Local hospitals battle omicron and staffing shortages

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 11:27 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Locally, COVID cases are continuing to climb, and that’s having an impact on our hospitals.

The number of cases among health care workers throughout the state has also increased, and Doctors Hospital is feeling the strain.

Like all our local hospitals, Doctors Hospital is continuing to see positive COVID-19 cases climb.

“It’s been pretty steady, we have seen a lot of people testing positive,” said Dr. John Farr, chief medical officer at the hospital.

The latest numbers released by the Georgia Department of Public Health show an increase of 336 cases in Columbia County from Jan. 1-7.

In Richmond County, it is an increase of 763 cases from Jan. 1-7.

That data is only for PCR tests, which have a couple of days’ lag time, and it doesn’t include the past two weeks.

Farr says these numbers are higher than what we saw in the last COVID surge.

“The positivity rate is certainly higher for the tests than it was for the delta variant,” he said.

And along with more positive patients than ever are more positive staffers than ever.

“We are seeing a lot more staff out this time, so we’re still being challenged with the fact of increased patient load while decreased staff load,” said Farr.

Health leaders are hopeful this surge will come to an end soon as the CDC predicts the peak being the middle of the month, but nothing is certain.

“You obviously don’t know exactly where the peak is going to occur until you’ve actually seen the downside of it,” said Farr.

However, this variant slowing down is not completely out of the question.

“I think it’s very reasonable to assume and maybe hope, that the surge is probably the peak. If we’re not in it, we’re certainly within the weeks away,” he said.

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