August 3, 2021 – As with most hospitals across the nation, Southeast
Georgia Health System’s Brunswick and
Camden Campus hospitals are experiencing substantially higher than normal patient volumes
and long emergency room wait times. Health System leadership reports the
sharp rise in
COVID-19 cases, driven by the more contagious delta variant and low vaccination
rates, as the primary contributing factor for the increase and a significant
cause for concern.
“The current surge of COVID-19 hospitalized patients is rapidly approaching
our previous peak of 98 inpatients we experienced last summer,” says
Alan Brown, M.D., chief medical officer, Southeast Georgia Health System. “This summer
we were starting to feel some relief with our COVID patient census hovering
between four to eight patients in early July. Now, just a few weeks later,
we’re starting August off with 79 hospitalized COVID patients, 14
of whom are on ventilators. At this rate, we’ll soon be facing capacity
challenges, not only for patient beds, but also for nursing teams who
care for our patients.”
Brown adds that the number of patients coming to the Health System’s
Emergency Care Centers to be tested for COVID-19 are impacting the wait times for people with
other illnesses. Patients who are experiencing symptoms and in need of
a test, but who are not experiencing life-threatening symptoms, are advised
to visit one of the Health System’s outpatient COVID-19 testing
sites instead of the Emergency Care Centers.
The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, fatigue, muscle/body
aches and shortness of breath. More advanced symptoms requiring immediate
medical attention include difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure
in the chest, sudden confusion, inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face.
“While some of the people who are coming to the Emergency Care Center
with COVID symptoms are seriously ill and need to be admitted to the hospital,
there are some who are experiencing mild symptoms, or who were exposed
to someone with COVID but not experiencing symptoms,” says Brown.
“We strongly urge those people to visit one of our outpatient testing
sites or one of the county sites. It will lessen their chance of exposure
to other illnesses and help to reduce the wait times for patients with
severe illnesses or injuries.”
The Health System’s Immediate Care Centers in Glynn County offer
COVID-19 testing Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday,
12-5:30 p.m. An appointment is not necessary.
COVID-19 testing is also available by appointment, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30
p.m., at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Primary Care in Camden
County. To schedule an appointment, call 912-882-6767.
The Coastal Health District also offers free COVID-19 testing at the Camden
County and Glynn County Health Departments. Testing appointments for both
locations can be scheduled online at covid19.dph.ga.gov or by calling
912-230-9744, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
“We had hoped the
vaccine would bring us the relief we all so desperately need, especially our nurses,”
says Brown. “It’s very hard, very disheartening for our health
care teams to be going through this again. People need to get their vaccine.
The vaccine reduces the risk of getting seriously ill and being hospitalized
or dying. Do it for yourself, for your loved ones, for others.”
Individuals with questions about COVID-19 symptoms can call the Health
System’s free screening hotline at 912-466-7222. To schedule an
appointment for a free COVID-19 vaccine, visit