confident our team at Moxie Burger Roswell was not in direct contact.”

That restaurant is open Friday and Sunday and will be closed on Saturday for the July 4 holiday.

The Moxie restaurants re-opened their dining rooms service on June 1 after being closed, and then open for takeout, in the wake of the COVID virus.

The number of positive COVID cases has risen dramatically in Georgia and in Cobb County, where a public health alert was issued on Wednesday.

Cobb and Douglas Public Health said it is investigating 300 businesses in both counties for outbreaks (when two or more individuals that are positive in the same place) but they have not been identified.

UPDATED, 1:23 P.M.: The Freakin’ Incan restaurant at Sandy Plains Village has announced that due to rising COVID cases, it’s closing its dining room and is staying open for takeout service.

“We are discussing with the landlord about adding outside tables and chairs and could possibly have them available by the end of next week. Please bear with us while we try to protect the health of our staff and our customers. We feel that limiting our exposure and preventing possible sickness to be the correct decision at the moment. This is a preventative measure to avoid getting sick and forcing a complete shutdown. All staff are in good health, I repeat, all staff are in good health! I would like to take this chance to wish all of you a safe and healthy Fourth of July!”

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Cobb public health alert issued as COVID cases surpass 5,000

Dr. Janet Memark
Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb and Douglas Public Health

The director of Cobb and Douglas Public Health issued a public health alert Wednesday as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb substantially, and with more people being hospitalized due to the virus.

Dr. Janet Memark said in the alert that there is “evidence of increased transmission throughout our community, outside of additional testing access, as supported by positivity rates at our testing sites that have surpassed 10%. This trend has been on an upward trajectory over the last few weeks. Last week, we saw the highest number of reported cases in our district since the pandemic began.”

(You can read the full health alert here.)

The age groups of those testing positive in recent weeks also has been trending younger, especially between the ages of 20 and 40, she said.

Memark said that while the numbers of COVID-19-related 911 calls, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and need for intensive-care beds has increased in recent weeks, the death rate “appears to be in decline.”

She said that’s likely the result of younger, healthier people testing positive and recovering, and due to healthcare system response to treating the virus.

Memark said more than 300 businesses in Cobb and Douglas counties have been affected by COVID and staff epidemiologists are investigating 75 outbreaks.

An “outbreak” is classified as when two or more individuals that are positive in the same place. In a nursing home, one individual is considered to be an outbreak.

Valerie Crow, a spokeswoman for Cobb and Douglas Public Health, said she could not release any information about businesses experiencing outbreaks due to federal health privacy laws.

There were 5,081 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cobb County on Wednesday, 204 more case than the 4,877 reported on Tuesday by the Georgia Department of Public Health, which updates figures at 3 p.m. daily.

Last week, Cobb reported 685 positive cases, a one-week record.

The Cobb death toll rose by two on Wednesday to 245, the second-highest total in Georgia. Fulton County has reported 314 deaths.

The cumulative hospitalization numbers in Cobb County have gone up to 872, up from 861 on Monday.

Cobb’s cumulative test positivity rate—the percentage of confirmed cases against the number of people tested—is at 5.74 percent, but Memark said in the last few weeks, as noted above, that number has in some cases more than doubled.

On June 26, the last date for which figures are available, the test positivity rate was 9.97 percent (see graphic below). The day before, the figure was nearly 13 percent, the highest since early May, not long after Cobb and Georgia began reopening some businesses and public activities.

Those figures are only for people tested at the Cobb and Douglas Public Health testing facility at Jim Miller Park, where 14,153 total tests have been conducted.

Cobb DPH Test Positivity Rate 7.1.20

(You can find more Cobb COVID data here.)

Cobb’s figures are reflected in similar trends in Georgia, which has 2,827 deaths, 11,275 hospitalizations and has 84,237 positive COVID cases.

More than 855,000 people have had viral COVID tests in Georgia, with a positivity rate of nine percent, and nearly 158,000 additional antibody tests have been conducted (Cobb isn’t doing antibody tests).

On Wednesday 22 more deaths were reported in Georgia, along with 2,946 cases and 224 new hospitalizations. Nearly 14 percent of the reported 21.508 viral tests were positive for COVID.

The rising numbers have prompted Gov. Brian Kemp to extend the state’s public health emergency to Aug. 11 and continue social distancing restrictions. While he’s calling on Georgians to wear face masks, he’s not mandating it, although on Wednesday he said that having a college football season would be a “tall task” if COVID numbers stay on the rise.

In her order, Memark said those who are medically fragile should shelter-in-place through July 15, leaving home only for food and for medical reasons.

For everyone else, she’s encouraging familiar steps to help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Frequently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
  • Stand 6 feet away from others when outside their home
  • Wear cloth masks when social distancing is not consistently possible
  • Stay at home when you are sick
  • Continue to frequently disinfect your home and business
  • Avoid large gatherings (of more than 50 people).

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Kemp extends Georgia public health emergency to Aug. 11

Georgia public health emergency extended
In a social media posting Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp said “Wear your mask, Georgia—and Go Dawgs!”

With a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in Georgia in recent weeks, Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday extended the state’s public health emergency for a third time.

The current declaration was to have expired on Tuesday, but in a new executive order Kemp on Monday said he was extending it to Aug. 11 (you can read it here).

In another executive order on Monday, Kemp banned public gatherings of 50 people or more unless they can keep at least six feet apart and imposed other social distancing restrictions. Those requirements include regular and in some cases increased sanitizing measures.

“As we continue our fight against COVID-19 in Georgia, it is vital that Georgians continue to heed public health guidance by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and practicing social distancing,” Kemp said in a statement. “We have made decisions throughout the pandemic to protect the lives —and livelihoods—of all Georgians by relying on data and the advice of public health officials.”

The social distancing order, which begins on Wednesday and continues through July 15 (you can read it here) outlines mandatory criteria for businesses and requires those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile to continue to shelter in place.

Georgia has had a record number of COVID-19 cases reported for three days running, with 2,207 positive tests on Monday, and a relatively high positivity rate (number of positive cases to the number of tests) of 13.4 percent.

(The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID Daily Status Report is updated every day at 3 p.m.)

On Sunday, the new positive cases statewide totaled 2,225, and the seven-day average of 2,207 over the last week is 60 percent higher than the previous week.

The number of COVID-related deaths in Georgia is 2,784, a mortality rate of 0.2 percent and that represents 3.5 percent of the 79,417 confirmed cases.

The death rate has flattened out in recent weeks, with six new deaths being reported since Sunday, and the hospitalization rate in Georgia also is holding steady, with 113 more reports of a cumulative total of 10,824.

In Cobb County, there have been 4,713 cases in all, and last week (June 22-28) a record 685 cases were reported.

On June 20, there were a reported 108 new cases in Cobb, a single-day high. Another 83 cases were reported last Monday. By Saturday there were 34 new cases, and Monday’s total is nine more than Sunday.

Cobb COVID cases are in yellow; Douglas County in blue. View a larger version by clicking here.

The test positivity rate in Cobb is 5.74 percent, according to Cobb and Douglas Public Health, which publishes its own daily tracking data.

Cobb has the second-highest death total in the state, with 242 fatalities, though none were reported on Monday.

Kemp also is embarking on a statewide tour to encourage people to wear masks in public, but unlike governors in other states, he is not mandating it.

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Updated 6.27.20: More than 40 COVID-19 deaths in East Cobb

Cobb COVID Zip Code Map
To use hover map, click here. Source: Cobb and Douglas Public Health.

Here’s the latest update in our somewhat-weekly look at COVID-19 cases in East Cobb, Cobb County and Georgia, as we’ve been getting more detailed breakdowns from local and state public health agencies.

There’s a significant new addition to daily reporting data posted and mapped by Cobb and Douglas Public Health to include where COVID-19 deaths are occurring in the county.

That’s also being done according to ZIP Code, just as we’ve noted in recent weeks for positive cases.

The figures below show the number of positive cases and deaths in East Cobb as of Friday. These are cumulative figures:

  • 30067: 248 cases, 7 deaths
  • 30062: 242 cases, 12 deaths
  • 30066: 200 cases, 9 deaths
  • 30068: 138 cases, 16 deaths
  • 30075: 21 cases, 0 deaths

Those totals are compiled by the Georgia Department of Public Health, State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SENDSS).

What’s not known is if these mortality figures include deaths reported at senior, nursing and long-term care homes.

Every Friday the Georgia Department of Community Health updates those figures from around the state, and here’s the latest for care facilities in East Cobb:

  • A.G. Rhodes Home, 900 Wylie Road (30067): 6 deaths, 26 resident cases;
  • Alto Senior Living Marietta, 840 LeCroy Drive (30068): 8 deaths, 22 resident cases;
  • Arbor Terrace of East Cobb, 886 Johnson Ferry Road (30068): 3 deaths, 7 resident cases;
  • Manor Care Rehabilitation Center, 4360 Johnson Ferry Place (30068): 0 deaths, 9 cases;
  • The Solana East Cobb, 1032 Johnson Ferry Road (30068): 0 deaths, 1 resident case;
  • Sterling Estates, 4220 Lower Roswell Road (30068): 5 deaths, 10 resident cases;
  • Sunrise of East Cobb, 1551 Johnson Ferry Road (30062): 1 death, 4 resident cases.

As of Friday afternoon, Cobb County has 4,467  confirmed cases of COVID-19 overall, a jump from 3,751 a week ago. To date there have been 240 deaths (up from 224) and 845 cumulative hospitalizations (up from 790).

Those figures come from the Georgia Department of Public Health, which updates figures daily at 3 p.m.

As of Friday, there were 72,995 confirmed cases in Georgia and 2,770 deaths. There also have been 10,605 total hospitalizations and 2,244 intensive-care admissions.

For more data from Cobb and Douglas Public Health, click here.

As we noted last week, while more positive tests have been occurring within younger age groups, the vast majority of deaths have occurred among people ages 70 years and older.

There’s also a new independent tracker of Georgia DPH virus data that’s collected at covid-georgia.com and contains analysis, tracks trends and explains statistics and reporting data in accessible fashion.

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Updated 6.18.20: Mapping Cobb COVID-19 cases by ZIP Code

Cobb COVID ZIP Code Map

Last Saturday, we posted with an update showing 650 positive tests (cumulative) in the five ZIP codes in East Cobb.

As of Wednesday afternoon, that number had grown to 696, according to figures posted by Cobb and Douglas Public Health.

Here’s a link to a hover map (screenshot above) that tracks the number of cases by each ZIP Code and contains related data.

Two ZIP Codes in East Cobb have more than 200 positive cases each. The biggest number of cases continue to be in ZIP Codes in Marietta and South Cobb. The figures do not break down the number of hospitalizations or deaths by ZIP Code.

The figures below show the number of cases in East Cobb, with Wednesday’s figures next to the ZIP Code, and last Friday’s totals in parenthesis:

  • 30067: 205 (192)
  • 30062: 203 (180)
  • 30066: 156 (150)
  • 30068: 116 (113)
  • 30075: 16 (15)

The totals are compiled by the Georgia Department of Public Health, State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SENDSS) but do not include the number of deaths by ZIP Code.

As of Thursday afternoon, Cobb County has 3,751 confirmed cases of COVID-19 overall, 224 total deaths and 790 hospitalizations.

Only Fulton County (301) has more deaths than Cobb. Gwinnett has the most cases in the state, with 5,753, followed by Fulton (5,325) and DeKalb (4,541), then Cobb.

Those figures are according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, which updates figures daily at 3 p.m.

The number of positive viral tests in Georgia now stands at 60,912 for an infection rate of 8.4 percent for viral tests. A total of 2,605 Georgians have died due to COVID-19. The Cobb infection rate is 5.3 percent.

Cobb Confirmed cases over time 6.18.20

The state data also breaks down cases and deaths by race, sex and ethnicity, and indicates whether those who’ve died also had comorbidities (other health issues).

The vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in Georgia have been people who are 60 and older:  1,050 are 80 and older, 696 are from ages 70-79 and 490 deaths have been between ages 60-69.

A total of 178 of Cobb’s 224 deaths have been people ages 70 and older: 31 for ages 90 and older, 72 for ages 80-89 and 74 for ages 70-79. Another 22 people in Cobb have died between the ages of 60-69.

The highest number of cases is taking place among younger populations, especially as the rate of testing has increased. A total of 10,702 cases in Georgia are between the ages of 18-29, 10,359 between 50-59, 10,170 between 40-49 and 9,746 between 40-49.

The respective number of deaths in those groups are 11, 217, 96 and 44.

In Cobb County, the age group with the most cases is ages 50-59, with 608 cases. There have been 593 cases for ages 40-49, 581 cases for ages 30-39 and 512 cases for ages 20-29.

Cobb Cases by Age 6.18.20

For more data from Cobb and Douglas Public Health, click here.

Cobb government has a COVID-19 dashboard using data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

There’s also a new independent tracker of Georgia DPH virus data that’s collected at covid-georgia.com and contains analysis, including the trends noted above with newer cases occurring among younger populations, and noting more asymptomatic cases.

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Updated 6.13.20: Mapping Cobb COVID-19 cases by ZIP Code

Cobb COVID ZIP code map

Since there’s been a bit of a bump in COVID-19 cases in Georgia, we’re taking a second look this week at how that breaks down in Cobb County and East Cobb in particular.

On Monday, we posted with an update showing 608 positive tests (cumulative) in the five ZIP codes in East Cobb.

As of Friday afternoon, that number had grown to 650, according to figures posted by Cobb and Douglas Public Health.

Here’s a link to a hover map (screenshot above) that tracks the number of cases by each ZIP Code and contains related data.

The biggest jump in East Cobb took place in 30067, which had 174 cases at the start of the week, and now has a reported 192 cases. The biggest number in the county remains 30060, which has 430 positive cases, followed by 30127 (337) and 30008 (309).

The figures below show the number of cases in East Cobb, with Friday’s figures next to the ZIP Code, and Monday’s totals in parenthesis:

  • 30067: 192 (174)
  • 30062: 180 (172)
  • 30066: 150 (140)
  • 30068: 113 (109)
  • 30075: 15 (13)

The totals are compiled by the Georgia Department of Public Health, State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SENDSS) but do not include the number of deaths by ZIP Code.

Across Cobb County there have been 3,522 confirmed cases of COVID-19 overall, 215 total deaths and 752 hospitalizations.

Those are among the highest figures in the state for any county, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, which updates figures daily at 3 p.m.

The rate of testing also has gone up significantly in Georgia, with 586,426 viral tests (to determine whether someone’s infected) and 110,825 antibody tests.

Georgia DPH had been combining them but now lists them separately.

The number of positive viral tests now stands at 50,251 for an infection rate of 8.6 percent. A total of 2,418 Georgians have died due to COVID-19. In Cobb County, the test positivity rate is 5.26 percent.

The state data also breaks down cases and deaths by race, sex and ethnicity.

For more data from Cobb and Douglas Public Health, click here.

Cobb government has a COVID-19 dashboard using data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

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Kemp lifts more restrictions on 65+, dining, public gatherings

Kemp executive order

Another gradual lifting of restrictions due to COVID-19 was announced by Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday, including removal of a general shelter-in-place order for Georgia citizens aged 65 and older that had been in place since March.

The order, which begins on Tuesday, June 16, and continues through June 30, also relaxes restrictions on a wide variety of public gatherings, including sports competitions, summer camps, live performances, conventions and restaurants and bars.

(You can read the full order here.)

Gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed with social distancing requirements.

Starting on Tuesday, there won’t be a party maximum for the number of people who can sit together, nor will there be a limit on the number of patrons allowed per square foot.

Workers at restaurants, bars, banquet facilities and other private event facilities won’t have to wear face masks unless they’re interacting with patrons.

Bars will be allowed to have 50 people, or 35 percent of the total listed fire capacity, whichever number is greater.

Cafeteria-style service at salad bars and buffets is allowed if the restaurant provides hand sanitizer and sneeze guard, practices social distancing and replaces self-service utensils.

Also starting Tuesday, indoor movie theaters and cinemas won’t have to limit the number of people seated together in a party.

Walk-in customers will be allowed at body art studios, barber shops, hair salons, massage therapy establishments and tanning facilities.

The order also requires professional sports teams and organizations to follow the rules and guidelines set by their respective leagues. High school and collegiate teams and organizations must follow rules and guidelines set by their conferences or associations. Amateur sports teams and organizations must follow criteria for non-critical infrastructure entities in the order.

Those attending or working overnight summer camps must prove they have received a negative COVID-19 test within 12 days—an increase from seven days—prior to the starting date of a camp.

Two other major areas of restrictions to be eased will be effective July 1.

Conventions, trade shows, exhibitions and business retreats (100 people or more) will be allowed if they meet 21 specific requirements and get a special permit.

That does not pertain to regular religious services, business meetings or sporting events.

Also on July 1, live performance venues may reopen if they meet specific criteria based on three tiers of activities.

A shelter-in-place order still applies to the following:

  • Those persons who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, including inpatient hospice, assisted living communities, personal care homes, intermediate care homes, community living arrangements, and community integration homes
  • Those persons who have chronic lung disease
  • Those persons who have moderate to severe asthma
  • Those persons who have severe heart disease
  • Those persons who are immunocompromised
  • Those persons, of any age, with class III or severe obesity
  • Those persons diagnosed with the following underlying medical conditions: diabetes, liver disease, and persons with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.

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Updated 6.8.20: Mapping Cobb COVID-19 cases by ZIP Code

Cobb Covid Zip Code Map

Here are the latest figures in our periodical update breaking down COVID-19 cases in Cobb County, and specifically in map form by ZIP Code, per Cobb and Douglas Public Health.

The first figure after the ZIP code is the number of cases as of Sunday, and the numbers you see in parenthesis are from updates on May 7 and May 28, respectively

  • 30067: 174 (150, 93)
  • 30062: 172 (160,113)
  • 30066: 140 (126, 95)
  • 30068: 109 (98, 68)
  • 30075: 13 (14, 11)

The highest number of cases in Cobb continues to be Marietta 30060, which is reporting 400 as of Sunday. There are 301 cases in 30127, in the Powder Springs area, and 296 in Marietta 30008, southwest of the city.

As we noted in previous mapping posts (here and here), none of those figures, which come from the Georgia Department of Public Health, State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SENDSS), include the number of deaths by ZIP Code.

You can hover over that map, which is regularly updated, by clicking here.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, there were 3,298 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cobb County, with 196 deaths and 718 hospitalizations.

The case total is fourth-highest in the state and the death total trails only the 256 deaths that have been reported in Fulton County.

Across Georgia there have been 52,497 confirmed cases, 2,208 deaths and 8,746 hospitalizations.

The Georgia Department of Public Health updates those figures once a day at 3 p.m.

A total of 544,372 viral tests have been conducted in the state, and another 105,013 antibody tests. DPH had come under scrutiny for combining both of those figures but in recent weeks has begun reporting them in separate columns.

The number of positive viral tests is 47,493, or 8.7 percent of those tested.

The state data also breaks down cases and deaths by race, sex and ethnicity.

For more data from Cobb and Douglas Public Health, click here.

Cobb government has a COVID-19 dashboard using data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

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Cobb small business grant applications accepted June 8-26

Cobb small business grant applications

After the Cobb Board of Commissioners this week approved $50 million in federal CARES Act funding for small businesses, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce has released details about the application process, which runs from June 8-26.

The program is called the Select Cobb Small Business Grants, after the chamber’s economic development arm, which will distribute grants to qualifying businesses in amounts ranging from $20,000 to $40,000. The funding can be used on personnel, rent, utilities and acquiring PPE for employee safety.

Here’s what SelectCobb sent out late Thursday afternoon:

Applications will open on June 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. and close on June 26, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. A full list of eligibility requirements and more information about the application process will be available at www.selectcobb.com on June 1. The website and email address for this program—www.selectcobb.com/grants and [email protected]—will be available on June 1. Also, a webinar on how to apply for the small business grants will be held on June 10th at 10:00 am through the Cobb Chamber.

“Maintaining jobs and promoting growth within Cobb County has been and always will be our number one priority for our small business community,” said Kevin Greiner, president and CEO of Gas South and Chairman of SelectCobb for the Cobb Chamber. “The SelectCobb Small Business Relief Grants will allow Cobb’s small businesses to stand strong during this pandemic and continue to meet necessary business expenses, as well as providing capital to acquire PPE and other resources to ensure a safe working environment for their employees.”

To be considered for the SelectCobb Small Business Relief Grant, small businesses must meet the following requirements:

  • Business must be an existing for-profit corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship;
  • Business headquarters or primary location must be within Cobb County; 
  • Business must have 100 or fewer full-time, W-2 employees, i.e., employees working at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month;
  • Business must have been in continuous operation for a minimum of 1 year prior to March 13, 2020; 
  • Business must have a current business license issued by Cobb County Government, City of Acworth, City of Austell, City of Kennesaw, City of Marietta, City of Powder Springs, or City of Smyrna;
  • Business must be current on all local taxes;
  • Business may be home-based or located in an owned or leased commercial space;
  • Business must certify if they have received PPP funds as of time of application submittal; and
  • Business cannot be a publicly traded company.

Grant funding will be available in three different tiers based upon the number of full-time, W-2 employees employed by the company as of March 12, 2020. The tiers of grant funding include, up to $20,000 for 1 to 10 employees; up to $30,000 for 11 to 50 employees; and up to $40,000 for 51 to 100 employees.

“I’m gratified that the board came together to address an important segment of our community, the small business community,” said Chairman Mike Boyce after the vote. “It demonstrates when it is all said and done, this board has the best interest of the county at heart. We work every day to do the best we can with the money we have—whether it is county money, state money, or federal money—we all have a duty to make sure the taxpayer’s money is spent appropriately and I think this is one action that reflects that.”

SelectCobb staff will review each application to ensure that all eligibility requirements are met. Once applications are closed, an independent committee of business representatives will review each eligible application and decide which companies will receive grant funds and how much will be provided, up to the maximum allowed by each tier. The committee will be comprised of individuals from all areas of Cobb, and will include a diverse group of industries being represented, including banking, certified public accountants, law, small business and county government.

The committee will review applications per Commission District so that all areas are equally represented in the number of companies being assisted. Once determinations are made, a public announcement of grants funds will be made by representatives of the selection committee, SelectCobb, Cobb Chamber, and Cobb County Government.

“Cobb County should be applauded for creating one of the largest small business grants in the region,” said Dana Johnson, executive director of SelectCobb. “I want to thank the Board of Commissioners for their leadership and commitment to ensuring that Cobb County remains one of the top destinations for small businesses.”

 

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