Coronavirus Update: Georgia to use World Congress Center surge beds next week

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As COVID-19 cases continue to grow throughout Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp announced the state will begin using the surge bed facility at the Georgia World Congress Center Aug. 3.

With a total capacity of 120 beds, the facility will house an initial surge of 60 beds and increase based on need.

The move comes as Georgia has been averaging more than 3,500 new cases of coronavirus each day for the past week. In that same time period about 45 people are dying each day statewide from the virus.

Georgia currently has 182,286 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,671 people have died statewide from the virus since the pandemic began. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there have been 18,303 hospitalizations and 3,354 ICU admissions statewide.

“As part of our strategic plan to expand surge capacity in Georgia, we are re-opening the Georgia World Congress Center,” said Kemp. “These additional hospital beds will provide relief to surrounding healthcare facilities while providing top notch care for patients. My administration is laser-focused on expanding hospital surge capacity while working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.”

Grady Memorial Hospital will serve as the lead hospital for clinical oversight for the 120 bed facility. The Georgia World Congress Center facility will also have the staffing and equipment necessary to treat a higher level of acuity in patients than the previous configuration during the months of May and June, enabling hospitals to focus their staff and resources on the most critical patients in their facilities.

The state is also partnering with Grady Health System to expand and renew the existing Regional Coordinating Center as the Georgia Coordinating Center.

The Regional Coordinating Center was established in December of 2019 to manage the placement of ambulance-transported patients after an internal flood at Grady left the hospital unable to handle its usual number of ambulance arrivals. Earlier this year, the center took on the additional responsibility of coordinating transfers to the temporary hospital established by the state at the Georgia World Congress Center.

At Kemp’s instruction, and with a $1.2 million investment from the state, the center has now evolved to become the COVID-19 Georgia Coordinating Center – providing real-time information on hospital bed availability statewide and a call center to assist in transferring patients to hospitals able to provide the appropriate level of care. The center will continue to be housed at Grady and operate under the supervision of the Georgia Department of Public Health. The center will be staffed 24/7 by paramedics and EMTs.

Kemp’s current executive order on coronavirus actions in Georgia is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. tonight. There has been no word on the governor’s plans to extend the order or what the next iteration of the order may contain.

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