COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — As the COVID-19 crisis worsens, one Republican Georgia Congressman is sounding the alarm.
Rep. Drew Ferguson was blunt when asked about the crisis. He says the hospitalization numbers are bad – and getting worse.
“The truth of the matter is we are going to see our fellow Georgians dying in the parking lot of the hospital at some point if we don’t get a handle on this,” Ferguson told WRBL Wednesday morning. “There is only so much capacity. There are only so many beds. We have a shortage of healthcare workers right now. And the last thing we want to see is our fellow Georgians dying in parking lots of the hospital because they can’t get the care they need.”
According to Mayor Skip Henderson’s office, there are 169 people hospitalized today in the two Columbus hospital systems.
That number has been climbing steadily for the last month. On July 18, there were 32 people in Piedmont Columbus Regional and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare.
Ferguson says all you have to do is look at what’s happening in Alabama.
“All you have to do is look across the state line to our neighbors in Alabama,” Ferguson said. “The Alabama Hospital Association said today they are minus-11 on available ICU beds statewide. I know in particular in our rural hospitals; the ICU beds are full right now.”
The concern is real.
“Patients are being converted to other hospitals, but at some point, those are going to fill up as well,” he said. “And I think it is really, really important that people here do the right thing here and get the vaccine and keep themselves safe. And do everything that they can to bring the infection rate down. So, the most vulnerable in our community who need the ICU and intensive care, we need to make sure that capacity is there for them.”
A Piedmont Columbus Regional spokesperson, while not releasing exact numbers, tells WRBL that the overwhelming majority of their patients are not vaccinated.