Coronavirus hospitalizations have more than doubled in last 2 weeks

ATLANTA — Local hospitals are seeing a surge in new patients just weeks after Channel 2 Action News reported that hospitalizations were way down.

Channel 2′s Carol Sbrage was outside Grady Memorial Hospital, where Chief Medical Officer Robert Jansen said the the last two weeks, hospitalizations have more than doubled.

"Since that time, we were in the low twenties," Jansen said. "We've tripled that number. Not quite as high as we were in the peak in early, mid-May, but we are rapidly approaching that."

Jansen said he thinks it's because restrictions have loosened up. He's seen fewer people wearing masks and social-distancing.

Jansen said he thinks mandatory masks would make a big difference and stop the growing community spread Georgia is seeing.

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Wednesday that she plans to sign an executive order mandating masks in the city.

“It’s kind of like wearing a seatbelt,” Jansen said. “You wear a seatbelt when you drive to protect yourself and others. That’s what we need to do with wearing masks. To me, it’s social responsibility, and it really isn’t about political rights or anything or infringing on somebody’s rights.”

Jansen said that while numbers of coronavirus patients in the Intensive Car Unit are down, the actual numbers of patients in the hospitals are up because more people are getting the virus.

"The stress it puts on the hospital systems, the medical systems, is significant," Jansen said. "And that is increasing, not decreasing."

Sbarge asked Jansen how they determine if someone needs to be hospitalized.

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“One of the biggest factors is what they oxygen content is, so we measure the oxygen,” Jansen said. “If it’s low, they need admission in all likelihood.”

Jansen said the hospital's supply of personal protective equipment and the treatment drug Remdisivir are good.

In addition to Remdisivir, Jansen said there is another treatment they’ve been getting positive results from.

“The one therapy that has come up is the use of corticosteroids in people who have respiratory distress, and that is very effective as well,” Jansen said. “The studies are pretty definitive about that and we do use that as part of a treatment protocol now.”