Doctors seeing ‘long-lasting decline’ in COVID-19 cases in Georgia

ATLANTA — There are some encouraging signs in Georgia right now even as the variant first detected in the UK is spreading across the state.

In recent weeks, the coronavirus hospitalization rate has dropped to around 7%, down from 18% last May.

Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge talked to Dr. Felipe Lobelo, the Director of Epidemiology at Kaiser Permanente Georgia, who said health officials are calling the trend a “plateauing decline.”

“It’s not a sharp decline,” Lobelo said. “It’s a long-lasting decline.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

Lobelo said they’ve been aware of the trend for several weeks. He thinks the number of people getting vaccinated is helping.

“There’s enough vaccination in the population so that we’re not going to necessarily see huge spikes in hospitalizations because most of our vulnerable population is vaccinated,” Lobelo said.

Lobelo said that where they’re seeing the positivity rate increase is among teens and young adults. He said the race is on to get more people vaccinated as the UK variant spreads. A couple of weeks ago, about 50% of cases were due to the variant. Now it’s close to 75%.

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]

Lobelo is encouraging people to keep taking precautions until more people are vaccinated.

“More travel, less mask use,” Lobelo said. “I’m worried about stadiums saying they’re going to open to 100% capacity.”

Lobelo said he’d like to see the positivity rate get below 1%.

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