Hall County physicians urge Georgians to get vaccinated amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Northeast Georgia Health System Chief of Staff Dr. Deepak Aggarwal is urging all eligible Georgians to get vaccinated amid the spike in COVID cases at area hospitals in recent weeks.

"The number of COVID-positive patients in Northeast Georgia Medical Center hospitals has jumped from 20 to 110, the most we have had since February. The percentage of tests coming back positives, has essentially doubled," said Dr. Aggarwal.                                      

Roughly half of the COVID-positive patients in NGHS hospitals are under the age of 60,  some have been as young as 18. Doctors are trying to convince those who have reservations about getting the vaccine to do so. If you wait until you end up in the hospital to get the vaccine they warn, it will be too late.

"Again, we don't want to say this to scare you or to drive fear. We want to make sure that we are giving you factual information so that you can reconsider your stance on the vaccine," said Dr. Erine Raybons-Rojas.

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Hall County's COVID positivity rate is currently 11.7 percent, compared to a 35 percent positivity rate during the height of the pandemic.

RN Elizabeth Larkins, who serves as Executive Director for Medical Nursing said, "If you are not concerned for yourself enough to get the vaccine, I'm asking you to please do it for the people in your life who you love. Do it for our healthcare workers. Do it for your community. "

The sharp rise in cases is alarming for medical staff, still recovering from the mental and emotional strain of the past 18 months.

"Many of them tell me they don't know if they can take another surge," Larkin said.

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