GEMA considers setting up temporary hospitals in fight against coronavirus

GEMA considers setting up temporary hospitals in fight against coronavirus

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has learned that Georgia is looking at the possibility of temporary hospitals and even looking at the Georgia World Congress Center as an option.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke with Homer Bryson, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, who said the state’s response to the coronavirus crisis is a team effort.

“We do everything we can every day. And when I go home at night I know I’ve done everything I can for the people of the state,” Bryson said.

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“Are there plans in consideration to build temporary hospitals?” Winne asked Bryson.

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“Yes. We’ve got a number of different plans. We’re being very aggressive in how we’re looking at this. We’re having daily conversations with hospitals about what changes in regulations can do. We’re looking at mobile modular units that could be associated alongside those hospitals. We’re looking at big facilities, the World Congress Center,” Bryson said.

“Do you go in and build a facility in there?” Winne asked Bryson.

Bryson said he talks to Gov. Brian Kemp multiple times a day, and the governor has been very hands-on regarding the state’s response to the virus.

He told Winne that a top priority for the state is getting the appropriate equipment that hospitals and first responders need to battle the disease. Getting ventilators is his biggest challenge, along with finding enough testing kits for Georgia patients.

“The allocation that’s been coming to Georgia has been not where we would like it, to be honest, and that’s getting better,” Bryson said.

He said the struggle to get masks and personal protective gear is improving.

“We’re turning over rocks. We are working to find masks, gowns,” Bryson said.

GEMA says the Georgia Department of Public Health is the major driver of the state response, and big responsibility rests in the hopefully well-washed hands of Georgia citizens.

“Stay home and watch TV. Stay on the couch and let this pass,” Bryson said.

“Should the state be doing more to order that?” Winne asked Bryson.

“If anybody who has been listening over the last few weeks hasn’t figured out that they need to be doing that, then I don’t know that the order would make a difference for those folks,” Bryson said.