AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Some researchers believe relaxed stay-at-home orders could be to blame for an increase in coronavirus cases in 23 states. Georgia and South Carolina are on that list. Many of them believe a surge will come much sooner than initially expected.
“We’ve gotten used to being in a pandemic, and we have forgotten what we need to do,” said Dr. Jose Vazquez.
There is an urge to get back to normal. However, medical professionals say it’s too soon. The South Carolina Department of Public Health reports more than 980 new cases of COVID-19 in one day. Augusta University Health has seen a slight increase in this region over the last month.
“I think in Augusta, we have gotten complacent,” said Dr. Vazquez. “Meaning, we are not social distancing, we’re not wearing masks in large crowds, we’re not keeping our hands clean, and that’s why we are starting to see a minimal but significant increase.”
Many medical professionals expected the spike to come in the fall. Dr. Vazquez says because the combination of protests, people going out, and states easing stay-at-home orders, we could have a surge happens in the summer. However, he does say people who are now getting infected are less sick, possibly because of medicines like Remdesivere, and other steroids.
“Most of our patients that have been admitted into the hospital over the past week have all gone to the floor,” said Dr. Vazquez. “So, they have mild to moderate disease.”
The Division Chief for the Department of Infectious Diseases says there’s more significant concern about the fall because other respiratory tract viruses are going on, along with COVID-19.
“This winter could be a huge challenge, with Influenza in one hand and coronavirus on the other,” explained Dr. Vazquez. “We had a bad influenza season last year where the hospitals were full. If we have a bad influenza season this year and have coronavirus, you can imagine how significant that will be.”
Dr. Vazquez told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, the push for flu shots will be big this flu season. He says it will save hospital beds for those who test positive for COVID-19.
Georgia has seen more than 62,000 cases since the pandemic began. More than 2,600 people have died. In South Carolina, nearly 23,000 cases of the virus have been diagnosed; 639 people have died.