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NCDC Releases Key Figures on COVID-19 Outbreak in Georgia

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The National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia (NCDC) has published a long-awaited, data-rich analysis of COVID-19 spread in Georgia.

As the country emerges from the thick of the pandemic, NCDC’s report tracks the progress – and the decline – of coronavirus, shedding new light on the size and scope of the outbreak.

Civil.ge offers a quick summary of insights, and highlights most important revelations from the report.

Georgia reported its first case of infection on February 26. To date, confirmed cases has reached 713, while the death toll stands at 12. Total recoveries amount to 475.

COVID-19 patient profile

Georgia’s chief public health authority provided a breakdown of data collected from 500 patients treated for a disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Roughly equal numbers of men and women – 243 and 257, respectively – were infected by the virus.

Average age of patients – as well as median age – stood at 42. Most recorded cases – 64 % out of 500 patients – fall into 30-69 age category.

Average length of stay in a hospital – period from the day of admission to the day of discharge – amounted 20.7 days.

According to the report, most common COVID-19 symptoms experienced by Georgian patients are fever, asthenia, cough, sore throat, and headache.

In the meantime, out of 500 coronavirus-positive patients, around 16.6 % were asymptomatic.

Most frequent underlying conditions were high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and kidney disease.

How contagious is the virus?

As of May 11, rate of cumulative incidence – measuring disease frequency during a given period of time in the population – hovered around 16.9 infected persons per 100,000 people.

Bar chart showing coronavirus cases incidence per 100,000 people by age groups. Red bar measures total incidence rate. Screengrab from NCDC report.

Effective reproduction number, another key benchmark wielded by epidemiologists, equaled 3,88 after two weeks since the occurrence of first COVID-19 case in Georgia, and – remarkably – it dipped to 0.47 at the end of the reporting period.

To put it simply, a single infected individual is now likely to transmit COVID-19 to less than one person on average, hence the spread of the virus is certainly on the decline.

Mortality attributed to coronavirus is tiny in numbers – 10 deaths recorded (up to May 11), case fatality rate sitting at 1.7 %.

It comes as no surprise that COVID-19 had no bearing on excess mortality rate in Georgia (12,474 deaths in the first three months of 2020, a 4 % decrease compared to the same period in 2019).

Taking stock of COVID-19 testing

From January 30 to May 11, 32,283 PCR tests have been carried out in public health, clinical and commercial laboratories to diagnose COVID-19 infection – a bulk of them (43%, in absolute numbers 13,944) performed by NCDC’s Lugar lab.

NCDC maintains that all cases were confirmed or double-checked (for positive results after rapid testing) using PCR methodology – touted by NCDC Head Amiran Gamkrelidze for its sensitivity and specificity in terms of virus detection.

As the graph attests, Georgia has significantly ramped up testing starting from mid-April, topping 1,500 tests performed daily in early May.

Georgia conducted 32,283 PCR COVID-19 tests from Jan 30 through May 11. Graph by Civil.ge based on NCDC data.

Notably, despite testing on a larger scale, test-positivity rate – showing the ratio between who got tested for the virus and who tested positive for it – plunged from 9.5 % in late March to 0.3 % in early May. The average rate is in the region of 2 % for the given period.

NCDC estimated that 13 % of patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection were healthcare personnel.

As stated in the report, NCDC’s epidemiologists have traced 3,500 close contacts of infected patients, who have been placed under quarantine or self-isolated.

In total, more than 20,000 people – close contacts and travelers returning from coronavirus-affected international locations – have spent a fortnight in quarantine zones.

According to Health Ministry’s guidelines, persons with coronavirus-related symptoms, and those at elevated risk of exposure – close contacts of infected persons, healthcare workers and essential civil servants – are eligible for COVID-19 testing. 

For daily updates on COVID-19 spread in Georgia, check out our live blog: 

COVID-19 Georgia Live Blog: One New Case Recorded in Abkhazia, Total Rises to 25

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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