Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said the mobile morgue will be returning to the county because of the rise in COVID-19 cases.
“I wonder who the first patient will be to go in the mobile morgue. Somebody said, ‘Mr. Fowler, you’re insensitive.’ No, I’m for real because I don’t want you to die,” said Fowler.
He said last year at the start of the pandemic, Dougherty County wanted answers. Now, he said the vaccine is the answer, but people refuse to get it.
Fowler said he’s noticed this variant is more contagious. He’s gone to homes where a person died from COVID-19 and noticed more family members test positive for the virus than last year.
“I don’t want to come pronounce you dead because of something you could’ve prevented,” said Fowler.
He encouraged students to wear masks while in school, and everyone who’s eligible for the vaccine should get vaccinated.
Dr. Kathy Hudson, chief medical officer at Phoebe, said Friday they have had more COVID-19 patients in their hospitals now than at the beginning of the pandemic.
Phoebe Putney Health System is caring for a record-high number of COVID-19 patients in their hospitals, currently atotal of 199 patients.
“Every hospital in Georgia is full. We are at capacity,” said Hudson.
She said they have not been able to transfer or receive patients from another hospital because there are no beds available.
In order to have enough staff to care for patients, they have started incentive programs and a helping hands program.
“Where non-clinical personnel can come to the bedside and assists the team by doing non-clinical things because we cannot continue to care for this volume of patients with our typical staffing,” said Hudson.
Health District Director Dr. Charles Ruis said the best way to control the virus and decrease admissions is by getting people vaccinated.
He said if you’re not getting the vaccine because there are breakthrough infections, reconsider.
“It’s rare that we can tell someone to take this medicine or undergo this form of treatment and it’s a guarantee there’s always a chance that an intervention will not help. But vaccines are the best way to control this covid virus,” said Ruis.
The health district is starting to administer the third vaccine for people with compromised immune systems. The only vaccines available for the third dose are Pfizer and Moderna.
“Currently, people who have had the J&J are not eligible for an additional dose. That may be coming down the road,” said Ruis.
If you want the third dose, you must sign a consent form, tell them your condition that makes you immunocompromised or have a note from your doctor.
The health district is also aiming to start administering the booster shot by Sept. 20. To get it, you must be eight months beyond your last vaccine.
Currently, the only vaccines available for a booster are Moderna and Pfizer. The Department of Public Health is aiming to start making appointments by Sept. 1.