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Dawson ES warns of potential changes with local hospitals nearing full capacity
firetruck 3
Fire Station 3’s new firetruck sits outside its apparatus bay before the ceremony begins. - photo by Jessica Taylor

Throughout the past few days, local hospitals started notifying Dawson County Emergency Services that their emergency rooms are nearing full capacity.

“There’s a trickle-down effect that happens for us now,” Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson said. “Once we contact a hospital they would let us know if they are in diversion, or a full emergency room.

“We then ask the patient under our transportation and care if they are willing to go to a different hospital. If not, there will be extended wait times at their preferred location or even a chance of still having to change hospitals if the patient requires admittance.

Thompson clarified that even under diversion, Dawson ES will still drive a patient to their hospital of choice, but that those different roadblocks might be present once arriving, which would result in longer transport times.

As of last week, Northside Forsyth is at 83.8 percent capacity and Northeast Georgia Medical Center Lumpkin is at 51.5 percent capacity, according to

Dawson ES posted on their Facebook account to spread the word about the potential changes to their daily services.

The rise in hospital capacity is due in part to spiking COVID-19 cases throughout the metro-Atlanta area. According to the Department of Public Health website, COVID-19 cases in Dawson County have continued to go up from the beginning to the end of July 2021, with 10 confirmed cases between July 17 and July 23 and 36 confirmed cases between July 24 and July 30. According to the website, Dawson County has seen a total of 2,833 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date.

“The Delta is a variant of the COVID-19, it’s not a new different COVID,” Dr. Larry Anderson, chairman for the Dawson County Health Board and physician at Anderson Family Medicine said. “It has to do with the proteins that are on the virus; it mutates a little bit.”