Thanksgiving COVID surge hits Middle Georgia
By Neil B. McGahee
Crisp Regional Hospital has changed its status to divert meaning that when an incoming ambulance radios the hospital to let them know they’re coming, the reply is “sorry, we can’t take them.”
And that isn’t just true at Crisp Regional.
“It’s happening at all area hospitals as the Thanksgiving holiday surge continues to grow,”
Chief Nursing Supervisor April Dukes told the Cordele Lion’s Club Tuesday. “What we are experiencing at our hospital is something else. Nearly every hospital in the state is shut down. In the 30 years I have been doing this, I hope I never see it again.”
“Based on the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases following Thanksgiving, and the threat of another surge following Christmas and New Year’s gatherings, we are in survivor mode. We are trying our best to get from one hour to the next.
“We can’t see emergency cases because the entire ER is filled with COVID cases. When I came to work this morning, there were three empty ER rooms and we usually have16. We are simply overwhelmed.”
The confirmed data at Crisp Regional shows the death rate is increasing sharply in older patients and that is the reason they are getting priority status.
The ratio of people hospitalized to death rates varies by county.
Crisp County has recorded a 2.7 percent death rate; Dodge 4.7; Dooly 3.9; Doroughty, 4.7; Lee 2.8, Sumter 5; Tift 2.4 and Wilcox 6.3 percent.
But there is a glimmer of hope.
The first vaccines have arrived and have been dispensed to first responders, hospital employees and people in nursing homes.
The second shipment is expected any time and it will be dispensed to those 65 and older.
Dukes encouraged people to register with the Crisp County Health Department and be prepared to come on a moment’s notice to get the vaccinations.