Augusta hospitals full as COVID-19 cases rise


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Hospitals in Augusta are reaching their limits as COVID-19 cases increase in the area. In the last month, the number of patients admitted to all three area hospitals have increased significantly.

“The number of patients is obviously an additional strain on the system,” Dr. Phillip Coule, Augusta University Health System’s Chief Medical Officer, said.

Coule of Augusta University and Rebecca Sylvester of University Hospital tell NewsChannel 6 their hospitals are full. They say both facilities currently have enough supplies, but they worry their resources could become strained.

“I am concerned that the nationwide peak in cases may produce some additional stress on the system that could cause some supply chain interruptions,” Coule said.

Augusta University has had to delay elective surgeries to free up bed space. But, the impact of these full hospitals may be most evident in healthcare workers. Coule said AU has “not had to make any emergency staffing plans yet,” but the pandemic takes a huge toll on healthcare workers each day.

“The stress that’s placed on them from the length of time this pandemic has gone on is certainly wearing on the staff, both emotionally and physically

Coule said it’s still too early to know how the Thanksgiving holiday will affect local case numbers and hospitalizations. NewsChannel 6 spoke with him a week after Thanksgiving. He said it will take a few weeks to understand the holiday’s complete impact.

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