COLQUITT COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Stress and low morale, too many patients, supply shortage, and understaffing…Colquitt Regional Medical Center is in critical condition as COVID-19 cases surge. They're in and out of code triage, meaning all of their 99 beds are filled in the hospital and ICU. Chief Nursing Officer, Dena Zinker, said "the staff is emotionally, mentally, physically for sure, and spiritually exhausted."
Around 70 COVID-19 positive patients are coming in every day for care, making it difficult to treat routine illnesses at Colquitt Regional Medical Center...and they're not alone. Full capacity at bigger hospitals nearby means that patients needing a routine procedure at Colquitt Regional can't go anywhere else. Dr. Frederick Powell, Chief of Anesthesiology, said "we had a patient recently pass away because we couldn't get them a very routine procedure because nobody had a bed, they could not open up to take that patient even for a couple hours."
Colquitt Regional Medical Center is understaffed by about 30 nurses. Nurses at the hospital now have to take on three critically ill patients at a time. Stress levels are reaching new heights…Dr. Powell added "a lot of the patients that end up on mechanical ventilation with COVID symptoms, the average time span is about 14 days, so if you get one patient a day for ten days you're going to overlap and get completely full."
The stress is compounded with frustration over unvaccinated patients. Dr. Powell said "we don't have any definitive treatment for severely ill COVID patients so that creates a stress inherently because you're watching patients sometimes deteriorate right in front of your eyes and sometimes pass away."
And their message is get vaccinated. Dr. Powell said "you have a great chance of it preventing you from ending up in the ICU being sick."
They expect the surge to continue because of the community being highly unvaccinated. The hospital has two vaccine clinics open to everyone plus weekly drive through clinics at the Vereen Center.
The best way to find out exactly when and where Colquitt Regional Medical Center is having vaccine clinics is to call their COVID-19 hotline and visit their social media pages.