What does spike in COVID cases mean for the CSRA?

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If you’ve noticed more of your friends are getting COVID, the numbers may back that up.

The Department of Health says COVID deaths in Georgia are up 55 percent. In total numbers, it’s nothing like what we saw early in the pandemic.

Augusta University Health tells us that 19 people are hospitalized with COVID, and four are in the intensive-care unit.

We spoke with the hospital to get a snapshot of what these numbers mean.

Doctors say the severity of this spike is not as bad as before. Dr. Phillip Coule with AU Health has been tracking COVID since the start.

“We’re dealing with a fairly significantly different disease than what we were dealing with in 2020. One cannot just look at the numbers of cases for a variety of reasons,” said Coule, vice president and chief medical officer.

Doctors are seeing less severe illnesses and fewer hospitalizations. It’s not a new variant; it’s the same one.

“The virus strain that is circulating, which is omicron, is less severe,” he said.

While they occasionally see patients who become critically ill, they are not seeing the same numbers from early in the pandemic.

“It’s a great snapshot. If you can compare that to where we were in the pandemic, were at times where we had 30, 40, 50 people with COVID-19 on the ventilator,” said Coule.

While we’re one mutation away from a severe impact, Coule says vaccinations are doing their part.

“Vaccines are safe and very effective at preventing serious disease, the need for hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 regardless of the strain that’s involved,” he said.

To order your next free set of COVID tests, visit COVID.gov.

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