As hospitals are packed with COVID-19 patients, how do they prepare for an emergency?

ATLANTA — COVID-19 hospitalizations are up across Georgia, but when an emergency like Sunday afternoon’s apartment explosion happens, patients now have to worry about getting the treatment they need.

Four people were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after the explosion, but it could have been many more.

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Lee Gay says that the energy from medical staff at Grady shifted quickly as they began to prepare to receive victims from the explosion.

“They came in my room and said, ‘Hey, we’re taking you out of here, because a building collapsed,’” he recalled to Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln.

Gay says he was admitted Sunday morning after being involved in a car crash in Atlanta’s West End.

He says that prior to the collapse, he was receiving medical service at a moderate pace, but they picked up the pace after the explosion.

“They’re saying I’ll have to go to a primary doctor to get an MRI for the leg because it may still be broken. I said, ‘Well I’m at the hospital, can y’all do that?,’ but I realized what was going on, because they were rushing patients because this building had collapsed, and they needed space,” Gay said.


A medical consultant who has been helping metro hospitals assess and reorganize as COVID-19 cases fluctuate told Lincoln that the volume of patients hospitals are dealing with is a problem.

Currently Grady is reporting an overcrowded Emergency Room.

Statewide, the Georgia Department of Public Health is reporting 73% of beds in the Emergency Room are in use. They also say that 85% of hospital beds are occupied.

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Patients say making the decision to go Emergency Rooms that are experiencing a surge of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients is daunting, but even scarier to know that trauma patients needing medical attention may be rushed in.

“I think a lot of people are going to passing away,” one woman who did not want to be identified told Lincoln. “A lot of people are going to be affected financially and in all kinds of ways and all we got now is prayer.”