Lack of ICU beds amid spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Medical professionals said they believe the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations will eventually overwhelm the healthcare infrastructure.

Dr. Danny Branstetter with WellStar Health System said now that's it's summer, they're also seeing more trauma patients being admitted into their facilities along with coronavirus patients.

“We are seeing an increase number in COVID hospitalizations throughout our health system,” Dr. Branstetter, Wellstar’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention, explained.

Wellstar Health System said across Atlanta, they are seeing a rise in the need for acute care capacity. They said the Atlanta Medical Center's ICU has reached full capacity.

"Staffing is my biggest concern. Not only just for general numbers but also fatigue. We keep a close eye on our PPE supply and make sure our supply chain is there. We don’t want to be in a crunch for that,” the doctor detailed.   

chart from the Georgia Emergency Management shows 83% of the state's critical care beds are now in use.

ER beds are at 55% capacity.

This report doesn't breakdown how they are being used.

"The difference now compared to a couple [of] months ago we're seeing a lot more general medical care that was delayed or postponed during the first part of this wave, so that's also eating into some of the capacity."

State data shows more than 2,500 COVID-19 ICU admissions with 106 hospitalizations reported on Thursday afternoon.

Dr. Branstetter told FOX 5's Brian Hill they have a plan in place if the surge in hospitalizations continues.

"What phase two, phase three looks at is expanding the number of ICU or critical care beds we can take care of at one facility then also looks at is 'there other ways to convert existing space,'" he detailed.

Dr. Branstetter said young people are also ending up in the ICU.

“Even though younger people are the largest rise in right now in our numbers, they are not immune to the complications to coronavirus - particularly those who have underlying medical conditions." 

We asked the Doctor about Wellstar’s typical number of hospitalizations prior to the pandemic but that information was not available.