ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp held a news conference Monday afternoon to announce additional steps in support of Georgia hospitals.
He started by encouraging unvaccinated Georgians to speak with their doctors about being vaccinated, saying more than 90% of those hospitalized in the state are unvaccinated.
He cited the vaccine’s emergency use authorization as one of the top reasons people haven't yet received the shot, and said that’s part of the reason he's pressing the FDA to give it full approval.
Kemp says he's been in frequent contact with both metro Atlanta hospital CEOs and rural hospital leaders who told him their most pressing issue is the lack of qualified staff from nurses to respiratory therapists.
He announced the state would be spending an additional $125 million to increase state-supported hospital staff by another 1,500.
That’s on top of the previously announced $500 million to add 1,300 staff members, meaning a new total of 2,800. There will also be 450 additional beds in nine regional hospitals.
To encourage state employees to get vaccinated, Kemp is closing state offices on Sept. 3, the Friday before Labor Day weekend. He’s asking all state employees to consider using that time to be vaccinated if they aren’t already.
He concluded by reiterating that Georgia would not shut down again and by asking Georgians to be part of a solution to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.