A Southeast Georgia Health System official says a united effort is needed to effectively combat COVID-19.

The number of patients receiving treatment for the virus remained high at 129 at the health system’s Brunswick hospital and 15 at the St. Marys hospital Thursday.

The number of COVID-related deaths in Glynn and Camden counties since July 1 stood at 121 as of Sept. 6. A total of 305 lives have been lost in the two counties since the virus first surfaced in this region of the coast in 2020.

“Sadly, although it has slightly improved in recent days, our community continues to experience high transmission rates of COVID-19 and, due to the severity of symptoms from the Delta variant, we have an extremely high census of patients who are very ill,” said Christy Jordan, the health system’s vice president, general counsel/governmental affairs. “(Thursday’s) census of COVID-19 patients on the Brunswick campus is 129 and there are 15 on our Camden Campus.

“We are doing everything we can to treat these patients but while many of them do improve and are able to return home to recover, many patients are unable to overcome this horrible virus and the number of COVID-19-related deaths has continued to increase during the past few months. ...This is devastating. Our hearts and prayers go out to these families as well as to our staff who are caring for the patients.”

It’s a unique situation that requires a communitywide effort to manage.

“This virus is unlike anything any of us have ever experienced, and our health care team is pleading with the community to please get vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones and our entire community,” Jordan said. “Please also continue to practice social distancing, frequent hand washing and wear a mask when in public, in large groups and when around others who are not vaccinated.

“It’s up to us to end this virus and we can only do it by being united and working together. Protecting ourselves against COVID-19 is not a political battle. It’s about caring for each other and choosing to make a difference so we and our children can return to doing the things we love without the fear of becoming ill.”

Ginger Heidel, risk communicator with the eight-county Coastal Health District, says it’s too soon to know if the district has seen the peak of the COVID-19 surge.

“We have seen a slight decline in transmission rates over the last few days,” she said. “However, this could be the result of delays in reporting over the holiday weekend rather than a true decrease. Also, Labor Day travel and gatherings could fuel another increase in cases.”

Heidel said the virus is taking a heavy toll on Georgia, attributable to date to more than 20,400 deaths.

“Over the long holiday weekend, we recorded 220 deaths in Georgia, which is similar to January peak levels,” she said.

“The bottom line is our communities are still experiencing extremely high transmission rates and hospitalizations. Most of these cases were preventable because they occurred in vaccine-eligible individuals who had not been vaccinated.”

Heidel urges individuals age 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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