Georgia Healthcare Staff Elevate the Alarm Amid COVID Wave | Georgia Information

By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia health care workers on Friday voiced increasing alarm and frustration over a spike in COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant of the coronavirus amid ongoing, isolated efforts to reduce the state’s low vaccination rate to increase.

The Phoebe Putney Health System was serving 133 coronavirus patients at its three Albany area hospitals and had exceeded its highest patient count since the state’s last major winter COVID-19 surge.

“I can’t understand why – after fighting this war for 18 months, people are still dying and our COVID units are filling seriously ill patients – we still have to work to convince people of the seriousness of our tireless teams. “Every day,” said Scott Steiner, President and CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System, in a statement.

Phoebe posted a video interview with an intensive care doctor, Enrique Lopez, who described harrowing scenes of patients struggling to breathe and asking people to get vaccinated. Only 41% of Georgia’s population is fully vaccinated, well below the national average.

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“The people begging for air would also have liked to have had the vaccine. Trust me. I talked to them, ”says Lopez.

The number of cases in Georgia continued to rise, with the 7-day moving average climbing above 6,000 on Friday, the worst since February 1. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals also rose rapidly, exceeding 4,000 on Friday, as many hospital directors warned they did not have enough beds and staff.

More than 87% of the state’s ICU beds were occupied.

DeKalb County on the Atlanta subway announced Friday that NBA legends Dikembe Mutombo and Dominique Wilkins will attend a vaccination campaign at the gallery at the South DeKalb Mall on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone who gets vaccinated will be given a $ 100 prepaid debit card, district officials said.

In Hall County, north of Atlanta, county employees who get fully vaccinated before the end of September will receive a $ 500 bonus. The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution on Thursday providing for the bonuses.

Schools, meanwhile, continued to struggle with COVID-19 cases. In Burke County outside of Augusta, schools will close for two weeks starting Monday after more than 40 students test positive within a week.

At least five other districts have sent all students home. Fulton County’s superintendent Mike Looney said at a school committee meeting Thursday that the virus could force an end to face-to-face tuition, according to district officials.

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