Chatham County Health Dept. head: COVID positivity rates higher than Jan. peak


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Local health experts are saying the delta variant is driving the surge in cases around the state and right here in the Coastal Empire.

“The delta variant, as you know, is much more contagious than the previous strain of coronavirus,” said Chris Rustin, who is the administrator of the Chatham County Health Department.

Across the state, hospitals are seeing a record number of patients. 

“When the hospitals fill up like this, it prevents other people who are having some other trauma or heart attacks that need to be in a hospital from being able to go there,” Rustin said.

Based on the data seen from around the state, Dr. Rustin said, “About 90% of patients who are in the hospital are unvaccinated, and about 10% of patients have breakthrough cases.”

Breakthrough cases are usually much milder cases, causing patients to stay fewer days in the hospital, according to physicians.

Dr. Rustin said Chatham County’s positivity rates are higher now than the highest peaks dating back to January of 2021.

“Our positivity rate continues to climb; we are seeing a lot more testing,” said Rustin.

The higher the positivity rate, the higher the transmission activity.

“We are still encouraging people that are sick to get tested,” Rustin said.

And with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, local leaders say they need to see the county’s vaccination rate go up as well.

“The unvaccinated tend to have much more severe outcomes and are much more likely to get sick and have symptoms from this particular strain,” said Rustin.

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