ATLANTA — The spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant continues to pick up steam amid a busy holiday season, and now area hospitals are feeling the strain.
According to the state department of health, the number of patients hospitalized statewide is up by more than 50% this week with just 2,000 people currently hospitalized.
Dr. Jayne Morgan, the Director of COVID-19 Task Force at Piedmont Healthcare said the surge is once again concerning.
“When we had our second surge, we thought that was going to be it. Now here we are at the 5th surge and we’re having to recalibrate," explained Morgan.
The pressure from the surge is now noticeable in area hospitals. As of late Tuesday, the Georgia Coordinating Center showed Atlanta's four major hospital systems were severely overcrowded. Emory, Piedmont, and Northside were all turning away emergency medical transports.
In the metro Atlanta area, the Cobb County region of healthcare systems, which includes everything from Douglas County to Cherokee County, is seeing 20% of their patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. Medical experts want to see fewer than 20% in order for hospitals to be able to adequately provide beds, supplies, and care for these patients.
While the surge is mostly being driven by adults between the ages of 30 and 59, hospitalizations of children have increased as well.
President of the Georgia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Hugo Scornik, said there has been an explosion of COVID cases among juvenile patients.
“I think it is concerning for pediatricians and it really emphasizes that children are not spared from the devastation that COVID can bring," added Scornik.
While the increase is alarming, the total number of children hospitalized is still under 5% according to DPH.
About 230 new patients are being hospitalized on a daily basis. That number was at 150 just two weeks ago.