East Georgia Regional Medical Center doubles coronavirus patient count in 4 days

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STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – A statewide spike in coronavirus cases is putting a strain on both urban and rural areas. In Bulloch County, East Georgia Regional Medical Center is seeing a steady stream of patients. Right now, the hospital is treating 18 coronavirus patients.

“We’re used to having to respond to these kinds of situations,” said CEO Stephen Pennington of the hospital’s extensive experience with major hurricanes and bad flu seasons.

In the age of coronavirus, “we have protocols, but they’re changing more rapidly than normal,” explained Pennington. “And that creates stress and I think we need to acknowledge that. but keep in mind that we need to remain positive.”

Of 18 coronavirus patients at the hospital, a spokesperson says nine were hospitalized in the last four days. Six of those patients are using ventilators.

20 of 24 critical care beds are in use right now. Many of those patients are at the hospital for issues not related to coronavirus. Pennington says the hospital has nine additional transitional beds and they can make room for ten more if they need.

“Sometimes they need critical care, sometimes they’re at a lower level of care …we fluctuate based on those needs,” said Pennington.

Pennington says the hospital has enough staff to take care of each patient. Some staff members have had to quarantine, but he says tracking cases has been relatively easy. He says it has also been easy to move staff around to help with clinical operations.

“We kinda thought we’d be past this, but it keeps going on, so that’s probably the biggest challenge,” said Pennington.

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