Savannah doctor on rising COVID hospitalizations, pediatric cases

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - This week marked a tie for the third highest total of COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

While that number declined Friday, they are expecting to continue seeing increased numbers.

Memorial Health’s Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Thacker was asked if this was the time to raise alarm for people in our community.

“Uh, certainly I think we’re probably past that point honestly. This is a time where we can expect COVID-19 cases to rise continually for at least the foreseeable next few weeks,” Dr. Thacker said.

Local hospitals continue to treat more patients hospitalized because of COVID-19. Leaders at Memorial Health say they are seeing an average patient age of about 50 and some are having shorter stays. They have ten less patients Friday than the day before.

“Now, that number sounds good, but it still doesn’t reflect the challenges of this illness. These are people that are no longer infectious, but we still have many individuals who are still admitted, still recovering from their illness, but they are no longer listed as a COVID-19 admission at this time,” Dr. Thacker said.

Dr. Thacker says at the Children’s hospital they have seen a slight uptick in pediatric admissions with five in a single day but say the next day it was down to two. He says we still have a lot to learn about how the Delta variant impacts children.

“There’s worry that children will be more impacted by this variant of COVID-19 than prior ones and they are, they may be more likely to have infection and they may very well be more likely to have symptoms that lead to them needing either care in their primary care office or in the uncommon scenario needing hospitalization,” Dr. Thacker said.

In light of this recent surge, Dr. Thacker says it is critical caregivers consider their children.

“There are over one million kids in the US who have lost a primary care giver whether it’s their mom, their dad, their grandma, auntie- the person that takes care and is responsible for their child over a million, well over a million of children in the US have lost that person. And that impact at this point in the pandemic is something that I believe is vaccine preventable and so if I am a parent, and I am not vaccinated I need to think really hard about what it means to be there for my child as they grow older and make sure that I am making the right decision for myself, but also for them,” Dr. Thacker said.

Dr. Thacker says the hospital has staff and PPE to handle COVID right now but do have contingency plans in place should they continue to see a rise in hospitalizations.

As hospitals continue to handle high volumes of patients, they say you can help them by begin vaccinated and wearing your mask to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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