The Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments have conducted more than 6,500 tests for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and that number is expected to rise dramatically in the coming days as local health officials continue to look at ways to expand their testing capacity.
Statewide, 200,814 COVID-19 tests have been administered with 29,839 confirmed cases of the disease reported in the state, according to figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health. The total includes 2,097 cases in Gwinnett, which has the third highest total among Georgia’s 159 counties.
That equates to an incidence rate of 215.93 cases per 100,000 residents in Gwinnett, according to state health officials.
“Incidence rate data is a better representation of the true impact in the community because it takes into account the population size of an area,” Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments spokesman Chad Wasdin said. “It’s a better comparison across different regions rather than cases alone. In a larger population, we would expect to see more cases because there are more people, so that’s less indicative of the true impact.”
Gwinnett has had 77 deaths from COVID-19 and 394 hospitalizations. Statewide there have been 1,294 deaths and 5,654 hospitalizations.
The number of cases in Gwinnett will likely jump significantly in the near future with the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments planning to hold a large scale testing event at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth on Friday. The three-county health district plans to administer about 1,200 tests at that event.
The district has also been administering about 250 tests a day at its office in Lawrenceville and at a location in Covington, Wasdin told the Daily Post.
Dr. Audrey Arona, the regional health director for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties, told the Gwinnett Chamber that the district is aiming to have administered 8,000 tests by the end of this week.
After this week, however, the testing situation is expected to shift as the health district looks to expand its testing capacity. Some of those plans aren’t being made public yet, but there are some possible steps Wasdin said can be talked about.
“We are going to look at seeing whether, at this current location where we are in Lawrenceville and then down in Covington, we can expand those numbers at those locations,” Wasdin said. “So, whereas we’re doing 250 now, we’re going to look at whether we can maybe bump it up to 275 or 300 (tests per day).”
As far as the five counties in Georgia with the highest number of cases, another one of Gwinnett’s neighbors, Hall County has joined the top five. The county, which has had a rapidly emerging COVID-19 hotspot develop in the Gainesville area, knocked Dougherty County, an early hot spot, out of the top five.
Hall County has had 1,837 cases and 26 deaths. It has an incidence rate of 890.24 cases per 100,000 residents.
Fulton County leads all Georgia counties in total cases and deaths (3,153 cases and 130 deaths). In terms of total cases, Fulton is followed by DeKalb County (2,277 cases and 59 deaths), Gwinnett, Cobb (1,881 cases and 102 deaths) and Hall.
But, while testing is ramping up, new details about which parts of Gwinnett is starting to emerge as officials begin to release incidence rates by zip code.
The Mall of Georgia area — the 30519 zip code — has the highest incidence rate in Gwinnett, which may not be a total surprise given its proximity to Gainesville along Interstate 985.
At the zip code level, unlike the state, the incidence rate looks at the number of cases for every 1,000 residents.
In the case of the 30519 zip code, the rate is nearly 3.04 cases per 1,000 residents.
The next highest rate is the 30044 zip code just west of Lawrenceville and south of state Route 316. It’s rate is 2.91 cases for every 1,000 residents.
The Centerville area — the 30039 zip code — has the third highest incidence rate in the county (2.67 cases for every 1,000 residents).
The incidence rate breakdown for the remaining zip codes in Gwinnett is as follows:
Gwinnett County COVID-19 incidence rates by zip code
|Field 1||Field 2|
|Zip||Incidence Rate per 1000|