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Cots being set up in gym as NGHS seeks more space for surging number of COVID patients
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Northeast Georgia Medical Center's mobile COVID-19 unit on Oct. 15, 2020. - photo by Thomas Hartwell

Northeast Georgia Health System is preparing an overflow treatment space as it hit another new record Dec. 9 of COVID-19 positive patients.

The system was treating 217 COVID-19 patients on Wednesday, Dec. 9, its highest number since the pandemic began and the fourth day over 200 in a week’s time. At its Braselton and Barrow hospitals, no beds were open Wednesday. Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville had 24 available beds, with only one bed in the intensive care unit available and another 100 occupied. 


Dr. Clifton Hastings, chief of medical staff at NGMC, said patients who are less critical can sometimes be transferred to the Barrow or Lumpkin hospitals. The system is preparing an overflow treatment space in a gym at Laurelwood, a mental health facility on the NGMC Gainesville campus, Hastings said. About 25 to 30 cots will be moved in to Laurelwood, and that space will hopefully open next week, Hastings said.

“We are seeing the surge that was predicted. We are weathering it but we really don’t have any capacity at this point,” Hastings said on a call with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. “We’re just making do. … It’s a pretty significant situation that we’re dealing with.”

NGMC Gainesville already has a mobile unit near its North Tower with 20 beds. The Gainesville and Braselton hospitals have tents outside for extra treatment space. 

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, Hall County has seen 13,471 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and 1,412 of those cases have been reported within the past two weeks.

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