MOULTRIE, Ga – Colquitt Regional recently reported that it has seen a downward trend in positive COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks.
One of the ways Colquitt Regional tracks its COVID data is by analyzing the seven-day rolling average of positive cases. This helps hospital officials to not only see daily numbers, but to view trends in data and where the numbers are going as a whole.
“Since July 30, Colquitt Regional has experienced a sustained decrease in positive COVID-19 cases,” said Colquitt Regional President and CEO Jim Matney. “We commend our community members for taking the virus seriously and following the necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID. I have no doubt that the diligence of our town is the reason for the decline in numbers.”
On May 24, Colquitt Regional reached a rolling average of 17 new positive cases per day, the highest number to date.
As of September 9, Colquitt Regional had a seven-day rolling average of 5.29 cases, which shows a 53.14 percent decrease from the 11.29 average on June 30. There was also a total of 965 positive cases, 5,379 negative cases, and 6,413 tests performed, which shows that only 15 percent of people who tested at Colquitt Regional were COVID-positive.
“Our goal is to stay at or below a seven-day rolling average of five cases per day,” said Matney. “The recent decrease in cases shows that this is an attainable goal if people continue to wear a mask, watch their distance and wash their hands.”
As a whole, Colquitt County has also experienced a decrease in positive COVID-19 cases. On July 2, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported that Colquitt County had a moving average of 29.4 cases, the highest number reported to date.
Since then, Colquitt County has seen a steady decline in positive cases. According to the Georgia DPH, on September 9, the moving seven-day average was 4.9 and since August 15 the seven-day average has remained at or below 12.7.
On September 9, the Georgia DPH reported that the seven-day average of new cases reported in Georgia is down 48 percent from the state’s peak on July 24.
As of September 9, Colquitt Regional only had 13 patients hospitalized or eleven percent of the total beds available.
“While there has been concern in the state of Georgia regarding hospital capacity, Colquitt Regional is completely equipped to meet the needs of the community,” said Matney. “We have plans in place to accommodate growing numbers, should the need arise.”
Colquitt Regional currently utilizes the Cepheid SARs-CoV2 and Abbott SARs-CoV2 tests. Both the Cepheid and Abbott tests are rapid molecular PCR and RNA tests, which are tested via nasopharyngeal swab. The Abbott test takes approximately 15 minutes to run and the Cepheid test takes approximately 45 minutes to run.
Patients without severe symptoms who do not require hospitalization may also be given a SARs-CoV2 non-rapid test. Results from this test are generally returned within 48-72 hours.
Colquitt Regional is using a variety of regimens for treatment of COVID-positive inpatients, depending on severity of the case. These recommendations are based on available information and data regarding possible and investigational treatments.
“Recently, there has been a lot of interest in using convalescent plasma for COVID-19 management,” said Sterling Group Pulmonologist and Colquitt Regional Chief Medical Officer Michael Brown, MD. “We have been using plasma, along with steroids, and a drug called Remdesivir, for our most critical COVID-19 patients and have seen some success with those therapies.”
Colquitt Regional has had inquiries from individuals who recovered from COVID-19 desiring to donate plasma. Plasma donation is available in Moultrie. Individuals should contact OneBlood, a national blood bank, at 1-888-936-6283 to schedule a donation time.
As flu season quickly approaches, health officials are also urging members of the public to be sure to receive their flu shot. According to the CDC, the months of September and October are good months to get vaccinated, as flu activity usually begins to increase during October.
"It is imperative for people to receive their flu vaccination this year,” said Brown. "Both the flu and COVID are transmitted through respiratory droplets and have similar symptoms. If people continue to take precautionary measures, such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and wearing a mask, then we will continue to keep the spread of COVID to a minimum and decrease the transmission rate of the flu as well."
Colquitt Regional continues to offer COVID testing Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A doctor’s order is required to receive a test.
For questions about COVID testing, please call the Colquitt Regional COVID hotline at 229-891-9380.
Pictured, from left, is Michael Brown, MD, Sterling Group Pulmonologist and Chief Medical Officer, and Jim Matney, Colquitt Regional President and CEO. Brown and Matney meet on a regular basis to discuss COVID policies, protocols, and safety measures.