There is no question that the COVID-19 curve has flattened across Northwest Georgia, according to Dr. Gary Voccio, the district public health director.
“You have to give all of the credit to the primary care providers here across Northwest Georgia,” Voccio said. “We certainly are seeing a decline in the COVID-19 crisis.”
But that’s only here and now. While there is currently antibody testing and work toward the development of a vaccine, they won’t likely come in time to prevent a second outbreak.
Voccio spoke with members of the Rome Rotary Club during a videoconference Thursday.
The Thursday midday report from the Department of Public Health indicates Floyd County had 153 cases, 12 deaths and 40 hospitalizations. That’s an increase of three cases and one death from the Wednesday report.
The Floyd County rate of infection is about 150 cases per 100,000 people. Bartow County is double that, largely because of the super-spreader event at one church.
The 10-county region now has eight testing sites for COVID-19 and is doing between 200 and 250 tests a day at this time. The state is using a number of private labs to try to get results back quicker.
Test results have been holding fairly steady at about 5% positivity — which the doctor called “unbelievably good.”
As testing continues to increase, and more people get out and in contact with each other, Voccio told the service club that a significant increase in cases is predictable.
“We’re going to see some bumps and we’re going to see probably an increase in hospitalizations and we’re going to see some death,” Voccio said.
Another issue is whether people who have had the disease are immune to further infection. At this point, antibody testing has not provided an answer to the question, Voccio said.
“The FDA has not approved any of the antibody testing at this time,” Voccio said. “People have retested for their antibodies for some reason and the tests were different on the second testing.”
The physician said Remdesivir and plasma therapies both seem to be promising treatments for people who have contracted COVID-19. But as far as developing a vaccine goes, we really won’t know if an effective vaccine has been created until there is another outbreak, he said.
“I’m not very optimistic about a vaccination at this time, but we’ll see,” Voccio said. “The influenza vaccination is 60% effective, so if we have a coronavirus vaccination I hope it’s more potent than the influenza vaccination.”
Voccio is predicting a second wave of COVID-19, with intermittent spikes in certain cities because of the lack of a vaccine coupled with the lessening of the shelter-at-ck棋牌 restrictions.
The public health chief said his office has seven epidemiologists performing contact tracing almost around the clock. When there is an infection, they track the person’s movements back 48 hours looking for anyone who may have come in close contact. They then give that person information about isolation methods and quarantine procedures.
Voccio said he hopes to get as many as many as six more contact tracers in the coming weeks.