SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the Coastal Health District have surpassed 100, according to recent data. Memorial Health officials say the type of patients who need help is changing as the pandemic rages on.
Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Thacker says though cases are dramatically rising in the area, the hospital is nowhere near capacity.
Of 57 patients with coronavirus at Memorial Health, 13 require the use of an ICU bed. Right now, there are a total of 73 ICU beds at the hospital.
Thacker says the number of people who need critical care is not going up, “but the number of patients who still need supportive care has. And thankfully most of those folks have improved quickly and have been able to triage out of the hospital to recover at home,” he said.
Most COVID-19 patients who come into the hospital are experiencing mild pneumonia or shortness of breath. And recently, patients are mostly between the ages of 20 and 40-years-old.
On Wednesday, the Coastal Health District reported hospitalizations topped 102. Two weeks ago, there were 45 hospitalizations. One month ago, there were 26.
“If we continue to go on the approach that it’s not important to use masks, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings when we can, then we’re going to have these ebbs and flows throughout this process until we have a vaccine that’s effective,” said Thacker.
Even with ebbs and flows, Thacker says researchers and doctors have discovered better ways to treat patients with coronavirus. They are now using new anti-viral medications, convalescent plasma and steroids.
“The combination of better knowledge about the disease and better treatment options helps us keep people from getting seriously sick from this and needing to be ventilated in the ICU,” explained Thacker.
If that good news turns bad, the hospital can increase the number of ICU beds to 150. That would require transforming rooms throughout the hospital into patient areas. Thacker says a surge plan may also call for contracting additional staff.
At this point, a surge plan is not necessary to enact. Neither is another restriction on elective surgeries.
“Thinking of others in your family and your community should really be at the forefront at everyone’s decisions,” said Thacker.