ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Strained hospitals across Georgia are gearing up to send COVID-19 patients to the Georgia World Congress Center where a new and improved temporary hospital is re-opening August 3.

Dr. Robert Jansen, Grady Hospital's Chief Medical Officer/Chief of Staff, told CBS46 that the hospital has exceeded bed capacity as more COVID-19 patients flow in. 

"We have seen a tremendous increase in cases over the last several weeks,” Jansen told CBS46 reporter Hayley Mason.

While Grady is still down 200 beds because of a December flood in their building, they are not alone in seeing patient surge.

"Right now we are running at about 105% capacity, which means we have patients that we have placed in either the hallways in the emergency department which is called boarding. We’ve also opened up some sort of non-traditional sites to take care of patients,” Jansen said. 

Friday morning, Governor Brian Kemp’s office announced the COVID-19 hospital site inside the Georgia World Congress Center will partner with Grady which will coordinate the patient transfers all over the state. 

“As this second wave of patients has occurred it has really stressed every hospital in the state,” Jansen said. “Everybody is running almost at full capacity when I talk to my colleagues across the city, and when I talk to my colleagues across the state. Everybody is in a similar situation."

The GWCC will open Monday with 60 beds and then increase gradually up to 120 beds. It will offer more medical treatments this time, just shy of critical care.

“They can give IV fluids, oxygen therapy, drugs such as Remdesivir which we use in COVID-19 patients, Dexamethasone. It’s a much more robust medical unit than it was the first time,” Jansen added.

Grady Hospital went from having 20 COVID-19 patients a day in mid-June to having 100 at once. On Friday, Jansen said Grady has 88 COVID-19 patients in part because they transferred some to Piedmont Hospital, which has a COVID-19 ward. Piedmont’s spokesperson told Mason Friday that they have enough space for COVID-19 patients at present.

Jansen said Grady officials are preparing to send around 20 of its patients to the GWCC as soon as the healthcare providers there are able to care for them. Transfers will be prioritized at hospitals with the most limited bed capacity.

The state is staffing through a third-party contractor, Jansen said.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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