Southeast Georgia Health System Experiencing High Patient Volumes and Longer Emergency Room Wait Times

January 15, 2020 – Similar to most hospitals across the nation, Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick and Camden campuses are currently experiencing much higher than normal patient volumes and longer emergency room wait times.

“We are experiencing unusually high occupancy on our inpatient units as well as increased volumes of patients seeking care from our Emergency Care Centers,” says Judith Henson, R.N., BSN, MSA, vice president, Patient Care Services. “As a result, patients are experiencing extended wait times. We are advising patients who need medical care but who are not experiencing an emergency or life-threatening illness to consider seeking care from places other than the Health System’s emergency rooms.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health departments in 46 states reported “widespread” flu activity the last week of December, and Georgia is among the states hardest hit.

Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick Campus Emergency Care Center reported 197 positive flu cases in December 2019, as opposed to only 36 cases in December 2018; the Camden Campus Emergency Care Center reported 79 flu cases in December 2019 and only 17 in December 2018.

“Emergency Care Center patients are triaged for acuity and prioritized for care and treatment,” adds Glenn Gann, R.N., MSN, director, Emergency Care Center-Brunswick. “With the high patient volumes we’re experiencing, it’s important that individuals who need medical care but who are not experiencing an emergency or life-threatening illness consider seeking care from our Immediate Care Centers or their physician’s office. Individuals coming to the emergency room with flu or non-emergency health conditions should be prepared for extended wait times.”

The Health System offers three Immediate Care Centers in Glynn County. Patients can expect to experience shorter wait times by visiting the Immediate Care Center instead of the Emergency Care Center, and the cost is much lower as well. The Immediate Care Centers treat health conditions that are not life-threatening but need prompt attention, such as minor injuries—sprains, cuts, burns, bee stings, sunburns and foreign objects in the eye—and minor illnesses, including cold and flu, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, fever, sore throat, earache, upset stomach and allergies.

Patients can also use “Save Your Spot,” an online appointment reservation system, to reserve an Immediate Care Center appointment from a desktop or mobile device. Save Your Spot gives patients the flexibility and comfort of waiting at home or work instead of in the waiting room. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Glynn Immediate Care Center
3400 Parkwood Drive, Brunswick

Glynco Immediate Care Center
15 Gable Court, Brunswick

St. Simons Immediate Care Center
5000 Wellness Way, St. Simons Island

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the longer wait times and wish to stress that we are working diligently to attend to all patients, emergency and inpatient, with safety and quality care at the forefront,” Henson says. “Our staff and physicians are working very hard to continue delivering the highest quality patient care as quickly and safely as possible.”