Gwinnett County

COVID hospitalizations up again but stay times are going down, doctors say

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The rate of hospitalization across the state because of COVID-19 went up again Wednesday, but health officials said patients don’t seem to be staying as long at some local hospitals.

Doctors told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes that the initial surge of the virus took everyone by surprise, so doctors and nurses were learning as they went along.

But now they’ve got some experience with COVID-19 patients and have a much more efficient way of treating them.

“We called this second surge the Memorial Day Effect,” said Eastside Medical Center CEO Trent Lind.

After the holiday, COVID numbers started to go up in Georgia and many hospitals started running out of beds and equipment.


Right now, about 88% of critical care beds in Georgia hospitals are in use.

In Gwinnett County, a virus hotspot, cases are climbing fast.

“Even though we’re trying to re-enter the world, we have to do it in a safe way and in a way that protects each other,” Lind said.

If we don’t, health officials say the metro will be right back where we were when we had to quarantine in our homes in March.

“In our ICU, we have 48 total intensive care beds. Half of those are COVID-occupied beds,” Lind said.

Doctors say the patients are younger than they were before.

Lind told Fernandes that despite all the bed and equipment shortages, there’s one positive thing when you compare this second surge of the virus to the first.

“We’ve seen a lower length of stay with this run of patients that have been in house,” Lind said.

That’s because medical professionals have some experience now with what works and what doesn’t.

“Those initial safety tips still apply especially as we’re re-entering the world and trying to get into this new norm. We have to be as cautious as ever and follow the guidance,” Lind said.