Six major Atlanta metro health systems have issued a joint statement on the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 patients at their facilities.

The systems that signed the press release are Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare, Grady Health System, Northeast Georgia Health System, Piedmont Healthcare, and Wellstar Health System.

The press release is reproduced below:

Atlanta – Six major healthcare systems that serve the Atlanta metro and the state of Georgia have come together to address the public regarding the latest impacts of COVID-19 and the result of the rapid spread of the Delta and Omicron variants.

Atlanta Children’s Health Care, Emory Healthcare, Grady Health System, Northeast Georgia Health System, Piedmont Healthcare and Wellstar Health System are once again experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of adults and children with symptoms and diagnoses of COVID-19. Collectively, healthcare systems have seen a 100-200% increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in the past eight days and the vast majority of hospital patients are not vaccinated. This comes at a time when health systems are bracing for an influx of patients with seasonal flu.

Emergency room activity has also increased dramatically for emerging and non-emergency situations, including those seeking a COVID-19 test without the need for additional care or treatment. To keep emergency rooms available to people with the most critical health needs, people should seek care at the most appropriate medical facility for their condition and look for COVID-19 tests at places of primary care, public health and mass testing sites or use at home test kits.

As hospitals in Metro Atlanta and across Georgia have implemented best practices to actively manage capacity and provide high-quality patient care, we need the public’s help and support. . Doing the following will help us all navigate this important wave, minimize serious illness and hospitalizations from COVID, and better manage emergency room diversions and wait times at our facilities:

  • Get the full COVID-19 vaccine, get the COVID-19 booster when eligible, and get the seasonal flu shot.
  • Go to the most appropriate medical facility for your condition when you need treatment, and get treatment early if you need immediate medical attention. Remember, emergency rooms are for those seeking examination and treatment for medical emergencies, not for routine COVID-19 testing or mild symptoms.
  • Please only call 911 in a real emergency. Local 911 operators and paramedics are inundated with calls, so if there is no real emergency, please call your health care provider for advice.
  • Use home test kits, public health testing sites, or independent testing facilities if you need to be tested for COVID-19, unless you are sick and need medical attention. For routine COVID-19 testing, you can find a location near you on the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website at: dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting.
  • Consult your provider for the appropriate treatment options if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Continue to actively follow CDC and DPH guidelines and practice “3W” safety precautions: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
  • Anticipate increased wait times for medical services. Due to the influx of patients and the increased demands placed on our healthcare staff, we ask all who enter our facilities to be patient and kind to each other and to our team members who provide expert and compassionate care.

The health and safety of our patients and our communities remains our top priority. The six health systems in Metro Atlanta will continue to work together to educate and inform the public about COVID-19 and address the most critical health needs impacting our region. We would also like to express our gratitude to the Governor for supporting our workforce and the newly announced funding to address staffing shortages in state hospitals due to COVID-19, and the Department of Health. Georgia Public for continued public awareness of issues affecting our patients, healthcare team members and the community.