DUBLIN, Ga. — Fairview Park Hospital joins a growing number of Central Georgia hospitals urging people to follow CDC guidelines as COVID-19 stretches their capacity.
"We're seeing a lot of desperately ill patients," said Fairview Park's Dr. Don Nelson.
Navicent Health, Coliseum Health System, and Houston Healthcare have all issued similar warnings this week.
Like them, Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin is battling a surge of COVID-19 cases.
CEO Donald Avery said, at their peak in the "first wave," Fairview Park had 10 COVID-19 patients. Now, that's more than doubled, to 25.
An influx of non-COVID patients compounds the challenge.
"Our medical unit is full, our intensive care unit is full, and we have had to hold patients in the ER," said Avery.
Like the other hospital leaders, Avery says you still should not wait to seek medical treatment if you need it.
The emergency room is open, doctors will take care of you, and surge plans are ready.
"We've got surgical beds available, we've got pediatric beds available, we've got labor and delivery women's services beds available," said Avery.
There have been good moments, too.
"Being in the room with this patient when her mother saw her off a ventilator for the first time in 18 days. Yeah, I'll never forget that," said Dr. Nelson. "And I've been doing this for 32 years now."
Improved treatment strategies, he says, are helping some patients see better results than in months prior, but that doesn't make COVID-19's current threat any less real.
"They're just desperately ill and anybody who doesn't think so, yeah, they should come and put on some gowns and make rounds because they're very sick," said Dr. Nelson.
To ease that pressure and help slow the number of new infections, they're asking people to wash their hands, avoid crowds, and wear masks in public.
"It's a very small price to ask to protect your fellow man," said Dr. Nelson. "Because you know some of these 60-, 70-, 80-year-old people who get sick won't make it out alive."
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