‘This virus doesn’t respect anybody’: SGMC hosts vaccination drive-thru event, hospitalizations remain high

SGMC drive-thru vaccinations.
SGMC drive-thru vaccinations.(WALB)
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) -South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) will be hosting two COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru events Saturday.

This comes as hospitalizations number within the health system have doubled in the last two weeks and testing demand hits record highs.

We’re told it’s been very busy on the inside.

SGMC COVID testing site.
SGMC COVID testing site.(WALB)

Dr. Gregory Beale is a pulmonologist and the hospital’s director of infection prevention and control.

He was on the frontlines during last year’s surge and now this one. He says the duration of this wave has been alarming.

“This wave seems to be lasting longer than the previous waves did. I don’t think we’ve peaked yet and certainly don’t see a dip at all and normally, I would’ve expected to see that,” said Dr. Beale.

Dr. Beale says if the 4th of July weekend was considered when the spike began, he believes the spread should have slowed down by now.

But that has not been the case.

“Yeah, I’m concerned because we got another holiday coming up,” said Dr. Beale.

SGMC COVID testing site.
SGMC COVID testing site.(WALB)

With Labor Day weekend in a few days, hosting the drive-thru vaccinations sites was a good opportunity to make it convenient for those who may have changed their minds.

“I think it’s very clear from what we’re seeing upstairs that people vaccinated are being more protected from this virus,” said Dr. Beale.

Dr. Beale says hospitalizations haven’t decreased to less than 100 in days.

Their COVID tracker report shows there are currently 108 hospitalized.

The latest data show 93 percent are not vaccinated.

“This virus doesn’t respect anybody,” said Dr. Beale.

Those ages 19 to 29 continue leading the way in positive cases, and ages 30 to 39 following.

Dr. Beale says their biggest challenge has been trying to make room for the non-COVID patients while trying to keep beds available for critically ill COVID patients.

But he says hospital staff has been able to discharge people efficiently and continue to make space.

“It’s an emergency situation. This is a worldwide infection. It’s killing lots of people and creating lots of chaos with families. Try to think about doing the right thing for the welfare of society in general,” said Dr. Beale.

According to the Department of Public Health, only 29 percent of Lowndes County is fully vaccinated.

SGMC COVID testing site.
SGMC COVID testing site.(WALB)

The sites will be at SGMC Main Campus and SGMC Smith Northview Campus.

Moody Air force personnel will be assisting at the drive-thru events.

Those who are immunocompromised may also get the third shot.

It will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at both locations.

SGMC will be administering the Pfizer vaccine and interested individuals can pre-register online, call (229) 433-1068, or just swing on by.

SGMC COVID treatment center
SGMC COVID treatment center(WALB)

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