State Watch

Atlanta mayor says ICU units at capacity

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said Tuesday that the city's intensive care units (ICUs) are at capacity and warned that hospitals in the area could soon be maximized amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I suspect that at some point soon our hospitals may get near capacity," Bottoms told a local CBS affiliate.

"While there are still beds available ... our ICU units are at capacity. This is why we have gone a step further in Atlanta and asked people to please stay home," she added.

"We're already down several beds at Grady Hospital, and people have to understand that when we overrun our hospitals, people will still come in with heart attacks, people will still have car accidents."

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Georgia surged to nearly 1,100 on Tuesday, with health officials in other parts of the state also warning of ICUs being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

Numbers released by the state Tuesday listed 361 patients as hospitalized due to the virus, The Associated Press reported. Dougherty County in the southwestern part of Georgia led the state, according to the state Department of Public Health, with 101 infections.

Dr. Steven Kitchen, chief medical officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Ga., said the hospital's three ICUs are full and that the facility has been forced to construct a de facto fourth 10-bed ICU for all other patients, which has also been filled.

"We continue to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in our care," Kitchen said, according to the AP. "We're quickly approaching the point of maximum capacity. We need a relief valve."

Doctors were forced to discharge some ICU patients Monday to make space for five worsening patients, Kitchen said.

Kitchen said the system hopes to create further ICU space in a second facility it owns across town, noting that state officials have already delivered another 20 ventilators.

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