Visible changes are coming to Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Gainesville campus as COVID numbers continue to decline. The first change will be saying “goodbye” to the mobile medical unit outside the North Patient Tower.
The unit has been there for nearly a year and will be taken down later this month. The state loaned the unit to NGMC last fall to help the hospital manage increased care demands due to COVID-19.
“We’re very thankful for the help the state provided during a critical period of this pandemic,” says John Delzell, MD, MSPH, NGMC’s COVID-19 Incident Commander. “The state requested we return the unit, and timing was right as our number of COVID patients is declining and site prep to build a future patient tower nearby are beginning. We are making other plans to flex our capacity, though, just in case the numbers creep back up.”
The other change is slightly more subtle but has more lasting impacts. The hospital has said that because the pandemic forced more of their patient beds to be turned into critical care. At the peak of the pandemic, NGMC converted existing space to provide critical care, opened new critical care units and added critical care physicians and staff. Now the hospital says, some of those changes will remain permanently. A press statement released from the hospital today says that this means more access to healthcare for community members. “A positive legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic will be increased access to critical care north of Atlanta, according to plans announced by Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS).”
When the pandemic eventually reaches its end, NGMC anticipates operating at least 81 critical care beds in Gainesville and 24 in Braselton on a regular basis – an overall increase of 20 from pre-pandemic levels.
This isn’t the only change coming. Workers are currently renovating space inside the existing North Patient Tower to create a new medical observation unit to handle increased capacity as needed. The 14,000 square-foot space on the ground floor will include 24 observation rooms and support space for staff. The unit is expected to open by the end of the year. Plans for a future tower, currently expected to open in late 2024, including features that will also aid critical care – like rooms designed to easily convert to negative pressure space and be more adaptable based on the level of care a patient needs.
“I’m so proud each member of our team continues to bring their best every day, always finding new ways to adapt and improve the health of our community in all we do,” says Carol Burrell, NGHS president & CEO.
Learn more about all the changes at North Georgia Medical Center by going to nghs.com.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)