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ATLANTA (CBS46) — Critical care remains in critical condition statewide. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported high COVID transmission levels in all counties and the numbers are staggering.

Dr. Kathleen Toomey spoke candidly during an online meeting with state health officials on Tuesday.

“It has been extremely challenging at every level. I cannot tell you how challenging it has been,” Toomey said.

Since July, state health officials have seen a 20-fold increase in the number of cases, a 13-fold increase in hospitalizations, and a 17-fold increase in deaths.

“Public health workers are exhausted,” Toomey said. “In a study of state and local public health workers done by CDC, 53% of public health workers have reported symptoms of at least one mental health condition. Cling depression, anxiety, or PTSD.”

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About 60% of all COVID outbreaks in the state are now in K-12 schools. And more than 99.9% of all COVID deaths and hospitalizations occurred among unvaccinated people.

Dr. Robin Dretler cares for patients at Emory Decatur Hospital and not only encouraged people to get the COVID vaccine, but also one for the flu and to do it simultaneously.

“Getting your flu vaccine and your COVID vaccine is unquestionably the wise thing to do to protect yourself and your loved ones,” Dretler said. “Flu kills about 60,000 people a year in this country, COVID has killed 660,000 people so far in this country so it seems like a good idea to prevent that.”

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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