AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A Community Profile Report by the COVID-19 Task Force ranked Augusta in the top 10 cities of concern, per capita, because of high rates of positive cases. The chart shows that in seven days, the rate of positive cases increased in Augusta by about 21 percent.
“I was a little bit shocked to see that we’re kind of in the top 10 for cities our size. Not exactly a distinction we would like to have,” AU Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Phillip Coule said. “Although we’re currently on a surge, what’s not reflected in the report is that now we appear to be coming down off of that surge.”
Dr. Coule explained some of the demographic factors that play a role in how a community is affected by COVID-19.
“We know that COVID-19 does not affect all communities equally,” Dr. Coule said. “Certainly that has some aspect in this.”
People over the age of 65 are more likely to have a severe case of COVID, and Black communities are disproportionately affected by the disease.
“The demographics of a community, not only because of racial makeup, but also because of the age groups that are getting infected, certainly have an impact on this,” Dr. Coule said.
While Augusta has a high rate of positive cases, the report does not reflect the same high number of hospitalizations or ICU bed usage.
Dr. Coule says early intervention, advanced in-hospital therapy, and at home monitoring keep this number from surging.
Early intervention includes antibody infusion therapy at AU Health, which has reduced the need of hospitalizations for at risk individuals.
“If we very early on give this therapy of monoclonal antibody infusions, which is kind a manmade antibody to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that essentially will kind of knock that virus down, and that allows the person the ability to develop their own immunity and have better outcomes from the disease,” Dr. Coule said.
Dr. Coule says he hopes the community will see this report as a wakeup call.
“We’ve got to do a better job of controlling this disease in terms of our behavior right now,” Dr. Coule said.
You can view the entire report below or by clicking HERE.