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Hospitals filling up as COVID-19 spikes in 2-state region

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 6:48 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Health experts say the only reason the COVID-19 shutdowns even happened was to help flatten the curve. But now numbers are getting higher and hospital beds are filling up, so what’s next?

Cases are on the rise in both South Carolina and Georgia.

In South Carolina, the number of cases that have come back positive has nearly doubled in two weeks. And now, 20 percent of tests executed in the state had positive results.

“If people are not careful, we certainly could see a very large number of people infected,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at Augusta University Health.

He says the 18- to 30-year-old group is the largest that has the most positive results.

While the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control states about 50% of those testing positive are asymptomatic, more than 70% of hospital beds are full of virus patients in South Carolina. In Aiken County specifically, nearly 50% of hospital beds are occupied.

Across the river in Georgia, as of last Monday, the number of hospitalizations was at 1000. And according to data from yesterday, that number is now around 1,200.

In just one week, data shows nearly a 25% jump in the total number of hospitalizations. And Coule says we must all play our parts to see change.

“The purpose of all these measures is to prevent overwhelming the health care system,” he said.

Locally, Columbia County has 53 hospitalizations. Richmond County is at 212.

Coule says if cases don’t flatten soon, people at high risk will be an easy target for contracting the virus because of case increases.

Health officials encourage everyone to still wear face coverings and practice social distancing. This upcoming weekend is a holiday weekend, and they are expecting numbers to spike even more.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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