HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Doctors in Hall County said they are seeing their fourth wave of COVID-19 patients at area hospitals.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas was at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Monday, where the number of COVID-19 patients has again hit the triple digits in the past few weeks.
The number of COVID-19 cases being treated in the system’s four hospitals jumped from as low as 13 in mid-July to 110 on August 2. Dr. Deepak Aggarwal also said the positivity rate has doubled.
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“85% of COVID patients in the hospitals are not vaccinated,” Aggarwal said.
The average age of patients is 60, but doctors say the youngest patient treated in the last two weeks was 18.
Hall County was one of Georgia’s original COVID-19 hot spots. Last January, the hospitals had 355 COVID-19patients. The state brought in extra mobile medical units that are still in use today.
This surge is not as high, but doctors predict it will get worse.
“The peak is going to be the first week of September,” Aggarwal said. “That’s what the current models show.”
Aggarwal said he understands people are tired of masks, but doctors are tired too. The stress is also increasing on nurses, according to NGMC’s executive director of medical nursing, Elizabeth Larkins.
“Many of them tell me they don’t know if they can take another surge,” Larkins said.
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Paula Cantrell pulled up to NGMC Monday, hoping to both get tested for COVID-19 and get vaccinated.
“Oh I’m worried about it real bad, because I have grandkids,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell said the new variant caught her by surprise.
Doctors said all they can do now is plead with everyone to get vaccinated, and reiterate that the vaccines work, despite breakthrough cases.
“Getting vaccinated will not guarantee you won’t get COVID,” Dr. Erine Raybon-Rojas said. “But they key thing is getting vaccinated dramatically protects you from severe infection, reducing the chance you will die from COVID or be hospitalized.”
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