The news comes as the state sets new records for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

Georgia Carona

Georgia hospitals from Atlanta to Albany to Gainesville to Conyers finally began long-awaited vaccinations of their own workers Thursday, and a second vaccine candidate won an important endorsement. But as sparks of hope appeared, the state also faced new challenges in battling the pandemic and a grave increase in cases.

Georgia was among several states Thursday to report that their expected allotments of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for the coming weeks have been cut by 40%, amid conflicting explanations and denials from the federal vaccination operation and Pfizer.

Hospitals in several Georgia locations are overflowing with patients but short on nurses to care for them. And the state Thursday recorded an all-time record of net new COVID-19 confirmed and probable cases, at 7,777.

Mixed emotions were on full display at Piedmont Rockdale Hospital in Conyers, where five health care workers from across the Piedmont system sat down to get vaccinated. The hospital is one of 13 in Georgia reporting their emergency room crowding as severe.

“We want to get the vaccine because we’re exhausted,” said Dr. Gayla Dillard, a surgeon at Piedmont Healthcare, who got vaccinated Thursday. She has a colleague in the ICU with COVID-19, whose trachea tube operation she had to do.

Shannan Browning, a neonatal ICU nurse, came to tears after getting her shot at Piedmont. “Just knowing how hard my coworkers are working,” she said. “It’s really the ICU nurses, the ER nurses, the nurses on (regular hospital wards), the respiratory therapists…nurses work a 12 to 13-hour shift every day anyway. But they’re working those many more days a week than they normally do. And those days are just constant.”

Gov. Brian Kemp acknowledged the hospitals’ plight as he visited Grady Memorial Hospital Thursday to watch the state’s public health commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, receive the vaccine shot herself and to announce continued funding for temporary staff.

Watching the vaccinations after nine months of managing the state’s pandemic response, he said, “It’s almost overwhelming, quite honestly.”

He announced that he had agreed with state House and Senate leaders to extend extra staffing efforts for hospitals and nursing homes, appearing to refer to a contract with the Jackson Healthcare staffing agency that was set to expire. The state has put $250 million of its federal pandemic relief funding into the contract for this year. The state leaders agreed to dedicate nearly $70 million more in order to extend the workforce through early March, Kemp said.

“Today I can tell you the state has done everything in its power to support our hospitals on this front,” Kemp said.


RSS Latest Press Release

  • The Mold Girl Ramps Up Annual Air Quality Testing Following High Demand
    Daniel Island, SC – Entrepreneur Elizabeth Keefer, aka The Mold Girl, is stepping up to meet demand from worried residents concerned about their homes being afflicted with significant health hazards.   Keefer, a well-respected council-certified indoor environmental professional, is now offering annual air quality testing for homeowners worried their homes could have mold, allergens, or other […]
  • Wendy's and Google Cloud partner to enhance the Wendy's restaurant experience
    Wendy's®  and Google Cloud today announced a partnership to enhance Wendy's restaurant experience and unlock new customer, restaurant, and employee experiences through data-driven insights.Wendy's intends to leverage Google Cloud's data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and hybrid cloud tools to create new ways customers can order food in the drive-thru, on their mobile […]
  • Unique Custom Marine Vault Launches New Storage Boating Facility
    Pompano Beach, FL: A new 25,000 sqft boat storage warehouse has opened to offer the best complete boat care service in Florida’s Pompano Beach.   Owned and operated by Unique Custom Marine Vault, the unit is a safe and secure marine facility with an in-house mechanic and boat transporters.    “If you are looking for a […]
  • Dreamstime launches the "Cover of the Year 2021 in Romania" contest with prizes totaling 7,500 Euros.
    Dreamstime, the world’s largest stock photo community, together with Cărturești and PressOne, announces the launch of the "Cover of the Year 2021 in Romania" contest for book cover illustrations. Publishers or graphic artists who have published books with original covers throughout 2020 and 2021 are invited to participate. Participants can submit covers using stock media […]