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'It's a little frustrating': COVID-19 cases double at Central Georgia hospitals in 4th surge of pandemic

Local hospitals say they're unable to track the number of Delta variant cases.

MACON, Ga. — Several Central Georgia hospitals say their COVID-19 cases have doubled in the past week.

They're calling it a new surge of the coronavirus.

Inside Piedmont Macon Medical Centers, health officials say we're currently in our fourth surge of the pandemic.

During the last week of July and the first week of August, Piedmont Macon's CEO Stephen Daugherty says they've been watching their COVID-19 numbers double.

"Right now, 90-plus percent of the patients that have tested positive for COVID have not been vaccinated, so it truly is a pandemic of the unvaccinated at this point," Daugherty said. "It's a little frustrating that we haven't overcome the myths, but our job as healthcare professionals is to continue to educate people and inform them, and ultimately, it's an individual decision. I just feel for those families that lose loved ones because of a choice to not be vaccinated."

The Medical Center, Atrium Health Navicent has 70 COVID-19 patients Tuesday -- last Tuesday, they had 32.

Houston Medical has 63 this week, compared to 31 last Tuesday; and Fairview Park Hospital has 23, just one more than last week.

Local hospitals say they're unable to track the number of Delta variant cases.

Daugherty said, "We don't have the ability onsite to do that type of delineation. That's done on a state level. They test a certain percentage of all the positives they get and that's how they derive what variant is in our population."

In the worst case scenario, Daugherty says they have a surge plan in place for boosting staff and making sure they have all the resources in places.

However, so far, they don't need it.

"Just like we implemented last year, I always hope we won't need that, but we are prepared and our staff is prepared if the time comes," Daugherty said.

At this time, all four hospitals say elective surgeries are continuing as planned.

However, Fairview Park Hospital says they've run out of ICU beds.

Now, ICU beds are available at Houston and Piedmont.

When it comes to visitation policies, each hospital varies.

Non-COVID-19 patients at Piedmont Macon can have two visitors anytime from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Piedmont Macon ER patients can only have one visitor.

Piedmont COVID-19 patients cannot have visitors, but can schedule a tele-visit online.

No overnight visitors are allowed.

Piedmont Macon only supplies COVID-19 tests for their admitted ER patients.

They do not accept walk-ins for testing