70% increase in COVID hospitalizations at Savannah hospitals in just one week

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb at three hospitals in Savannah.

There are 140 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, Aug. 3; that’s 11 more than the day before and a 70 percent increase from just one week ago.

According to Georgia Geospatial Data, our region with about 16 hospitals has reached a little more than 90 percent of the capacity for ICU and ER beds.

At Memorial on Tuesday, they have 76 COVID patients - that’s just two away from their peak back in January.

Dr. Stephen Thacker, the associate chief medical officer at Memorial Health, says right now they are serving patients in traditional spaces and do not need to add any alternative care environments.

He does say the nursing workforce challenges across the country are also felt in Savannah, so they are getting help where they can from contract companies and more. He says because of the volume of patients they are seeing; it’s not only forcing Memorial staff to work hard but diligently think about the throughput of the hospital and how they move patients.

Dr. Thacker admits these numbers are a challenge.

“We’re definitely bumping up to the constraints of just the number of patients that need care in the region with the number of beds that we have you know balancing that with the amount of staffing that we have. We continue to make sure that we’re providing the safest care possible. While we’re not necessarily at a significant tipping point right now at this time, but it’s definitely something that’s got us worried and paying attention,” Dr. Thacker said.

Dr. Thacker said it’s still early on in this surge and he predicts we’ll see two to three more weeks of cases rising and says it’s clear the COVID-19 pandemic is not over.

Dr. Thacker was asked if there is anything people can do to help healthcare workers as we see cases increase?

He said we all have a role in this pandemic, and we can’t take that lightly.

“Our community needs to really recognize that they have a role in this as well and what bed access looks like, so you know masking in public, not being a new case of COVID-19 that needs to come through the doors and pursing vaccination. Because while that won’t change our bed status right now it will help us have more beds available in the region in the future,” Dr. Thacker said.

Dr. Thacker says masking can have an immediate effect and it’s important we recall some of the other early advice such as social distancing and hand washing.

WTOC did also reach out to the St Joseph’s/Candler Health System to check on their patient capacity. Leaders said they are very busy, but they have the flexibility to add beds and adjust their space if needed.

Officials say a majority of those they are seeing the ER now are for COVID concerns and can discharge those who are well with a treatment plan. But they have a total of 64 patients hospitalized with COVID on Tuesday.

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