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New COVID-19 report reveals state erred in reporting death of 11-year-old in DeKalb County

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New COVID-19 report reveals state erred in reporting death of 11-year-old in DeKalb County

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name. Public domain image obtained via https://www.niaid.nih.gov/news-events/novel-coronavirus-sarscov2-images
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Atlanta, GA – An April 2 report from the Georgia Department of Public Health about COVID-19 contained information that shocked and saddened our readers.

The report, provided at 7 p.m. on April 2, said an 11-year-old in DeKalb County with underlying conditions had died, but that report was a mistake, a spokesperson for the Health Department said.

“It appears that it was a clerical error by the reporting facility,” the spokesperson said. “After a review of medical records and a number of phone calls, there is no record of an 11-year-old dying from COVID-19.”

The spokesperson said errors in reporting COVID-19 data are not uncommon.

“It happens – I haven’t seen it quite so obvious, or unfortunate, with an age,” the spokesperson said. “Sometimes the wrong county is entered, and you might see a county with one total one day and then it goes down the next due to the correction being made.”

Decaturish and other media outlets reported the story and Decaturish has updated its original story. During this stressful time, we know accurate information is critical and that mistakes erode the trust you place in us. While we take responsibility for everything we publish, our COVID-19 stories are more reliant on government sources than other stories we cover. The data provided by the state is difficult to independently verify due to medical privacy laws. After the story was published, a reporter reached out to the county Medical Examiner. Medical Examiner’s Office Director Patrick Bailey said that that office wouldn’t necessarily receive a report about a COVID-19 death.

“A review of our records did not indicate this case was reported to our office,” Bailey said. “However, if the child had been in a medical facility for more than 24 hours and had a documented medical history, which may have included a COVID-19 diagnosis, it would not be a reportable case to a Medical Examiners and/or Coroners Office. Additionally, if there were no reported or observed traumatic injuries and/or suspicious circumstances, no reporting is required.”

Bailey said not all deaths are required to be reported to the Medical Examiner.

“Under the Georgia Death Investigation Act, not all deaths are required to be reported,” Bailey said. “Simply, if someone is in a medical facility and is receiving care from a physician, it currently is not required to be reported to a Medical Examiner or Coroner’s Office. The only exception is if the decedent was admitted due to no known documented medical history, traumatic, unusual, and/or suspicious circumstances.”

A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta informed Decaturish the information about the 11-year-old boy had been removed when a reporter asked for additional information.

Last month, Decaturish published an editorial noting that due to the pace and scope of this event, there would be mistakes in coverage. This is true for any media outlet covering this unprecedented event.

To prevent additional erroneous reports about fatalities, we will take the following steps to improve our coverage.

1) All reports will now contain a caveat that the information is being provided by the Department of Public Health is presumed to be accurate.

2) Any report of a minor dying from COVID-19 will receive additional reporting follow up, if possible, to determine whether that report is in error. These reports will no longer be the focus of a story until they are independently verified.

3) The state provides information about COVID-19 deaths twice a day: at noon and at 7 p.m. We will stop publishing two articles a day about the state’s COVID-19 cases and deaths and will instead write one article per day. That article will reflect the information contained in the state’s mid-day COVID-19 report. This will change the frequency of our reporting from two stories every 24-hours to one story every 24-hours. We hope this will give the state extra time to sift through and correct any errors in its data. It will also give us additional time to further investigate any reports that we have questions about. These sorts of inquiries are easier to conduct in the morning when people are more likely to answer their phones and respond to emails.

We realize that this will mean other media outlets will have certain stories before we do, but we think this is a necessary step to take to limit future errors in our coverage. Unfortunately, there will be errors in the future as there are with any breaking news story. All errors will be corrected immediately and prominently. While our fact-checking process is rigid, there are variables with this particular story that we cannot account for. Any errors in our reporting will make us reassess how we are covering this story and will help us improve our coverage going forward.

With that said, here’s the Health Department’s most recent COVID-19 report, published at noon on April 3. These updates rely on data provided by the state of Georgia about COVID-19 cases and that information is presumed to be accurate.

There are now 5,831 COVID-19 cases in Georgia. There have been 184 COVID-19 related deaths and 1,158 hospitalizations related to the virus.

There have been eight deaths in DeKalb County.

COVID-19 Confirmed Cases: No. Cases (%)
Total 5831 (100%)
Hospitalized 1158(19.86%)
Deaths 184 (3.16%)
COVID-19 Confirmed Cases By County: No. Cases No. Deaths
Fulton 882 23
Dougherty 560 30
Dekalb 448 8
Cobb 381 18
Gwinnett 329 8
Clayton 195 6
Bartow 154 3
Carroll 143 2
Henry 125 3
Lee 115 8
Cherokee 104 5
Hall 79 0
Floyd 77 2
Douglas 71 4
Rockdale 63 2
Forsyth 60 1
Sumter 59 3
Chatham 58 3
Fayette 58 4
Clarke 57 8
Coweta 53 2
Houston 53 5
Richmond 50 1
Terrell 50 2
Early 48 1
Mitchell 43 1
Paulding 42 0
Newton 40 1
Colquitt 34 2
Bibb 32 1
Columbia 32 0
Muscogee 30 0
Tift 30 0
Worth 30 1
Lowndes 28 1
Troup 26 1
Crisp 23 0
Glynn 23 0
Spalding 23 1
Barrow 21 2
Gordon 21 2
Oconee 19 0
Thomas 17 0
Polk 16 0
Walton 16 0
Ware 16 2
Coffee 15 0
Laurens 15 0
Whitfield 15 1
Pierce 14 0
Dawson 13 0
Bryan 12 1
Decatur 12 0
Dooly 12 0
Jackson 12 0
Turner 12 0
Baldwin 10 1
Calhoun 10 1
Meriwether 10 0
Butts 9 0
Greene 9 0
Peach 9 1
Pickens 9 1
Burke 8 0
Fannin 8 0
Randolph 8 0
Clay 7 0
Haralson 7 0
Harris 7 0
Liberty 7 0
Lumpkin 7 0
Murray 7 0
Bacon 6 0
Camden 6 0
Catoosa 6 0
Effingham 6 0
Irwin 6 0
Jones 6 0
Lamar 6 0
Monroe 6 0
Pulaski 6 0
Seminole 6 0
Upson 6 0
Washington 6 0
Brooks 5 0
Bulloch 5 0
Dodge 5 0
Franklin 5 0
Lincoln 5 0
Madison 5 1
Mcduffie 5 1
Miller 5 0
Stephens 5 0
Toombs 5 1
Baker 4 1
Schley 4 0
Warren 4 0
Appling 3 0
Banks 3 0
Ben Hill 3 0
Berrien 3 0
Chattooga 3 0
Grady 3 0
Hart 3 0
Pike 3 0
Tattnall 3 0
Walker 3 0
White 3 0
Wilkes 3 0
Chattahoochee 2 0
Clinch 2 0
Habersham 2 0
Heard 2 1
Jasper 2 0
Jefferson 2 0
Jenkins 2 0
Macon 2 0
Mcintosh 2 0
Morgan 2 0
Putnam 2 0
Rabun 2 0
Screven 2 0
Talbot 2 0
Taylor 2 0
Telfair 2 0
Twiggs 2 0
Wilcox 2 0
Bleckley 1 0
Candler 1 0
Charlton 1 0
Cook 1 0
Dade 1 1
Elbert 1 0
Emanuel 1 0
Gilmer 1 0
Johnson 1 0
Lanier 1 0
Long 1 0
Marion 1 0
Oglethorpe 1 1
Quitman 1 0
Stewart 1 0
Towns 1 0
Union 1 0
Webster 1 0
Wheeler 1 0
Wilkinson 1 0
Unknown 507 4
*Based on patient county of residence when known
COVID-19 Testing By Lab Type: No. Pos. Tests Total Tests
Commercial Lab 5428 22960
Gphl 403 2305

COVID-19 Deaths in Georgia

Age Gender County Underlying
95 MALE BAKER Unk
53 MALE BALDWIN Yes
91 FEMALE BARROW Yes
66 MALE BARROW Yes
90 MALE BARTOW Yes
69 MALE BARTOW Yes
85 MALE BARTOW Yes
96 FEMALE BIBB Yes
65 MALE BRYAN Unk
FEMALE CALHOUN Unk
MALE CARROLL Unk
71 FEMALE CARROLL Unk
80 FEMALE CHATHAM Yes
83 MALE CHATHAM Yes
84 FEMALE CHATHAM Yes
81 MALE CHEROKEE Yes
67 FEMALE CHEROKEE Yes
78 FEMALE CHEROKEE Yes
94 FEMALE CHEROKEE Yes
78 FEMALE CHEROKEE Yes
60 MALE CLARKE Yes
78 FEMALE CLARKE Unk
79 MALE CLARKE Yes
68 MALE CLARKE Unk
89 FEMALE CLARKE No
78 FEMALE CLARKE Yes
98 MALE CLARKE Yes
79 MALE CLARKE Yes
83 FEMALE CLAYTON Yes
47 MALE CLAYTON Yes
69 MALE CLAYTON Yes
49 FEMALE CLAYTON Unk
67 MALE CLAYTON Unk
82 MALE CLAYTON Yes
87 MALE COBB Yes
82 MALE COBB Unk
71 MALE COBB Yes
33 MALE COBB Unk
MALE COBB Yes
67 MALE COBB No
86 MALE COBB Unk
65 MALE COBB Yes
68 MALE COBB Yes
75 MALE COBB Yes
67 FEMALE COBB Yes
67 MALE COBB Yes
77 MALE COBB Yes
56 MALE COBB No
85 FEMALE COBB Yes
82 MALE COBB Yes
63 FEMALE COBB Yes
51 MALE COBB Yes
83 FEMALE COLQUITT Unk
FEMALE COLQUITT Unk
77 MALE COWETA Yes
42 FEMALE COWETA Yes
79 FEMALE DADE Yes
31 MALE DEKALB Yes
91 FEMALE DEKALB Yes
81 MALE DEKALB Yes
65 FEMALE DEKALB Yes
FEMALE DEKALB Yes
69 MALE DEKALB Yes
89 FEMALE DEKALB Yes
91 MALE DEKALB Yes
69 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
67 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
42 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
66 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
43 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
79 MALE DOUGHERTY Yes
78 MALE DOUGHERTY Unk
85 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
60 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
53 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
34 MALE DOUGHERTY Yes
65 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
MALE DOUGHERTY Unk
92 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
71 MALE DOUGHERTY Yes
61 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
82 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
84 MALE DOUGHERTY Unk
66 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
68 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
46 MALE DOUGHERTY Unk
76 DOUGHERTY Unk
48 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
87 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
77 MALE DOUGHERTY Unk
79 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Unk
65 MALE DOUGHERTY Yes
45 FEMALE DOUGHERTY Yes
75 MALE DOUGHERTY Unk
61 MALE DOUGHERTY Unk
56 MALE DOUGLAS Unk
84 MALE DOUGLAS Unk
78 MALE DOUGLAS Yes
66 MALE DOUGLAS No
48 FEMALE EARLY Yes
83 MALE FAYETTE Yes
79 MALE FAYETTE Yes
51 FEMALE FAYETTE No
77 FEMALE FAYETTE Yes
65 FEMALE FLOYD Yes
75 MALE FLOYD Yes
87 MALE FORSYTH Unk
68 MALE FULTON Yes
58 MALE FULTON Yes
68 FEMALE FULTON Yes
62 MALE FULTON Yes
90 FEMALE FULTON Unk
70 FEMALE FULTON Yes
66 FEMALE FULTON Unk
70 FEMALE FULTON Yes
89 MALE FULTON Yes
59 MALE FULTON Yes
63 MALE FULTON Yes
81 MALE FULTON Yes
86 FEMALE FULTON Yes
MALE FULTON Yes
FEMALE FULTON Unk
33 MALE FULTON Unk
78 MALE FULTON Yes
82 MALE FULTON Yes
78 MALE FULTON Yes
73 FEMALE FULTON Yes
62 MALE FULTON Yes
75 MALE FULTON Unk
85 MALE FULTON Unk
69 MALE GORDON Yes
78 MALE GORDON Yes
75 MALE GWINNETT Unk
69 FEMALE GWINNETT Yes
81 FEMALE GWINNETT Yes
85 FEMALE GWINNETT Yes
80 MALE GWINNETT Unk
85 MALE GWINNETT Yes
66 MALE GWINNETT Unk
81 MALE GWINNETT Unk
76 FEMALE HEARD Unk
80 MALE HENRY Yes
73 MALE HENRY Unk
63 FEMALE HENRY Unk
75 MALE HOUSTON Yes
90 MALE HOUSTON Yes
85 MALE HOUSTON Unk
64 MALE HOUSTON Yes
84 MALE HOUSTON Yes
FEMALE LEE Unk
57 MALE LEE Unk
58 MALE LEE Yes
49 MALE LEE Yes
64 FEMALE LEE Yes
55 FEMALE LEE Yes
54 MALE LEE Yes
68 FEMALE LEE Yes
66 MALE LOWNDES Yes
71 MALE MADISON Yes
MCDUFFIE Unk
89 FEMALE MITCHELL Yes
61 MALE NEWTON Yes
83 MALE OGLETHORPE Unk
29 FEMALE PEACH Unk
76 FEMALE PICKENS Yes
81 FEMALE RICHMOND Unk
44 FEMALE ROCKDALE Yes
57 FEMALE ROCKDALE Yes
73 MALE SPALDING Yes
73 MALE SUMTER Yes
73 MALE SUMTER Yes
63 MALE SUMTER Yes
75 MALE TERRELL Yes
73 FEMALE TERRELL Unk
77 MALE TOOMBS Yes
61 FEMALE TROUP Yes
92 FEMALE UNKNOWN Yes
68 FEMALE UNKNOWN Unk
66 MALE UNKNOWN Unk
84 FEMALE UNKNOWN Unk
44 MALE WARE Yes
82 FEMALE WARE Unk
93 MALE WHITFIELD Yes
48 MALE WORTH Unk

Coronavirus symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure and include:

– Fever

– Cough

– Shortness of breath

The CDC says the following symptoms require emergency medical attention:

– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

– Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

– New confusion or inability to arouse

– Bluish lips or face

Here are the recommendations on coronavirus prevention from the DeKalb County Board of Health:

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

– Stay home when you are sick.

– Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.

– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information from the Centers for Disease Control, click here.

Decaturish.com is working to keep your community informed about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. All of our coverage on this topic can be found at Decaturishscrubs.com. If you appreciate our work on this story, please become a paying supporter. For as little as $3 a month, you can help us keep you in the loop about what your community is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. To become a supporter, click here

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