ATLANTA, Georgia (CBS46) – As more cases of COVID-19 are reported across Georgia, more people are being admitted to hospital.
More than 25% of all hospital patients in Georgia hospitals are being treated for the coronavirus, a number that has not been seen since September. As of Thursday, 4,423 people were in state hospitals with COVID-19.
“We are in the midst of our most serious outbreak we have ever seen,” said Dr Robert Jansen, medical director of Grady’s health care system.
He said the hospital is seeing a record number of people requiring admission.
“At one point a few days ago we had 100 people in the ER waiting for beds upstairs and it’s just an untenable situation; we couldn’t take more patients at that point, ”Jansen said.
“It has really stressed us to the limit. We have more patients now than we have ever had at any given time.”
He said Grady’s beds were at full capacity and around 40% of patients were being treated for COVID. Jansen said between 70 and 75 percent of patients had not been vaccinated.
The Omicron variant looks different in infected people than in previous outbreaks.
“We are seeing less COVID-related pneumonia, which we have seen with previous variants. What we are really seeing is that Omicron seems to make people moderately sick, but it exacerbates their underlying disease,” he said. he explained.
Jansen said there were fewer people on ventilators and in need of intensive care than in recent months.
“But what worries me is that as the numbers continue to rise, that could change,” he said.
He said tired and frustrated staff members continue to show up to do their jobs when they are not sick themselves.
“Our staff are vaccinated but they are still infected, usually with very mild symptoms, but when infected they have to say at home. It has exasperated the shortage we were already experiencing,” he said.
“We see very few fully vaccinated people coming to the hospital and requiring hospitalization. Most of the people who have been vaccinated have not received their third injection when they need to be hospitalized and they have usually been vaccinated early, in the first or second quarter of 2021, “Jansen said.” The other thing we see with people who are vaccinated is that people with underlying diseases seem to be the sickest. “
“This concept that vaccines will absolutely protect you from infection is not true, but they will protect you from serious illness,” he said.
Pediatric hospitals are also seeing an increasing number of people linked to COVID.
Atlanta Children’s Health Care had 114 patients hospitalized Thursday with COVID-19, up from 62 on December 28 and 22 on December 21. The majority have at least one underlying medical condition.
“We are drowning in COVID cases,” said Dr. Keyana Washington of Gwinnett Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
She said most cases in children are mild, but their office is overwhelmed with visits from infants to teens.
“What worries me the most is the fact that it’s so contagious, it just exploded,” Washington said.
She said: “I’m afraid there is a problem with kids staying in school both because of a contagious problem and because of a staff problem.”
She urged everyone to wear a mask and say home and get tested if you have symptoms.
Atlanta Fire Department Chief Roderick M. Smith said the virus was also infecting their firefighters.
He released this statement:
“The current pandemic has caused significant staffing issues across the country, and the public safety community is not immune to these conditions. Despite the lack of significant change in response time or services, the latest outbreak had a negative impact on AFRD.
Atlanta Fire is encouraged by support from the Mayor’s office, updated mask requirements, and changes to CDC guidelines. With the support of the dedicated men and women who serve, AFRD will continue to respond as quickly as possible to the call of its citizens during their time of need. “