Savannah seeing increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC sat down with St. Joseph’s/Candler Health Systems CEO about what they are seeing in this new surge of COVID-19 cases.

CEO Paul Hinchey compared the pandemic to a marathon. He says the past month they got a chance to catch their breath, but now they are sprinting yet again as they see more and more people hospitalized with COVID-19.

“We’ve got 59 in here today. 77 percent of them, and that’s what we’ve been averaging, are unvaccinated. 23 percent have been vaccinated. The ones that are COVID positive now that have been vaccinated have very serious immunity compromised systems,” said Hinchey.

Paul Hinchey says of those who are vaccinated in the hospital, several have pre-existing conditions including hypertension and obesity. He says the vaccine is still something he recommends for everyone.

“You’re not going to avoid getting sick with the vaccine. It’s not going to happen, just like you don’t get, avoid getting the flu when you get the flu shot, but the situations are mitigated when one does get that. If you come down with a positive rate your mortality is dramatically decreased and your rebounding is going to be faster.”

He says right now in the hospital the average age of a COVID patient is 54, which has dropped since the start of the pandemic. He also says they are seeing a lower death rate and shorter hospital stay. But they are seeing an increase in the need for COVID testing and one in four of those tests are coming back positive. While he says they have enough PPE, beds and staff to help, the leader is concerned for his frontline workers.

“It’s their emotional health, their physical health school is starting again and that’s who I am really thinking about. We will be able to take care of the public, but you know these caregivers the rubberband on them has been stretched and that’s what I’m really thinking about more than anything.”

Remember how Mr. Hinchey compared the pandemic to a marathon - well he says the best way to support our healthcare heroes is to get vaccinated so they can catch their breath again.

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