Doctors remain ‘cautiously optimistic’ as COVID numbers decline

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – For the first time in months, both in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts, doctors say they’re seeing a decline in new cases, hospitalizations and positivity rates. However, the news comes with a warning.

“It leads me to be cautiously optimistic.” Dr. Selim Suner, Medical Director at Lifespan Alternative Hospital site said. “I say cautiously optimistic because we are seeing the virus mutate. There are different strains of the virus that are now entrenched in the United States.”

Dr. Suner credits the last wave of cases to the holidays and says we’re finally past that surge and the numbers are showing.

In Rhode Island, statewide positivity rates went from 6.6% to 5%. In Massachusetts, Sunday marked the first time hospitalizations dipped below 2,000 since the end of December.

Dr. Suner says with the threat of mutations and eased restrictions, things could change quickly. He also says while hospitalizations are slightly decreasing, hospitals are facing major staff shortages and a lot of it is from burn out.

“Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, we’re not isolated,” Dr. Suner said. “ We’re neighbors and we go into each other’s states all the time. So, whenever our neighbors change their restrictions, that could have an effect on the numbers in Rhode Island.”

On Monday, the Bay State’s curfew and stay at home order expired. While the Ocean State’s is still in effect, there’s been a push to lift it, too.

“Whenever restrictions are lifted that does give me concern about the numbers going back up, especially because it’s very early in this plateau phase we’re seeing,” Dr. Suner said.

While there are glimpses of hope, Dr. Suner’s message remains the same:

“Not to let our guard down,” Dr. Suner said. “Yes, the numbers are going down, the measures that we’ve taken are starting to work, but continue wearing your mask, continue not gathering and let’s see what happens when a large number of the population is vaccinated.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News, Providence, Rhode Island