MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s been nearly six months since Montgomery reported it’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.
Within months, the Capital City became of one of the nations hot spots for the virus.
Now, local doctors are reporting a decline in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
“Good news, the numbers are certainly much further down than they were,” said Montgomery-area pulmonologist Dr. William Saliski. “At one point we were at about 100 to 125 cases a day. Now, seven-day averages are ranging between 30 and 40 a day, so much much better.”
Doctors say through education, mask wearing, and rule following, the city’s hospitals are slowly becoming less overwhelmed.
“We were consistently running somewhere between 60, 70, up to almost 80 patients who were hospitalized,” said Jackson Hospital urologist Dr. Brian Richardson. “Now we’re down to kind of consistently in the 30′s and even in the 20′s.”
Hospitals have not, however, slowed down. Local doctors said ICU’s are still mostly full.
“It’s because patients that wind up on ventilators can sometimes stay 25 to 30 days on a ventilator so we have people still from a month ago that are still fighting for their lives,” Saliski said.
Richardson said the decline in hospitalizations has helped ICUs though.
“The demand that we had again six, eight, 12 weeks ago, we’ve seen a significant decline,” Richardson said. “Which has made us more capable of taking care of all patients.”
The doctors said the virus is still far from over, and they fear Labor Day Weekend might reverse the positive trend they are seeing.
“As the numbers go down we need to not give up our guard and start saying this virus is over,” Richardson said.
“It’s Labor Day. Everybody wants to have a good time, go to the lake, go to the beach, but again, it just takes one and one turns to two, two turns to four, etc,” Saliski said. “So to not overwhelm the system again we really have to be just dutiful in what we do. You’re doing a great job now, just continue it.”
Doctors said they think a vaccine could be here as early as November.
Richardson said researchers are using a new technique to develop the vaccine.
“It’s a little bit scary because we don’t really know a lot about how it’s going to have a downstream affect on folks,” Richardson said. “Obviously everyone is doing everything they can to make it the safest possible vaccination.”
“I truthfully believe that this vaccine will come out quicker than you think,” Saliski said. “The downside is whether it will be brought to market too quickly. Only time will tell.”
As of Thursday, Montgomery County reported having a total of 8,100 positive cases of COVID-19. Montgomery County has the third highest case total in the state and is the fourth largest county in the state.