Rise in COVID-19 patients pushing limits of CSRA hospitals

A flood of coronavirus patients is starting to push the limits of our local hospitals.
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 5:52 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With more and more COVID-19 patients flooding in, it's starting to push the limits of our local hospitals. That, and dealing with prices rising for drugs to treat the virus.

Augusta University Health says it feels like a bad flu season, just in the summer, if the rate of cases doesn’t keep going up.

But it’s not just an uptick in numbers. It’s filling hospital beds.

“This is not something new. It hasn’t been sprung upon us. It’s disappointing that the numbers are going in the wrong direction,” Laurie Ott of the University Health Care System said.

One June 1, four COVID-19 patients were hospitalized at University Hospital, and Wednesday, that number has risen to 36. Ott says they are all being treated at their Summerville campus.

“We have created negative airflow rooms, negative airflow units at Summerville,” she explained.

There are two dedicated floors and officials say they have plenty of PPE and treatment drugs, like Remdesivir.

AU says they are also in great shape, but they are feeling the change.

“If this had happened in the middle of flu season, or as we were on the tail end of flu season, that would’ve been absolutely disastrous,” Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer of AU Health, said.

Coule says they are in a much better position with supplies and equipment, but they still have 10 patients in their adult ICU.

“We can handle a significant surge. We are getting busy. But we are not at the point right now where we are feeling overwhelmed,” Coule said.

If it does get to that point, AU will put in their surge plan in place and shift some regular units solely to COVID-19

For now, they are seeing less severity with these cases.

“That’s probably because we are seeing more cases in younger patients. Whether or not that trend continues will be critical to what happens moving forward,” Coule said.

At the beginning of the virus, hospitals were asking for donations. But now both AU Health and University Hospital say the support of the community can come through by wearing a mask and social distancing.

Throughout this pandemic, University Hospital has been manufacturing some of their own PPE. They say that is what has put them ahead in the situation they are now.

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