Georgia care workers alarmed by virus surge

Georgia News

Pro-mask wearing demonstrators stage a protest at the Cobb County School Board Headquarters Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Marietta, Ga. Many school districts nationwide have seen parents protesting for and against masks. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

ATLANTA — Georgia health care workers on Friday expressed increasing alarm and frustration with a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant of the coronavirus amid continuing, scattered efforts to try to increase the state’s low vaccination rate.

“I can’t comprehend why — after fighting this war for 18 months, with people still dying and with critically ill patients filling our COVID units — we’re still having to work to convince people of the seriousness of what our tireless teams are dealing with every day,” Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO Scott Steiner said in a statement.

The health system was caring for 133 coronavirus patients at its three hospitals in the Albany area and had exceeded its highest patient count from the state’s last major COVID-19 surge, which was over the winter.

Georgia’s case count continued to rise, with the seven-day rolling average climbing above 6,000 on Friday, the worst since Feb. 1.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals was also rising rapidly, exceeding 4,000 on Friday even as many hospital executives have warned they don’t have enough beds and staff. More than 87% of the state’s ICU beds were in use.

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