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Kemp asks Georgians to schedule elective procedures to help struggling hospital systems

Several of the state's largest health systems - including Wellstar and Emory Healthcare - have announced that they will have to cut hours amid the pandemic.

ATLANTA — It's become an unexpected side effect of the coronavirus pandemic: health systems in the middle of fighting the virus are suddenly finding themselves strapped for cash.

Now, citing an improvement in testing and hospitalization rates, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is asking for people across the state to help by going back to the doctor to get their routine checkups and elective procedures.

"Georgia's health systems are ready to serve patients for elective procedures and routine appointments," Kemp assured. "I want to strongly encourage everyone to get important checkups on their calendars."

In the past few days, Kemp said, several of the state's largest and most successful health systems - including Wellstar and Emory Healthcare - have announced that they will have to cut hours and furlough employees in order to offset major budget shortages. 

RELATED: Wellstar announces temporary furloughs for 1,070 team members

During the first few weeks of the pandemic, when officials recommended strict social distancing guidelines, many health systems suspended elective procedures and checkups in order to help slow the spread of the virus. Because of that, much of the revenue from those visits dried up, leaving those health systems in dire need when they're needed more than ever - a twist of irony.

"Please go to your doctor for a checkup if you are due for one," Kemp urged. "Schedule time for routine procedures, like dental cleanings and eye exams and other tests that can prioritize your health."

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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