Local Hospitalizations Drop Below 100 as Positivity Rate Continues to Drop | Local News
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 at local medical centers fell below 100 for the first time since August as positivity and case rates continue to decline in Floyd County.
Floyd Medical Center reported 59 patients on Tuesday afternoon and Redmond Regional Medical Center had 37.
The county had a 15.3% positivity rate, which is the percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in a given time period. Public health officials use the rate to determine if there is a significant spread of the virus in an area. Below 5% is the goal.
According to the director of the Northwestern Georgia Department of Public Health, Dr Gary Voccio, the region averages a positivity rate of around 15-20%.
Voccio said the recent increase may have been caused by students returning to school, as many cases were pediatric, people under the age of 18. Now cases are starting to decline, he said, with some people having some form of immunity after contracting the virus.
That being said, getting the vaccine is still important because medical experts don’t know how long this “natural immunity” lasts or how well it protects against a second infection, Voccio said.
Schools in the city of Rome announced on Tuesday that they will keep their mask tenure in place when students return from their fall vacation.
Acknowledging the decrease in cases, Superintendent Lou Byars and other school officials said they have decided the best way to prevent another spike is to continue current measures until the end of October.
Floyd County is progressing steadily with vaccination rates, with 45% of people having received at least one dose and 40% of residents being fully vaccinated.
As cases now decline, Voccio said he doesn’t know when or how strong the next wave could be. Many experts are predicting another wave of vacations, similar to what the state experienced in December and January 2020.
People can get vaccines, boosters, and third doses of Pfizer vaccines from local public health departments. Find the closest on dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.
Vaccines linked to case reduction
New report shows COVID-19 vaccinations may have helped prevent around 5,100 new COVID-19 infections and 700 deaths among seniors in Georgia in the first five months of this year, Capitol Beat reports News Service.
The study, conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services, also found that vaccinations were linked to a reduction of around 265,000 COVID-19 infections nationwide, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between January and May 2021.
“This report reaffirms what we regularly hear from states: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, prevent hospitalizations and reduce infections,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said.
The study also found that vaccines were linked to a reduction of about 5,600 deaths among nursing home Medicare beneficiaries, a group that has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Tim Darnell of Capitol Beat News Service contributed to this report.