Piedmont Columbus Regional preparing for possible fourth wave of COVID virus

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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The top executive at Columbus’ largest hospital tells News 3 they are preparing for another wave of the COVID virus.

In the last week COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone up slightly in Columbus.

On April, 28th there were 44 people hospitalized with COVID in the two Columbus hospital systems, Piedmont Columbus Regional and St. Francis Emory Healthcare.

By Wednesday, that number was 53.

Piedmont Columbus Regional CEO Scott Hill has led the city’s largest hospital through three wave and 14 months of the COVID crisis.

“We are actively preparing for a fourth surge,” Hill told News 3 in an exclusive interview.

They will not say how many COVID patients are at Piedmont, a policy that has been in place since the pandemic began. But Wednesday, 53 people were hospitalized for COVID in Muscogee County. Throughout the crisis, the majority have been in Piedmont.

“And everyone is keeping a really close eye on the numbers and the trending nationwide,” Hill said. “We have so much more data right now. We can look at positivity rates by county in the state of Georgia. You can look at testing rates by county and you can see what counties are testing more. And what counties aren’t testing as much. And the counties that are testing more if positivity rates follows you can expect to see more disease and more hospitalizations.”

With everything opening back up, Hill knows there is a cringe-worthy element to talking about yet another surge.

“To say a fourth surge is not meant to scare anybody right now,” Hill said. “Statistically if we don’t get our vaccination rate nationwide or even locally up to where it needs to be we are not going to see the immunity we need to see to see the disease go away.”

And that creates additional hospitalizations and disease.

“We are keeping a really close eye on things, and we are trying to apply the lessons learned, both locally and system-wide across the first three surges to make sure that if a fourth surge does come, we have a better response,” Hill said. “We’re always trying to learn and get better.”

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