AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– COVID-19 hospitalizations are declining across the CSRA. One local doctor says we’re nearing the end of this surge.

“Things are definitely improving. I wish they would improve faster. We’re still not out of the woods yet. It’s still putting a significant stress on the healthcare system, but it’s definitely improving,” AU Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Phillip Coule said.

Wednesday at AU Health, 116 people were hospitalized with COVID. That’s 24 less hospitalized patients than the previous week.

“We’re definitely coming down off of an Omicron surge, however to put it in perspective, we’re just now back down to the previous peaks. We’ve just now dropped down,” Dr. Coule said.

Dr. Coule says with just how transmissible the Omicron variant is, the peaks from this surge are much higher than that of previous surges. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, in January of last year, COVID cases peaked in Georgia at over 10,000. In January 2022, that number was just over 21,000.

“This is an additional stress on the system, and we certainly still have a lot of people who are very sick and also people unfortunately dying from COVID, but overall the impact is far less severe than it was previously in terms of severity of illness,” Dr. Coule said.

Dr. Coule says some of their COVID patients came to the hospital for other reasons and ended up testing positive for COVID.

“It’s tough to sort out who is here for COVID, when you look at large numbers, versus who is here and happens to have COVID. Definitely the lesser severity of the illness plus the higher communicability of the illness has led to a large number of cases,” Dr. Coule said. “We almost have as many or more patients here who incidentally happen to have COVID as those who are here for COVID.”