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State adding beds for patient surge
Nearly 300 hospital beds are coming to Georgia hospitals to prepare for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.
Eastside Medical Center
Eastside Medical Center is a 310-bed hospital in Snellville, Ga. - photo by Special to The Covington News

Nearly 300 hospital beds are coming to Georgia hospitals to prepare for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.

Sixty of them will open in Snellville within a week with 47 more available by the end of the month.

Gov. Brian Kemp and the state’s Coronavirus Task Force announced plans to deploy four temporary medical units, including 88 hospital beds, and expanded capacity at two reopened facilities to bring 208 new beds on board.

The state has committed about $72 million for the projects, including $12 million for additional medical staff at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in hard-hit Albany.

One of the units, featuring 20 beds, will be located in Rome. Another 20-bed unit is going to Albany.

There are two 24-bed units being deployed later this month, one going to Atlanta and another be deployed based on community needs.

At the reopened Phoebe North Campus in Albany, 12 new intensive care unit beds will be available within the week, with 15 more ICU beds and 15 general beds by mid-April and 59 general beds in May.

At Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, the state said to expect a rolling start of 24 ICU beds and 36 general beds within a week and a rolling start, depending on staff availability, of 30 ICU beds and 17 general beds by late April.

Hope Moeck, marketing manager of Eastside Medical, said the surge capacity program will occur at the main campus hospital at 1700 Medical Way in Snellville.

“In the weeks to come, the state of Georgia anticipates a surge in hospital volume across our state due to the growing number of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization,” she said. “In response to this anticipated need in our region, Eastside Medical Center is proud to partner with the state of Georgia to stand up a surge capacity program that will provide additional support to outlying area hospitals.”

More to come

“These projects have been underway for several weeks based on modeling and epidemiological recommendations, and we are following leads on several more proposals to expand health care capacity as we prepare for patient surge later this month,” Kemp said.

“At every stage of decision-making, our team is consulting with public health and emergency management experts in the private and public sectors. Together, we are working around the clock to prepare for future needs in our fight against the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.

“In the days ahead, we will finalize additional projects to expand our capacity and get critically needed resources to frontline medical providers.”

Eastside Medical Center, a 310-bed hospital, dates to 1980 and has offices and clinics in Loganville. Since 2011, it’s been owned by Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare.