By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
COVID surge stressing area hospitals
Southeast Georgia seeing highest hospitalization rate in state

While East Georgia Regional Medical Center is not as overwhelmed with COVID patients as some area hospitals, the 41 patients currently hospitalized at EGRMC continues a trend of admitting more and more patients that began a month ago.

Ted Wynn, Bulloch’s Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency director, said 41 COVID patients were hospitalized on Wednesday at East Georgia, one fewer that Tuesday, but 12 of the patients are on ventilators. On July 7, Wynn reported two COVID patients were hospitalized at EGRMC, with one on a ventilator.

Last week, East Georgia Regional CEO Stephen Pennington said the hospital was nearing capacity for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, but can still accommodate more COVID cases, if necessary, that don’t require critical care.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that 3,818 people are hospitalized across the state, the most in a single day since Feb. 3. On July 3, only 437 COVID patients were in Georgia hospitals. The Department of Health also reported Southeast Georgia had the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID infections than anywhere else in Georgia.

In Liberty County, Donna Cochrane, the chief nursing officer at Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville, said her 25-bed hospital had 33 patients as of Monday morning, many with COVID-19 and eight of whom were being treated in the emergency room.

“The staff is overwhelmed taking care of (the) community, taking care of your family, possibly watching them die,” she said. “This is something we’ve never seen before.”

Dr. Alan Brown, the chief medical officer of Brunswick-based Southeast Georgia Health System, said the system's two hospitals are “completely overwhelmed," treating more COVID-19 patients than they ever have before. Brown said intensive care units are at about twice their capacity and the hospital has canceled elective surgeries.

“It’s lunacy that we are having to drag people out of their own harm’s way and make them realize that the vaccine is going to save their life," Brown said. “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and largely avoidable, and that’s very frustrating and taxing for people that are working hard every day, working long days, working many days without rest.”

Vaccines are readily available at area pharmacies, doctors’ offices, East Georgia Regional Medical Center and the Bulloch County Health Department.


Case numbers

Bulloch County reported 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19 the past two days – 31 on Tuesday and 35 on Wednesday. The county has had 5,744 total cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Georgia confirmed 8,747 new cases the past two days, and the state is now averaging 3,850 new cases a day. Across the nation, the average number of new cases is more than 118,000 per day and deaths have passed 600 per day, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.


Ogeechee Tech

After the Statesboro campus of Ogeechee Technical College reported for the week of July 26-Aug. 1 the second-highest number of new COVID infections for students in a week since the college began tracking cases in August 2020, only one case was reported for the week of Aug. 2-8. Also, no infections were reported for employees that week.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter