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LRMC says facility full

The Coastal Courier recently reached out to Liberty Medical Regional Center, who confirmed they have been overwhelmed with the recent spike in Covid cases.

Rene Harwell who is the hospital’s Director of Community Outreach offered this response.

“Thank you for contacting me on behalf of Liberty Regional Medical Center. Our CEO, Tammy Mims, states that our Medical Surgical floor (in-patient floor) is full and we have 32 patients in the ER with 16 of the patients holding in the ER for admission. (Keep in mind we are a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital.) Fortunately, now we believe we have every patient on a stretcher; however, we did have the need to use cots earlier in the week when we ran out of hospital beds and stretchers due to the volume of patients.”

Harwell said the spike in COVID cases including the Delta variant, and other ailments patients are experiencing and seeking treatment for has overwhelmed the staff.

“Our emergency room has been full since this latest spike in COVID-19,” Harwell said. “In addition to COVID patients we, of course, continue to have emergencies with patients coming in who have non-COVID related illnesses as well.”  

Just recently LRMC Director of Nursing Donna Cochrane was interviewed live on CNN saying the recent spike has overwhelmed their staff and resource.

Harwell wanted the public to be aware there are other alternatives for treatment for less serious cases such Liberty Regional Medical Center’s Walk-In Clinic located at the hospital, open Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm, for non-emergent cases.  

Harwell said no appointments are necessary except for COVID vaccines. Call 912-369-9310 to schedule an appointment for a vaccine. Patients may also seek care with their primary care physicians.

According to Harwell, Liberty Regional Medical Center also offers Monoclonal Antibody Infusion for COVID patients and it is administered by appointment as well.  Harwell said, “The patient’s physician should write an order and contact the LRMC Pharmacy for the necessary form so an appointment can be scheduled right away.”

At the City of Hinesville Council meeting held Sept. 2, the City reported having have six active cases of COVID-19 among City employees and three employees on quarantine. The community transmission index was 1,893 as of Sept. 1, more than double the previous. 

They reported that 24 percent of Liberty County residents are fully vaccinated (14,894). Twenty-nine percent (17,493) have received at least one dose.

During the weekly Covid update presented by Liberty County on their Facebook page on Sept. 1, County Administrator Joey Brown said all non- emergency surgeries have been cancelled and that the county requested extra ventilators but the hospital doesn’t have the sufficient staff to man those new ventilators at this time.  Brown said 98 percent of the Covid patients at LRMC were unvaccinated. 

Brown said they had an abundance of emergency calls which overwhelmed their EMS system. He explained what occurs when EMS is needed but the hospital has no space. 

“They (EMS) are going to come and they are going to assess you,” he said. “If you are transported to the hospital that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to hop above somebody else that is already waiting there. The hospital will also do an assessment.”

He said when an ambulance arrives at the hospital and there are no beds or space the EMS unit must stay parked at the hospital with the patients until an opening is made. He said that means other emergency calls and their time to respond to them, is delayed.

“You need to understand that how that affects you potentially,” Brown said. “And certainly, how it is affecting our hospital staff and our EMS staff.” 

Brown said all hospitals in the area are full and on diversion.

Diversion is a term specific to ambulance transports and is used to request that EMS personnel transport patients to other local facilities if possible, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

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