Gwinnett County has had more than a tenfold increase in COVID-19 cases since the Fourth of July weekend, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
As a hospital executive, I think it is my responsibility to tell the community what is going on in our ICU and Emergency Department, as we continue to cope with this fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.
Patients in our hospital with the highly contagious delta variant are younger and sicker than ever before. During this delta surge, Piedmont Eastside has seen patients as young as 26 years old placed on a ventilator due to COVID-19.
They are also overwhelmingly unvaccinated. In fact, Piedmont Eastside does not currently have a single fully vaccinated person receiving critical care for COVID-19. We have had some breakthrough cases, but those individuals are not ending up in our ICU.
Across Piedmont Healthcare’s 16 hospitals, 95% of the patients with COVID are unvaccinated. More than 94% on ventilators are unvaccinated. And, most importantly, more than 99% who have died from COVID were unvaccinated.
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports what we are seeing at the local level. The CDC found that, this spring and summer, people who were not fully vaccinated were over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated.
I urge you to get vaccinated. Just half of Gwinnet County residents are fully vaccinated, and 56% have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
We have partnered with Gwinnett County to have a vaccine clinic in our medical office building located at 1800 Tree Lane, Suite 250, in Snellville. The clinic is open Tuesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is also a drive thru option on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at this same location. As the demand increases, our clinic days will as well.
I thank those of you in Gwinnett County who have already done your part, by getting the vaccine and encouraging loved ones to do so as well, to relieve the stress on the hospital.
As bad as this peak is, there are still half as many cases in the county as there were during the previous peak in January. That is because the vaccine works.
We can still do better.
You can find all the information you need on the COVID-19 vaccines, including answers to frequently asked questions, at https://www.piedmont.org/covid-19/vaccine-faq.