CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) — A month can make a significant difference in the COVID-19 situation in Chatham County, according to statistics from the Coastal Health District.

Community spread and hospitalizations are down.

In the month since Dr. Chris Rustin gave a COVID update to the Chatham County Commission, local numbers have taken a dramatic fall in the right direction. That includes testing.

“For that particular week of the commissioner meeting, we tested around 1,990 people that week, as of yesterday our two health department sites have tested 178 people,” Rustin said Friday.

The percent-positive rate of tests in Chatham County is down from 15% to 9.6% this week. Even more significant is the drop in hospitalizations, now half of what they were a month ago.

“Those are all really really good signs that we’re moving out of this surge thankfully,” Rustin says.

But Rustin warns the pandemic isn’t over. Even with a community transmission index 92% below the surge peak, it’s still high at 253, as of Friday.

“We’re in a period of what we call a containment phase of the virus,” Rustin said.

Nationwide, communities are seeing this decline in COVID cases.

Friday, the Centers for Disease Control updated their mask guidance, saying communities should base mask mandates on new weekly hospitalizations, the number of COVID beds taken up by covid patients, and the community transmission index.

“We will make adjustments based on the CDC’s recommendation about masking and indoor masking,” said Chester Ellis, the Chair of the Chatham County Commission.