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Metro Atlanta hospital requests National Guard to help with COVID-19 patients

WXIA-TV Atlanta logo WXIA-TV Atlanta 8/26/2021 Jonathan Raymond
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Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Coweta County says it has requested the help of the National Guard in treating a surge of COVID-19 patients arriving at the facility who are "largely unvaccinated."

The hospital said in a statement that it has made a formal request for assistance to Gov. Brian Kemp, and 11Alive's Joe Henke reports that the hospital's chief medical officer told him that request has been granted.

The help could arrive as soon as Friday.

Earlier this week the governor said he was deploying 105 National Guard personnel throughout the state to assist hospitals under the strain of the current COVID surge.

RELATED: 'We are hopeful things will turn': Governor says parts of Georgia might soon reach peak with COVID-19 cases

"The hospital has asked to receive combat medics, who can assist with the high numbers of COVID-19 patients, largely unvaccinated and requiring a higher level of care," the hospital's statement said. "Piedmont welcomes and appreciates the support of the Georgia National Guard so that its facilities can continue to provide safe, patient-centered care to the community."

The hospital added that they are seeing more hospitalizations and deaths among the 18-39 age demographic than in previous surges.

According to Georgia Department of Public Health data, 32.6% of patients in the region including Newnan are currently COVID-19 patients. That is roughly equivalent to the statewide rate of 31.6%, though considerably higher than the 23% registered in the region including Atlanta.

State vaccination data indicate that in Coweta County, 37.1% of residents are fully vaccinated and 42.6% have received at least one dose.

"To help combat this surge, we encourage those who have not been vaccinated to do so quickly, and for everyone to continue wearing a mask, watching your distance and washing your hands," Newnan Piedmont said. 

Statewide, there are more than 5,500 COVID patients according to the most recent DPH data, only slightly fewer than the state's record total back in January. The state reports 43% of residents are fully vaccinated and 50% have received at least one dose.

"These guardsmen will assist our frontline healthcare workers as they provide quality medical care during the current increase in cases and hospitalizations, and I greatly appreciate General Carden and his team for their willingness to answer the call again in our fight against COVID-19,” Gov. Kemp said in a statement earlier this week. “This Georgia National Guard mission is in addition to the 2,800 state-supported staff and 450 new beds brought online I announced last week, at a total state investment of $625 million through December of this year. I continue to urge all Georgians to talk to a medical professional about getting vaccinated.”

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