With the number of patients infected with COVID-19 finally dwindling in his hospital, University CEO Jim Davis joked that it might be the last time he has to update his board about the pandemic at their regular meetings.
“The good news is this is good news this month,” Davis said.
For the first time in nearly three months, the COVID-19 patients among the three Augusta hospitals and Aiken Regional Medical Centers dipped below 100 combined last week, according to an Augusta Chronicle analysis.
At University, the number of those patient admissions dropped from a high of 102 a week in September to 20 last week, Davis said. Positive lab tests have dropped from 744 a week to 76 positives last week, he said.
“It’s not gone but it’s come down a lot,” he said. Davis feared that Labor Day festivities or thousands of unmasked fans packing into football stadiums would become “superspreader events” but “that did not happen,” he said.
“Overall, we dodged a bullet there, I think,” Davis said.
Across the Augusta and Aiken area, counties once color-coded red for high rates of community transmission are mostly yellow, with seven-day average rates of 10 new cases per 100,000 people or less, according to the Global Epidemics maintained by Brown University School of Public Health. Columbia County was still highest at 14.1 per 100,000 and still orange, along with Richmond and Jefferson counties.
“Really good news,” Davis said. “I think we are headed in the right direction.”
At AU Health System, CEO Katrina Keefer is seeing the similar declines.
“We do seem to be coming down off that wave,” she said.