Local hospitals amidst pandemic


Courtesy of Pamela Flores

Local communities and businesses praise healthcare workers at hospitals in their area. Especially during the early months of quarantine, people showed their support by writing letters, posting on social media, and making signs showing their gratitude to hospitals and their workers. Helping to flatten the curve by wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing supports hospitals too.

Elijah Pacis, Reporter

As total coronavirus cases continue to increase nationwide, local hospitals continue to defend Georgian lives with steadily increasing efforts to mitigate the coronavirus’s spread. With Georgia maintaining high figures in daily coronavirus cases, local hospitals must enact new policies to continue protecting local communities.

New policies greatly affect how hospitals operate normally during the quarantine. One of those policies prevents families from visiting patients to avoid spreading COVID-19. Normally hospitals encourage family participation in patient’s care to assist in recovery and comfort, but they make exceptions with the new policy. 

“Visitation is allowed for minors and elderly that need a family member to speak for them. Visitors are also allowed for patients nearing the end of life,” said Maria Aguas, a registered nurse at Kaiser ACC.

Another policy that came into effect forces certain hospital units to only admit COVID-19 patients. For example, the medical-surgical units where most patients go for general wellness converts to a COVID unit. COVID units perform their normal specializations, but can only accept coronavirus patients to separate the infected from other patients to lessen the spread of COVID-19 within the hospital. 

“Each hospital wing has a unit. Because of COVID, we have to switch certain units to COVID units. So now there are units dedicated to COVID patients,” said Pamela Flores, an administrative nursing supervisor at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. 

However, that policy works on an as-needed basis. As the pandemic develops, hospitals create changes to keep up with coronavirus infection rates.

“Four months ago, we had four dedicated units for COVID. A month later, there was a decrease in the amount of COVID patients for around two weeks, so we closed two COVID units and converted them into a regular floor and kept the other two as COVID units. But the numbers for COVID dipped down and two weeks later, they picked up, and we flipped those units back into COVID units,” said Pamela Flores.

At the pandemic’s start, the country suffered shortages in KN95 masks and that deficiency created a nationwide problem. Months after that problem arose, healthcare workers continued to diligently and whole-heartedly protect others by risking their health and possibly exposing their families to the virus. Nurses and doctors try to keep public confidence in hospitals by bravely working at the nation’s frontlines against a dangerous enemy no one can see. Give thanks to the veterans who see more blood than any army, save lives more than anyone else, and work tirelessly to protect the people here at home.