“We are not perfect. Kemp orders examination after coronavirus …

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Governor Brian Kemp said Thursday he had ordered a review of the state’s reporting of coronavirus numbers, and asked the public to be patient with health officials after a series of misstep has raised questions about the accuracy of the latest data on the epidemic.

“We are not perfect. We are making mistakes, “said Kemp of the criticism of errors in reporting COVID-19 data on the state’s public health data website. He said increased pressure to update the data faster likely contributed to the errors.

“My goal is to continue to be transparent and have the right data there,” said Kemp. “And if we don’t, we’ll own it.” We are going to tell people what happened. We will get it fixed. And we will continue. “

»FULL COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

The state’s public health commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, said she had also implemented a new protocol to detect errors in coronavirus numbers before they were released.
“We are continuing to work and improve all of our reporting systems,” she said. “This is what will give us the opportunity to respond with precision. “
The governor’s remarks came as state’s COVID-19 data reporting issues made officials the target of ridicule – and drew criticism from Democrats and some public health experts who accused his office tweaking the figures to paint a sunnier picture of the state’s approach against coronaviruses. .

Some of these mistakes could be forgiven as mistakes during a chaotic period. But the snafus, confused information and questionable decisions regarding the presentation of the data continued despite the intensification of the review.

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The latest occurred on Wednesday when Toomey acknowledged that a measure to track the number of tests done for COVID-19 included 57,000 which were not designed to detect active cases.
The researchers agree that putting these antibody tests in the same category as the screening tests used to find the virus can be misleading.

The antibody test is designed to show if a person has already been infected and cannot detect a recently infected person. Adding them to viral test numbers may give the impression that the ramp-up of tests in Georgia is going better than it really is.

The viral test diagnoses a person who is currently ill and helps public health workers identify and isolate those who are spreading the virus. States where a large part of their population has been tested have a better understanding of the prevalence of the disease and are better able to make informed decisions about when and how to reopen.

“My goal is to continue to be transparent and to have the right data there. And if we don’t, we will own it. We are going to tell people what happened. We will get it fixed. And we will continue. —Gov. Brian Kemp

At Thursday’s press conference, Kemp said he had asked state health officials to review notification procedures “to see if there was something different we should do,” and suggested that the state could wait a day before releasing the latest results.

“I imagine that if we had done it a month ago, we would have been heavily criticized. But right now, my goal is to make sure that we continue to be transparent and that we have the right data there. “

Kemp has repeatedly urged all Georgians – even if they have no symptoms – to be tested for coronavirus. And the revelation that the antibody tests were included in the overall tally undermines his claims that the Georgia test is back on track.

Once ranked among the worst in the country in terms of the percentage of residents tested, the state’s ranking was 20 with antibody tests. Without them, the test rate fell below the average to 29e.

“I think it’s too early for us to claim any numbers-based victory in Georgia,” said Benjamin Lopman, infectious disease epidemiologist at Emory University.

” RELATED: Latest state data incidents cause critics to cry scandal

” MORE: Latest Data Interruption Increased Number of Georgia Virus Tests by 57,000

Kemp announced a different figure on Thursday: the rate of hospitalizations for coronavirus continues to drop, a number that has dropped by more than a third since the start of the month, state data said. He also highlighted more efforts to open testing sites across the state.

“We need to further expand access to tests and encourage Georgians to make it a priority,” he said.

‘Not like the others’

The governor also outlined his administration’s plan to prepare for an increase in Memorial Day traffic that will test the state’s reopening strategy as more residents are expected to return to the roads and visit parks, beaches and other destinations.

Mark Williams, commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, said that most of the agency’s law enforcement division officers will patrol the waterways over the weekend.
And Georgia State Patrol soldiers plan to “saturate” state beaches to enforce social distancing guidelines and break up large rallies, said Colonel Gary Vowell of the Department of Security public.

“It will be like no other (Memorial Day) we have had before,” said Vowell.

Georgians have returned to beaches regularly since the statewide Kemp order in April lifted restrictions that closed the coastline. But local authorities are preparing for a surge in new visitors as more businesses reopen, virtual school years end, and a vacation weekend awaits.

The seaside town of Tybee Island, whose rulers were among the loudest critics of Kemp’s approach, drew nearly 25,000 people last weekend.

Mayor Shirley Sessions said she expects even larger crowds during the holidays. The city of 3,000 plans to assign more parking staff to help clear the roads and more lifeguards to patrol crowded beaches. And it provides for a more aggressive application to crack down on illegal parking.

“Are we ready?” That is the million dollar question. Can you really be ready for the unknown? ” she said. “We are doing everything we can to prepare.”

Down the coast, tourism officials in the Brunswick area say some hotels are full for the weekend.

“We are also seeing an increase in bookings for our summer season,” said Scott McQuade, executive director of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Although we may not be breaking tourist records this summer, we are just happy to see our visitors coming back. “

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