WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — As Central Georgia hospitals continue to deal with the current delta surge, they're also bracing for the possibility of even more cases.
Dr. Melinda Hartley, Chief Operating Officer for Houston Healthcare, is worried about what could come next.
"We have 146 cases in our hospital which is pretty overwhelming quite frankly," says Hartley.
"Technically, Houston Medical Center has 18 ICU beds, intensive care beds, Perry Hospital has four intensive care beds so that's 22 intensive care beds. We have almost 70 critical care patients who need to be in those beds."
Hartley fears the numbers could rise following the Labor Day holiday, and as more people head to full capacity events this fall.
"I'm sure a lot of people watched the Georgia/Clemson game and you looked and you saw the crowds out there, very few people wearing masks, not socially distanced, people at the beach, people out with dinner," she says.
Hartley says the delta variant is changing the age group affected from elderly people over the age of 65 to people between the ages of 30 and 60.
And she says some aren't making it out of the hospitals.
"Two weeks to three weeks length of stay in the hospital. They're going on the ventilators. Unfortunately, a lot of them are not coming off the ventilators," says Hartley.
Michael Hokanson with the North Central Health District says we won't know the number of positive COVID cases stemming from Labor Day for at least two weeks, but it's also important for people who do feel symptoms to get tested.
"We definitely don't want to see the increase continue as cases are continuing to pile up. We hope to see that plateau and decrease sometime soon," he says.
A Washington Post tracker finds this labor day there were twice as many COVID-19 patients in hospitals than last Labor Day.
Last week the United States averaged more than 150,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 12,000 new hospital admissions.