Physician in small Georgia metropolis says coronavirus unfold via neighborhood earlier than hospital employees came upon what it was

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“We have been shocked by its abrupt entrance into our lives, and the virus had been spreading quietly for 10 days, and really rapidly,” Dr. Shanti Akers, a pulmonary essential care doctor at Phoebe Putney Well being System in Albany, testified.

“What began as one case unfold like wildfire,” she added. “We crammed ward after ward till we had at the very least 5 flooring devoted to the care of those sufferers.”

The primary instances hit the hospital in Albany, a metropolis of about 72,000 individuals, within the final week of February and the primary week of March, however nobody knew it, the physician testified.

It wasn’t till March 10 that the hospital was knowledgeable they’d handled a optimistic coronavirus case, she stated.

“These early days have been scary and intense. We knew so little about it, and the way it was unfold or the way to deal with it,” Akers instructed the Home Choose Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Disaster. The panel heard concerning the impression of the pandemic on medical employees, first responders, grocery retailer employees and others.

The stress of coping with the brand new illness was heightened after they went via six months of private protecting tools in a single week.

“We have been — and nonetheless are — pressured to make that provide stretch. This time took a toll on all of us,” Akers stated.

The physician stated she spent months not seeing her youngsters awake due to the time required to deal with sufferers. She restricted her contact together with her husband and children as a result of she was fearful her PPE hadn’t totally protected her.

“And I up to date my will,” she stated.

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A flood of instances

The disaster in Dougherty County started after two funerals have been held in late February and March. There have been additionally a downtown pageant, an enormous street race and spiritual companies that have been nonetheless crowded.

The cluster of instances started rising shortly after a 67-year-old man examined optimistic for the virus. The person traveled from Atlanta to attend one of many funerals and was hospitalized in Albany throughout his journey, Scott Steiner, the chief govt officer of Phoebe Putney Well being System, instructed CNN in April.

“The following day, it is after we started seeing individuals coming to our emergency room who have been sick,” Steiner stated. “Two (individuals) the primary day, six the following day, eight the following day, and it simply started to cascade from that time.”

About 20 individuals who attended at the very least one of many funerals contracted the virus

Others have been members of the identical church buildings, Steiner stated.

On March 19, native officers declared a state of emergency, banning neighborhood gatherings of greater than 10 individuals after 4 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported. A stay-at-home order adopted a number of days later.

4 days later, Gov. Brian Kemp positioned a restrict on gatherings statewide. He issued a shelter-in-place order on April 2. At the moment there have been about 4,800 instances In Georgia and 154 deaths, in response to the state division of well being.

Now there are greater than 40,400 instances and at the very least 1,754 deaths.

As of Thursday, Dougherty County has had 1,719 coronavirus instances — 1,912.02 optimistic exams per 100,000 residents. It is one of many highest charges within the state.

The 141 deaths within the county is topped solely by Fulton County and the 396 hospitalizations is behind solely 4 extra populous counties within the Atlanta space.

‘The virus didn’t discriminate’

In the course of the preliminary days of the outbreak, hospital employees struggled to maintain sufferers alive, with no steering about therapies that could be useful, Akers stated.

There isn’t a treatment for Covid-19 and experimental therapies are within the early levels of testing.

“Some sufferers died it doesn’t matter what we did, and we couldn’t change that consequence,” Akers stated. “It didn’t matter in the event that they have been younger or outdated. This virus didn’t discriminate.”

At least 4 states combined numbers from two tests, possibly providing a misleading picture of coronavirus spread

Employees mourned the lack of sufferers who took their final breaths with out household there. They usually cheered for those who made it and bought to go dwelling, she stated.

Akers instructed the committee that they nonetheless want extra protecting tools and there must be extra coordination on a state and federal stage.

Georgia has been criticized for some missteps on its coronavirus web site, together with being considered one of at the very least 4 states that mixed knowledge from various kinds of exams.

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