More relief is on the way for hospitals working to stay ahead of the increasing coronavirus numbers in Georgia.
State officials are reopening an exhibit hall inside the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) to serve as a temporary hospital. Governor Brian Kemp toured the facility, which will house 60 additional beds and be fully staffed, Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re continuing to follow-up on other avenues we have for bed space not only in the metro area but other parts of the state,” Kemp said.
The facility is taking shape as Georgia is averaging around 4,800 new coronavirus cases and, at least, 40 deaths daily. ICU beds in use across the Peach State were also at 88% percent as of Tuesday, according to state data.
Conditions are so challenging, some hospitals have even warned of rationing care.
The number of COVID patients in our hospitals has doubled in less than a month and we’re reaching a breaking point,” said Dr. Clifton Hastings, chief of medical staff at Northeast Georgia Health System.
Governor Kemp said the extra space at the convention center will free up hospitals so they can continue to offer other types of care.
“We want to be able to help provide support so that they, if at all possible, can continue doing these types of treatments to get all Georgians care, whether they have COVID or not,” Kemp said. “That is our goal in this, but we also need our citizens to be a part of the solution, not the problem.”
The governor added that it’s not all bad in the fight against the virus in the Georgia.
The state now has an 80-day supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, who continue to administer more than 400,000 doses of the vaccines to Georgia’s most vulnerable.
“They see light at the end of tunnel,” Kemp said.
Grady Hospital is helping staff the temporary facility at the GWCC. They’re expected to start accepting patients by Thursday, according to the governor.