SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Local health experts aren’t as optimistic about COVID-19 as President Biden is as he declared earlier this week that the pandemic is over.
Dr. Tim Connelly of Memorial Health says that while numbers have decreased dramatically, COVID is not gone. Instead, it’s something that we have to learn to live with and look out for.
“I don’t see an end, a complete end to COVID,” Connelly said.
COVID has claimed the lives of more than one million Americans but now world leaders and health experts say the worst could very well be behind us when it comes to COVID.
“We’re slowly moving more from an endemic phase to a pandemic phase of COVID-19, meaning that we tend to have steady rates of COVID-19, particularly in our hospital,” Connelly said. “Right now we have 20 people in the hospital that are COVID-19 positive, we have one person on a ventilator.”
Not only are hospitalizations trending downward but over the last two weeks, there have been 388 confirmed COVID cases in Chatham County, which is down from 850 earlier this month.
“I’m very encouraged by the numbers, you know what I’ve advised my patients now is not to live in fear of COVID-19 or influenza virus, but don’t live in denial either,” Connelly said.
This news comes just weeks after the release of the new bivalent boosters targeting the omicron sub-varients and doctors say while it will continue to boost immunity, it’s not enough to put an end to the virus.
“We’re going to keep seeing this disease, there’s enough people that didn’t get vaccinated or didn’t get infected or got infected with a strain that’s so far removed from the BA.4 and BA.5, that their immunity has waned,” Connelly said.
Although COVID numbers across Georgia continue trending down, doctors say part of that could be attributed to the availability of at-home tests. They suspect some cases aren’t being report reported.
“Most people that aren’t acutely ill don’t report those tests so we really have no exact number of how many people are testing positive in the community,” Connelly said.
But because the virus continues to evolve, health experts continue to warn of future spikes.
“There’s always the possibility for another bad spike, there’s always the possibility for another strain,” Connelly said.
While COVID winds down, hurricane season is ramping up and with that Connelly said it’s important to take the time to stock up on any medications you need.
He also says to pack masks, sanitizer and tests to keep yourself safe in case of an evacuation.