Chatham Co. seeing positive progress in COVID-19 numbers

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 4:01 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Dropping rates - that’s what were seeing on most data points local leaders are using to track the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the last two weeks, Chatham County’s Community Transmission index has dropped by nearly half. That’s the measurement that looks at cases per 100,000 people.

It’s still well above the rate set by the state for rolling back COVID restrictions earlier this year. Chatham County’s transmission index was just some of the data the health department presented to county commissioners Friday morning.

The administrator also showed a decline in hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases. Dr. Chris Rustin compared it to the numbers we saw last November.

Dr. Rustin says it’s great that Chatham County’s hospitalizations and COVID case numbers are declining. However, he stresses this doesn’t mean the pandemic is over.

Dr. Rustin says it’s important to stay vigilant, as another surge is always possible. He showed county commissioners various graphs, all showing a downward trend, after a surge in mid-August.

Just looking at our average case numbers per day, Dr. Rustin says the county is seeing around 72 new cases a day. That number used to be in the hundreds.

Dr. Rustin says this is positive progress. In fact, he says, these numbers are slightly lower than what they were this time last year.

As we get closer to the winter season, Dr. Rustin noted that last winter was when the county saw a surge in cases. Aside from wearing masks and social distancing, Dr. Rustin says we can avoid another surge with vaccinations.

Just this week, Chatham County did reach 50 percent of its eligible residents being fully vaccinated. But, Dr. Rustin says the demand for a first shot is not as high as he would like to see.

“Actually, we’re seeing more boosters than we are with new vaccinations,” Dr. Rustin said. “As of yesterday, we had given around 1,606 boosters at the various sites.”

Dr. Rustin also suggested residents get their flu shot. All health departments are offering flu shots. He says you are able to get both the flu shot and vaccine at the same time.

The Coastal Health District is also offering drive-thru flu vaccination clinics. Next week is their first one.

It’s happening at the McIntosh County Health Department on October 15. You can find more information on all of their planned clinics on their website.

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