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Local hospitals see ‘dramatic decline’ in COVID cases

(Kyle Green | AP Photo/Kyle Green,File)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Local hospitals say they’re seeing a dramatic drop in cases and inpatients.

We’ve been tracking COVID hospitalizations since mid-August, that’s around the time we started seeing a surge in COVID cases from the delta variant.

Here’s a look at our local hospitalization numbers from Augusta University Health, University Hospital, and Aiken Regional Medical Center over the past two months:

(WRDW)

Our local health officials say we have finally hit what seems like the plateau, and cases will hopefully continue to decline.

“It’s a welcomed sight to see a drop in the numbers,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at AU Health.

Barry Jenkins, chief medical officer at University Hospital, agreed.

“It’s a huge relief to see it start to trend in the right direction and we’re seeing that across the community in all the hospitals,” Jenkins said.

Along with the entire state of Georgia, the CSRA is seeing relief as the COVID cases decline.

“We have seen a dramatic decline in the number of new cases that are occurring as well as a drop-off in the number of new admissions,” said Coule.

But that’s not to say hospitals aren’t completely full. AU is just now starting to take transfer patients from other hospitals.

“We’re basically operating in a disaster mode,” Coule said. “We’re not back to normal operations, and we still have a backlog of surgeries but we are seeing that slight drop in census and we expect over the next two weeks or so that we’ll see that number of COVID patients in the hospital continue to decline.”

Jenkins at University Hospital says it’s the same outlook.

“We finally started outpacing discharges with admissions,” he said.

Health officials, along with Gov. Brian Kemp say there’s a chance of a winter surge. So doctors remain hopeful for now.

“I hope never again but for at least a couple of months we would expect very low numbers of COVID occurring,” said Coule.

Doctors say when hospitalizations spiked like this it was more than anyone really expected compared to our last surge in January. Getting vaccinated and wearing your mask is still so important even as these numbers start to trend downward.

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