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New emergency department, to be nation's second-largest, opening at Wellstar Kennestone today

As it becomes operational, hospital officials believe it will increase trauma and emergency capacity from 389 patients a day to more than 600 a day.

MARIETTA, Ga. — In the midst of a surging rise in need for hospital capacity in many parts of Georgia, Wellstar Kennestone is opening a new emergency department today that is expected to be the nation's second-largest.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony, with Gov. Brian Kemp in attendance, was held last week. As it becomes operational today, hospital officials believe it will increase trauma and emergency capacity from 389 patients a day to more than 600 a day.

Over the course of a year, the 263,000-square-foot Cobb County facility could serve up to 220,000 patients.

"Ultimately, the expanded and enhanced emergency department will allow us to continue to do what we do best at Wellstar – provide integrated care for the whole family, at every age and stage of life," a fact sheet on the new facility says.

The emergency department is "designed to reduce wait times, expedite discharges, and enhance the consumer experience," according to the fact sheet.

The facility will include features such as separate wings for adult and pediatric patients, private exam rooms and separate, adjacent PPE on/off rooms for healthcare workers, a 12-bed floor dedicated to behavioral health, three ambulance bays for varying levels of patient severity and a rooftop helipad.

It will also have "planned spaces and processes for de-escalation, isolation and decontamination for patients who present with infectious disease, behavioral health, or chemical contamination issues."

Credit: Wellstar Kennestone

The new emergency department will add capacity to a region, which includes Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Cherokee counties, that according to Georgia Emergency Management Agency figures had 151 of 251 emergency room beds occupied on Wednesday, and just four of 217 critical care beds available.

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