South Carolina’s Daily Coronavirus Data Dump: Confusion Reigns

Hospitalization numbers are back … and more difficult to assess than ever.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) released updated data on Tuesday (July 28, 2020) concerning the status of the coronavirus pandemic within the Palmetto State.

Unfortunately, the new numbers were as confusing as ever – particularly with regard to hospitalizations.

More on that in a moment. First, the data …

New Positive Cases: 1,573 (18 probable)
Daily Percent Positive Rate: 18.1 percent
Total Positive Cases: 83,720 (389 probable)
New Deaths: 52 (7 probable)
Total Deaths: 1,505 (60 probable)
Case Fatality Rate: 1.79 percent
Hospital Bed Utilization: N/A
Covid-19 Hospitalizations: 1,575
Covid-19 Patients In ICU: 401
Covid-19 Patients On Ventilators: 241

South Carolina’s case fatality rate has ticked up in recent weeks, but it remains well below the national case fatality rate of 3.41 percent.

There has been no change in the projected death toll since our last report on that subject – with the ever-vacillating Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) standing pat on its July 22, 2020 estimate of 3,186 total deaths by November 1.

Of the 52 newly reported deaths (.pdf) – which spanned from July 4 to July 27 – one was listed as a “pediatric” fatality while three were classified as young adults and eight were listed as “middle-aged.” The rest were classified as “elderly.”

Here is our updated chart tracking Covid-19 deaths …

(Via: Mandy Matney)

And here is our updated chart tracking tests and cases …

(Via: Mandy Matney)

As for hospitalizations, SCDHEC did not provide this data from July 24-27, 2020 – which the agency blamed on a federally mandated switch from a reporting system administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a “TeleTracking” system administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

This move – which has drawn criticism nationally – was also panned by SCDHEC.

“Currently, the TeleTracking system asks hospitals to report all of their available beds as one total number, not broken down by bed type,” SCDHEC noted. “Therefore, hospitals’ total number of beds reported includes pediatric beds, neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) bassinets, psychiatric beds, labor and delivery beds, rehabilitation beds and others.”

Obviously not all of those bed types are available to Covid-19 patients.

According to the agency, it is working with hospitals to “create a new process for gathering inpatient bed availability and occupancy from each hospital in the state, as this is the reporting metric that best provides the number of hospital beds available for caring for adult COVID-19 patients.”

The agency also said it is working in “close coordination” with the federal government to “improve the new TeleTracking system’s reporting structure” and “refine hospital bed data.”

In the meantime, here is our latest chart on hospitalizations …

(Via: Mandy Matney)

Developing …


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