As Delta, Omicron cases surge in Northwest Georgia and the state, area health officials plead with area residents to visit emergency rooms only for dire needs.

As Delta, Omicron cases surge in Northwest Georgia and the state, area health officials plead with area residents to visit emergency rooms only for dire needs.

 

Cars were lined up to the main gate at the Coosa Valley Fairground for COVID tests Tuesday moning. The site will close this Friday through Sunday for the New Year’s weekend. Hometown photo

 

Latest updates:

Earlier this week, Advent Health Redmond posted the following:

“Unless you are experiencing a medical emergency such as shortness of breath or chest pain, please do not go to the ER for COVID-19 testing.”

Wednesday evening, Harbin Clinic posted the following:

“Harbin Clinic Immediate Care Rome has no additional appointments available for patients who haven’t yet checked in today. Immediate Care will reopen(Thursday, today) at 7:30 a.m. If you have a life-threatening emergency, visit your nearest emergency room or call 911. For COVID testing, visit the GA DPH testing locator at https://dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting.

Rome, Emerson free testing sites:

  • LakePointe Sports Complex, Emerson: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Coosa Valley Fairgrounds: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Both sites will close Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 (New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day).

From the Georgia Department of Public Health: To help keep hospital emergency departments open to treat medical emergencies, individuals seeking COVID testing should not go to hospital emergency departments, unless they are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms requiring urgent medical attention. Asymptomatic individuals or individuals with mild symptoms should find testing sites other than hospital emergency departments.

COVID-19 testing locations are available throughout Georgia and can be found on the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website at https://dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting. We are working with our lab partners to expand testing hours and add testing sites, however, lines will continue to be long as thousands of Georgians want to get tested.

To help alleviate delays at testing sites, it is critical that people register BEFORE going to a DPH test site. Online registration (https://dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting) will help alleviate back-ups at test sites and free up staff to do more testing if they aren’t doing registration paperwork.

COVID vaccination is available statewide and is our best tool for ending this pandemic and reducing the overwhelming strain on the healthcare system and healthcare providers. To find a COVID vaccination location, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine. Georgians aged 5 and older are eligible for vaccination. Georgians 16 and older are eligible for boosters six months after completing their primary vaccine series of either Moderna or Pfizer (only Pfizer is authorized for booster doses in 16- and 17- year-olds) and two months after their J&J vaccine.

Basic prevention measures should also be followed to help prevent further spread of COVID and mitigate outbreaks of infection, especially in public settings: wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.


Metro healthcare systems, including Piedmont Cartersville, warn of ongoing COVID surge, what to do: 

Media release: Six major health systems that serve metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia have unified to address the public regarding the latest COVID-19 impacts and the result of the rapid spread of the Delta and Omicron variants.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare, Grady Health System, Northeast Georgia Health System, Piedmont and Wellstar Health System are once again experiencing a staggering surge in adults and children with COVID-19 symptoms and diagnoses. Collectively, the health care systems have experienced 100 to 200 percent increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past eight days and the vast majority of inpatients are unvaccinated. This comes at a time when the health systems are preparing for an influx of patients with seasonal flu.

Emergency room activity has also increased significantly for both emergent and non-emergent situations, including those seeking COVID-19 testing without the need for further care or treatment. To keep emergency rooms available to individuals who have the most critical health needs, individuals should obtain care at the most appropriate medical facility for their condition and seek COVID-19 testing at primary care locations, public health and mass testing sites or use at-home testing kits.

While hospitals in metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia have best practices in place to actively manage capacity and provide high-quality patient care, we need the public’s help and support. Doing the following will help us all navigate this significant wave, minimize serious illness and hospitalizations from COVID, and better manage Emergency Room diversions and wait times at our facilities:

  • Get fully vaccinated for COVID-19, obtain the COVID-19 booster when eligible and get the seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Go to the most appropriate medical facility for your condition when you require care – and do not delay care if you need immediate medical attention.

o   Please remember that Emergency Rooms are for those seeking examination and treatment for medical emergencies, not for routine COVID-19 testing or mild symptoms.

  • Please only call 911 with a true emergency. Local 911 operators and EMTs are overwhelmed with calls, so if there is not a real emergency, please call your medical provider for guidance.
  • Use at-home testing kits, public health testing locations or independent testing facilities if you need to be tested for COVID-19 unless you are ill and need medical care.

o   For routine COVID-19 tests, you can find a location near you on the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website at: dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting.

  • Consult your provider for appropriate treatment options if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Continue to actively follow CDC and DPH guidelines, and practice the “3 Ws” safety measures – wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
  • Anticipate increased wait times for medical services. Due to the influx of patients and increased demands placed on our health care workforce, we ask everyone who enters our facilities to practice patience and kindness with each other and with our care team members who are providing expert, compassionate care.

 

The health and safety of our patients and communities remains our top priority. The six metro Atlanta health care systems will continue to work together to educate and inform the public regarding COVID-19 and address the most critical health needs impacting our area. We also would like to express our appreciation to the Governor for his support of our workforce and the newly announced funding to address staffing shortages at hospitals across the state due to COVID-19, and to the Georgia Department of Public Health for continued outreach to the public regarding issues affecting our patients, care team members and community.

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