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Big Bend, south Georgia hospitals prepare for possible surge in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 6:32 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 18:32:51-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Big Bend and south Georgia area hospitals say they are now more prepared for a possible second surge in COVID-19 cases than they were before.

The Chief Medical Officer at South Georgia Medical Center, Brian Dawson, said they saw cases peak from the virus back in late July and early August.

He told ABC 27 there is now more research in place to fight the virus, but they are starting to see cases in the hospitals go up again.

"It is a serious disease, and we are seeing a rising number," Dr. Dawson said. "This time it looks like we're seeing a disproportionate rise in numbers in the community, compared to what we're actually seeing in the hospital, but I think that's just been because of an initial shift in the phases.”

From September to about two weeks ago, Dr. Dawson said they saw an increase from 20 daily COVID-19 cases to now about 40 to 45 daily cases.

He said he doesn't know if South Georgia Medical Center will see another major surge, resulting in hospital beds going at capacity, but the hospital is prepared with extra beds, staff and additional PPE supplies.

“The disease attacked some of the patients that were very vulnerable, and now it has moved through that initial phase,” added Dr. Dawson. “We are seeing more members of the community being affected, but only a portion are ending up in the hospital."

At Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, officials said in a statement about handling a possible surge:

"...We have a nursing unit dedicated to the care of COVID-19 patients. In the event of a surge of COVID-19 patients, we have identified and are able to utilize many different areas in the hospital. Our community can rest assured that we are confident in our ability and capacity to care for our patients... All of these factors are leading to increased cases across the country. As a community, we need to remain vigilant and focused on the preventative measures that have been prescribed and be hopeful as numerous vaccines will be available in short order."