Columbus hospitals seeing increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Columbus hospitals seeing increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus hospitals are seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations as there has been a spike of confirmed cases in Muscogee County.

According to Tuesday afternoon’s numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health, 360 people have been hospitalized in Muscogee County as the county passes more than 3,500 confirmed cases.

When the coronaivrus pandemic hit Georgai in March, Columbus did not have much disease activity. But that changed after Memorial Day. This is according to Piedmont Columbus Regional’s chief medical officer, Dr. Chris Edwards, who gave an update on hospitalizations during Monday night’s Muscogee County School Board meeting.

“We’re at our peak numbers as a system and peak numbers in Columbus. So, there are a lot of hospitalizations going on right now and everyday we’re emitting multiple patients with COVID-19,” Edwards said.

Edwards said in the past week to two weeks, they’ve seen a continuation of those hospitalization numbers spiking upward.

“We were near our capacity over the past week, but we’ve been able to manage that. We do have a few ICU beds available and we do have some in-patient beds available,” said Edwards.

Edwards said COVID-19 patients are different than patients they’re used to treating.

“We’ve had to learn that they do need extra monitoring, they need more lab tests done, and they need more specific expertise of the physicians treating them. So, we have, at Piedmont Columbus, we have a team of physicians that’s become expert at treating coronavirus,” he said.

St. Francis Hospital in Columbus also reports a continued increase in hospitalizations with a rise in state-wide and local COVID-19 cases. Becky Young, director of marketing and communications, released this statement:

“...as cases of COVID-19 have increased state-wide and in Muscogee County over the last two months, we are continuing to see an increase in hospitalizations. We monitor hospital capacity within every department multiple times a day, closely tracking critical care capacity in particular and regularly reporting this to the state. It’s very fluid, but we will be rolling out a hospital update soon to help address community questions as our pandemic response evolves. We are continuing to work with regional partners to ensure we are well-coordinated in meeting the varied - and vital - health needs of our patients. I’ll have more information to share with you this week.”

Ben Roberts, director of PR & Communications with Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany, Georgia released this statement about their experience with high hospitalization rates:

“Phoebe is lucky to have good working relationships with hospitals across Georgia. Back in early April when COVID-19 was at its peak in the Albany area, we were grateful that hospitals throughout our region were willing help ensure patients received the level of care they needed by accepting patient transfers when our ICUs were at capacity. Over the last few weeks, we have returned the favor by accepting COVID-19 patients from multiple Georgia hospitals. Individual hospitals have not sent us more than one or two patients each. We will defer to those hospitals to choose whether they will release information about their patient transfers.”

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