MACON, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp came to Macon Wednesday morning to visit the Medical Center, Navicent Health.
He toured the $3 million temporary medical unit on the hospital’s campus.
It was placed as a preventive measure by GEMA in early May to treat extra patients, if there is an overflow due to COVID-19.
President and CEO of Navicent Dr. Ninfa Saunders kicked off the ceremony and thanked all partners involved in constructing the unit.
She said they have not needed the unit yet, but staff is still working hard “to provide high-quality care for all Georgians through this pandemic.”
Saunders said the hospital has seen fewer patients testing positive and fewer needing hospitalization.
Mayor Robert Reichert also spoke before introducing Kemp, saying the unit is much-needed because of Macon’s central location.
Kemp took to the podium and took off his mask before speaking.
He thanked local government for making the unit possible and the healthcare workers hustling to treat COVID-19 patients every day.
A FUTURE INVESTMENT
He said the temporary medical units are “impressive facilities” owned by the state.
While Navicent has yet to admit its first patient into the unit, Kemp said they’re still a great investment for future crises.
“We don’t just have them for today.... we're going to have them for a long time," he said.
He cited the pipe burst at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital in December, which wiped out some of its floors. He said these pods would be at the ready to provide space to hospitals in events like those.
They’ll also be ready for any natural disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes.
THE ECONOMY AND TESTING EFFORTS
He went on to say Georgia is battling both COVID-19 and slow economy. He said they’ll continue to fight the virus, but the economy needs to be “reinvigorated.”
Even though there are some signs Georgia’s COVID-19 curve could be going back up, Kemp said depending on what models you look at, some show that we are already past our peak.
"Our numbers continue to look really good in Georgia, which is why we made the decision a little over a month ago to reopen our economy," he said.
He said his administration will continue to open Georgia in a “methodical” way, while working with medical professionals to figure out what’s best.
Testing efforts have continued to ramp up in the state, according to Kemp.
He said it took eight weeks to test 2% of the population, but in the last two weeks they've tested more than 2%.
In regards to a possible second wave of COVID-19 later in the year, Kemp said he is confident Georgians will continue to follow guidelines.
"We can't keep fighting the virus from our living room," he said.
He ended by asking people to continue to be smart and seek medical help if you are feeling unwell.
"We just have to continue to use common sense,” he said.
Kemp also visited Irving Consumer Products off Allen Road around 10:30 a.m. and will head to Columbus in the afternoon.
13WMAZ Reporter Zach Merchant will have more on Kemp's Macon visit at 5 and 6 p.m.
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