ATLANTA — COVID-19 patients now account for over a quarter of all the hospitalized patients in Georgia, according to state data.
At least 4,271 people are in Georgia hospitals battling the virus.
In far southeast Georgia, COVID-19 patients account for over 50% of hospitalized patients.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Across the state, 88% of ICU beds are currently occupied, 75% of emergency room beds are full and 83% of regular inpatient beds are taken.
A doctor with the Phoebe Putnam hospital system in Albany gave a sobering look this week at the strain on Georgia hospitals.
- Police say ‘person of interest’ in woman’s kidnapping, shooting death to be charged with her murder
- Metro Atlanta school districts report over 4,000 cases of COVID-19 in first weeks
- Clayton County police trying to locate mom and kids missing for 2 months
Dr. Enrique Lopez, a surgical intensivist, said even he was not prepared for what he saw on a COVID-19 wing at Phoebe North. In a sobering video released on YouTube, Lopez described a the horror he felt the moment he got off the elevator.
“There were a lot of yellow gowns. And I saw a pastor who was entering a room. And I knew what was happening in that moment,” Lopez said.
Lopez said that the Delta variant is different and he is seeing patients as young as their 30s who have no underlying medical conditions hospitalized.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
“These people are drowning. And it is an awful thing to see.,” Lopez said. “They would sit there just starving for air. Just begging to breathe. It was so different than it was last time.”
Lopez said the virus is also making children sicker than before and pediatric ICUs are filling up.
Lopez is encouraging people to get vaccinated, not just for themselves, but their family members.
“If this vaccine would give me even the smallest chance to not bring this thing into my house and hurt the people I love, it’s a no brainer to me,” Lopez said.
©2021 Cox Media Group