Coronavirus

Coronavirus Updates: Georgia Sees Dramatic Rise In Hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Statewide, health officials released data Wednesday showing that 82% of Georgia's critical care beds are in use, although not every patient in a critical care bed has COVID-19.
Statewide, health officials released data Wednesday showing that 82% of Georgia's critical care beds are in use, although not every patient in a critical care bed has COVID-19.
Credit Eric Gay / Associated Press
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With 82% of Georgia’s critical care beds now in use, health systems across the state say they’re quickly nearing capacity as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.

In the Albany area, one of the state’s hardest-hit regions early on in the virus’s spread, hospitalizations are climbing dramatically once again, Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Scott Steiner said Thursday.

In all of June, 47 COVID-19 patients were admitted to the hospital in Albany in southwest Georgia, Steiner said. In just the first eight days of July, 37 have already been admitted.

“Our daily average is up almost threefold so far this month,” Steiner said in an update Thursday.

“It is clear transmission of the virus is picking up throughout Georgia and much of the country,” he added.

In Middle Georgia, Navicent Health has seen a dramatic rise this week in COVID-19 patients who needed to be hospitalized, particularly at The Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon.

In metro Atlanta, Emory Healthcare said hospitalizations of its confirmed COVID-19 patients have more than tripled in the past 14 days.

Atlanta’s mayor on Wednesday signed an executive order mandating masks, defying Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision not to require face coverings.

Statewide, health officials released data Wednesday showing that 82% of Georgia’s critical care beds are in use, although not every patient in a critical care bed has COVID-19. One of Kemp’s prime goals has been to avoid overloading hospitals, which could lead to much worse outcomes.

Some parts of the state have far fewer critical care beds available. In three of the state’s 14 hospital regions, fewer than 6% of critical care beds were available, including Athens, Valdosta and Atlanta’s northwest suburbs.

According to state health officials, more than 106,870 people in Georgia have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 2,930 people in the state have died after contracting the virus as of Thursday.

Atlanta To Provide Relief For Some Renters

Atlanta will dedicate millions in federal dollars to renters affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pandemic has led to record job losses around the state, and Atlanta officials estimate 16,000 households could fall short on rent.

Council members, this week, approved funding to help prevent that from happening. The city will spend $22 million from Congress on rent relief.

The United Way of Greater Atlanta will administer the funds.

Once the program is up and running, tenants will have to call 211. If they qualify, they can get up to $1,000 for three months.

The city said the program will only go so far in meeting the expected need. The money likely will cover less than 7,000 Atlanta households.

Another Braves Player Opts Out Of Season

Braves veteran outfielder Nick Markakis has become the latest player to opt-out of the 20-20 season due to increased concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Markakis is the second veteran Atlanta player in two days to announce plans to sit out the 60-game season, following right-hander Felix Hernandez.

The 36-year-old Markakis says he was uneasy about playing without fans in the stands. But his final decision came after a phone conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman, who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has a fever and other symptoms.

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