As local COVID-19 cases trend downward, what’s next?

Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 6:36 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a trend in the right direction: COVID cases and hospitalizations are dropping in our area.

The graph below shows the number of people hospitalized at University Hospital, Augusta University Health and Doctors Hospital since the beginning of the year. Our most recent spike was at the end of January, and numbers have gone down ever since.

Line graph showing COVID-19 inpatients reported at AU Health, University & Doctors hospitals...
Line graph showing COVID-19 inpatients reported at AU Health, University & Doctors hospitals since the beginning of the year.(WRDW)

Doctors tell us the outbreak of the ultra-contagious omicron variant of coronavirus is dying down, but omicron’s not what they’re worried about.

We’ve seen this before with cases dropping, but now doctors are focusing on how to fight the next possible variant.

“Seems like we are getting better,” said Dr. Rodger MacArthur, professor of medicine in infectious disease at Augusta University.

Doctors say hospitalizations have dropped. COVID deaths are plateauing, and they expect those numbers to go down soon, as well.

With a new antibody treatment, even more, hope is on the horizon for the fight against COVID.

“The new monoclonal antibodies seem to work for those mild infections,” MacArthur said.

MacArthur says the new treatment can shorten the number of days with COVID symptoms, and overall, it’s a step forward in the pandemic.

“So omicron is going away, and this new monoclonal has activity against omicron. Good activity, but what about the next variant? That’s what we are worried about,” MacArthur said

So how exactly can we prepare for the next variant? Ultimately medical experts say the only way to combat this virus is to suppress it, so it can’t easily spread from person to person. The best way to do that falls on us.

If you are still unvaccinated, MacArthur recommends using an N95 mask.

“The next steps are to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated, and those vaccinated to get the booster vaccine,” he said.

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