The number of COVID-19 infected individuals requiring hospital care continues to drop in all but one county in the Coastal Health District.
But while the caseload is shrinking in seven of the eight counties in the district, the virus threat is far from over, warns Ginger Heidel, risk communicator for the health district.
“Current COVID hospitalizations are generally decreasing throughout the state but remain very high,” Heidel said. “The number of COVID-positive inpatients in hospitals in Glynn, Camden and Chatham have dropped in recent days, but in Liberty County the numbers are still at near peak levels.”
The other four counties in the Coastal Health District are McIntosh, Liberty, Long and Effingham.
“And even though numbers are dropping from this current surge, they’re still at levels close to the last peak we experienced in January after the holidays,” Heidel said. “In other words, the decrease is encouraging, but our hospitals are still stressed with a high number of COVID patients.”
There are more people on hospital ventilators today than during any other time during the pandemic, Heidel said.
“About 90% of our region’s ICU beds are in use,” she said.
The number of cases in Southeast Georgia Health System’s hospital in Brunswick on Tuesday had decreased to 81 from 96 just one week ago. At the health system’s facility in St. Marys, the COVID caseload during the same time period dropped by only two, decreasing to 10 from 12.
Deaths attributed to the virus continue to climb. In Glynn County alone, 267 people had succumbed to COVID-19 more than a week ago and some 100 more since early August.
Also as of Wednesday, 46.4% of the residents in Glynn County were fully vaccinated and 35.2% in Camden.
The number of COVID-related deaths districtwide grew to 1,143 Wednesday and to 21,563 statewide, or 1.8% of those infected.
As they have throughout the pandemic, health officials are urging residents to take all proper precautions against spreading or catching the virus.
“It is not too late to do the right thing and get vaccinated,” Heidel said. “If you can’t or won’t get the vaccine, please take every other precaution you can to avoid infection because there is still a high level of transmission in all our coastal area counties.”
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is said to be more contagious than its predecessor. Individuals interested in receiving the vaccine can contact Southeast Georgia Health System or their local health department for time, place and an appointment.
The vaccine is available to individuals 12 and older.
Other precautions include wearing a mask when in crowds outside the home, washing hands frequently and staying home if infected.