AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — COVID-19 hospitalizations are declining across Augusta — a welcomed sign after hospitals were flooded with patients.
29 patients were being treated for COVID-19 Monday at University Hospital. At its peak on September 7, 167 were being treated.
It is a similar situation at Augusta University Medical Center. 48 patients were being treated for COVID-19 Friday.
Dr. Phillip Coule, the Chief Medical Officer at AU Health, tells NewsChannel 6 surgeries are “back on a full schedule.” Their team is prioritizing the most critical surgeries as they work to clear the backlog of procedures that were delayed.
To open up more bed space, AU Health turned part of its Emergency Room into an ICU unit earlier this year. A portion of the Family Medicine Clinic was turned into an Emergency Department. Coule says those units are still open, but they are being used less often.
As the holiday season approaches, Dr. Rodger MacArthur, an infectious diseases physician at AU Health, says he does not expect there to be a surge of cases and hospitalizations similar to the one seen in 2020.
“What we’re hoping and predicting is there may be a few local hotspots here and there, but, nothing like that last surge that we’re still coming down from,” MacArthur says.
“I think the virus is running out of targets,” he adds. “Slightly more than 50 percent of all Georgians are fully vaccinated. The CDC estimates that, across the country, probably about 30 percent or more of individuals have been naturally exposed to the virus. When you add the vaccine immunity to the natural immunity, we probably have over 80 percent with some degree of immunity.”