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As local virus cases ease, a warning: 'Don't throw caution to the wind'

N95 masks (Source: MGN)
N95 masks (Source: MGN)(NBC15)
Published: May. 15, 2020 at 6:04 AM EDT
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Friday, May 15, 2020

Is the CSRA starting to flatten the curve in coronavirus infections?

Cases have been leveling off since the end of April, and local deaths can be traced to nursing homes instead of hospitals, according to officials.

Some experts think we could have a relatively normal summer as the warmer weather slows the spread of the virus.

But they say we’re not in the clear just yet.

Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at Augusta University, says we could see a second wave of infections in the fall.

There’s always the possibility that thousands of people have the virus but haven’t gotten tested yet.

“People should remain cautious,” Coule said. “Just because we haven’t seen a big jump in cases with with people being less socially distanced, doesn’t mean that we should throw caution to the wind. It is encouraging, but we should remain cautious and still and still practice all of those social distancing measures like we have been.”

Coule said that even though things looks good right now, we won't know what our risk is until we conduct widespread antibody testing. That will tell us whether a majority of us had the virus and didn't know it.

COVID-19 curves in the CSRA
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As COVID-19 cases level off, some local hospitals are starting to ease visitor restrictions and resume elective procedures. It's all an effort to return to some sense of normalcy -- slowly and safely.

Also, doctors have started to perform some elective surgeries.

But this doesn't mean hospitals are letting their guard down.

For instance, at University Hospital in Augusta, elective procedures have started only for patients in critical need -- but thehospital is still are not allowing visitors for anyone except end-of-life or labor patients.

At Doctors Hospital, patients are allowed to have one visitor -- but they must come at certain hours, and entrances are still limited.

Augusta University Health patients can also have one visitor -- as long as it's not a coronavirus-related case.

The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center is still not allowing visitors at any of its facilities. It’s also requiring all patients to wear a mask or face covering.

At Aiken Regional Medical Center, visitors are not allowed yet, either. The only exceptions are for end-of-life situations and pediatric patients.

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