The number of COVID-19 cases in the Augusta area surged following the holiday season and Augusta University Health has been seeing record numbers. On Jan. 20, 105 patients with COVID-19 were being treated at AU Medical Center, down from 122 the week before. The peak was Jan. 15, with 124 patients being treated for COVID-19.
In addition to protocols to ensure a safe campus, Augusta University is committed to keeping employees, students and patients informed by relaunching its COVID-19 resource page. This page provides statistics for testing, vaccinations and patient counts at AU Health; weekly updates of student and employee cases; updated guidelines for reporting exposure or a positive test; and frequently asked questions.
Students, employees, faculty, media and patients will find resources specific to their needs, as well as the latest news and updates related to COVID-19. Users can also find information and links to schedule a test through the resource page.
To accommodate the increase in COVID patients locally, AU shifted some recovery units to create more intensive care units, as existing ICUs have been converted to COVID-19 ICUs. For example, the pediatric ICU (PICU) has been converted to an adult ICU, while the PICU has been moved to a children’s recovery area. A post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) on Jan. 11 was converted to a 26-bed ICU.
Patients who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms are receiving treatments of Bamlanivimab, an investigational drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“That helps reduce the need for hospitalization and ER visits in high-risk patients,” Coule said.
These treatments, which were being administered in the Moore Avenue clinic, have been moved to the endoscopy clinic, which can accommodate a larger number of patients. In addition, whenever possible, patients who do not need to come to the medical center are receiving care through telemedicine visits.
Patients who need emergency care and are not COVID-positive should feel confident about seeking care at Augusta University, as delaying care could cause more harm, Coule said. All patients are screened for COVID, and COVID patients are separated from non-COVID patients.
“Getting COVID at the hospital should not be the concern. If people have conditions that need care, they’re certainly more likely to encounter harm by delaying seeking care than they are from the risk of coming to the hospital,” Coule said.