Gainesville doctor: summer surge might have peaked

Pace of hospitalizations slows

The 7-day moving average of COVID-19 cases in Georgia is at its lowest level in a more than a month.

That has medical directors from some of the state’s major hospital systems telling Channel 2 Investigative reporter Justin Gray that they believe the delta wave may have peaked in Georgia.

Data from the Georgia Department of Public Health shows the 7-day moving average has been going down throughout September. On September 13, that number was 4,985, the lowest since mid-August. “It certainly looks like we have at least plateaued, and perhaps have hit the peak, and we’re cautiously optimistic that that’s the case,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, the Chief Medical Officer at Augusta University Health Systems.

But even with the downward trend, the number of cases remains higher than throughout most of the pandemic and hospitals across metro Atlanta are still pushed to their limits.

At Northeast Georgia Medical Center, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been inching down for the past several days. They had 305 patients hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases September 6. That number is down to 282 for September 13.

Northside Hospital and WellStar Health Systems both tell Channel 2 Action News they have also seen small decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“Really the number that are in the ICU are about the same, we haven’t really changed much. We still have a lot of sick people. But new people seem to be slowing down a little bit,” said Dr. John Delzell, Vice President at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

And doctors are hopeful the drop in cases could be as steep as the delta rise was.

“More rapid spread, more rapid rise in cases but the good news is we’re hoping the corresponding fall in cases will also occur,” said Coule.

Delzell also warns, however, that if more people do not get vaccinated, another wave is likely.

“If we waste this one, just like we wasted other ones, we’ll just have another surge later,” Delzell said.

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