COVID wave continues to send fewer people to local hospitals

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 7:49 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With every new COVID variant, CSRA hospitals have dealt with increases in patients.

As the ultra-contagious omicron variant sweeps the region, that’s happening again, but not to the extent as before, since omicron is milder than its predecessors.

While the percentage of hospitalizations with omicron is lower, local doctors say they’re seeing many more COVID breakthrough cases in the vaccinated this time around.

“Vaccines are doing a very good job of preventing hospitalization, severe disease and death, whether it’s omicron or any of the other variants at this point in time,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche at Augusta University Health.


On Friday, there were 249 COVID inpatients at hospitals in the Georgia portion of the CSRA. That was up from 232 the day before and 137 a week earlier but still not as high as the 398 at the peak of the delta surge in early September.

The 249 patients on Friday included 85 at Augusta University Health, up seven from the day before; 120 at University Hospital, up four from the day before; 36 at Doctors Hospital, up one from the day before; and 16 at Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center, unchanged from the day before. On the other side of the Savannah River, Aiken Regional Medical Center reported 24 COVID inpatients Friday, up two from the day before.

South Carolina reported 12,996 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Friday, a slight decline from Thursday’s record-breaking 13,320 cases. It reported six deaths, including five confirmed and one probable death.

Georgia, meanwhile, reported 21,233 new cases, 370 more hospitalizations, and 33 more deaths confirmed from COVID than the day before.

On both sides of the river, there continues to be a surge in people seeking COVID tests.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said due to the recent surge fueled by the delta and omicron variants, testing providers and laboratories are experiencing longer lines for individuals to get tested and longer turnaround times to produce results.

“The testing call center and care line have seen a dramatic increase in call volume and emails, and staff are working to return messages and voicemails as soon as possible. People should leave only one email or one voicemail only to reduce the amount of messages,” DHEC said in a statement.

DHEC said it anticipated and prepared for the influx of testing, but the timing of omicron occurring over the holidays further escalated testing demand.

Because of the delays, DHEC recommends anyone who is feeling currently symptomatic and has not received a result for a test that occurred between Dec. 30 and Jan. 3 to get another test.

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