AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are slowly declining in Georgia, a promising sign as hospitals continue to treat record numbers of patients.
“We are seeing a decline in admissions,” Dr. Phillip Coule, the Chief Medical Officer of AU Health, says. “We think the subsequent drop in in-patients and ICU patients will come shortly.”
109 COVID-19 patients were being treated at AU Health Thursday. That was down from more than 130 earlier in the month. Hospitalizations were down at University Hospital and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center as well. However, these hospitals are still full.
“We’re still operating in disaster mode. We’re not able to function normally. We have 350 to 400 surgical cases that are backlogged now. We have a lot of other procedures that are backlogged. We’re going to be catching up on those as quickly as we can.”
While hospitalizations are declining, the number of deaths in Georgia reached an all time high this week. 190 people died from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the most since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile in South Carolina, the number of deaths is dropping. But, patients of all ages continue to fill up hospitals.
“Before they [patients[ were 60, 70, 80 or 90 years old,” Janet Byrne, the nurse manager of the MUSC Medical Intensive Care Unit, explains. “We had an occasional 40 or 50-year-old. Now, our patients are in their 20s and early 30s. We have 23 and 32-year-olds. Several of them have died. They were not vaccinated.”
Coule expects cases to level off and stay low for a few weeks. But, he says people should not let their guards down.
“We don’t know when the next variant will hit,” he says. “We don’t know exactly what that will look like, which is why it’s so important for people to get vaccinated even though the case volumes are declining.”