Metro hospitals seeing fewer coronavirus patients than expected as peak nears

ATLANTA — There is some encouraging news as some metro Atlanta hospitals are seeing fewer coronavirus patients than some models first predicted.

They are still seeing an increase in patients with the virus. Doctors believe people following the stay-at-home order and practicing social distancing is making a difference in lessening the volume.

A week ago, they had 50 coronavirus patients at Grady Memorial Hospital. On Friday they have about 70.

Grady’s chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Jansen, says he’s cautiously optimistic. He thinks social distancing is paying off.

Grady Memorial Hospital, Georgia’s largest hospital, has prepared for weeks for the virus’s peak. Models project it will be sometime within the next nine days.

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Lower numbers of coronavirus patients means not being overwhelmed by a big surge and has allowed front-line health workers to even better handle the pandemic.

Jansen said the hospital staff has been able to learn what they have to do and do it safely. He says that benefits the staff and the patients.

At Emory University Hospital, they are also seeing fewer coronavirus patients than feared. That means the sickest patients with the virus can get more critical care.

Dr. Carlos del Rio, an Emory University Global Health professor, says they’ve learned at Emory and in other places that those patients take a lot of people to take care of them.

Del Rio said cases continue to increase in Georgia in part because of increased testing. The peak is not here yet.

Doctors say they know how hard it is for people to stay home but want to give a big thank-you to everyone.