Grady Hospital

Atlanta’s emergency rooms and intensive care units are packed and many are turning away or diverting patients to other hospitals in the metro area as COVID-19 cases surge.

The highly contagious delta variant of the virus has cut a swath through Georgia, which continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with only 39 percent of the population inoculated.

The latest stats from the Georgia Coordinating Center website, which tracks patient distribution at state hospitals, showed just how overwhelmed hospitals in Fulton and DeKalb are.

As of Monday evening, Aug. 9, Grady Hospital in Downtown was on “total diversion,” meaning its ICU and emergency room were full. Emory University Hospital Midtown was listed as “severely crowded” with its ICU at saturation level, which is the level before diversion begins.

Piedmont Hospital, Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center and Northside Hospital were also diverting ICU and ER patients due to severe overcrowding.

In DeKalb County, both Emory’s main campus hospital and Decatur satellite were showing severe crowding, but were not yet on diversion at the time this story was posted.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there’s been more than 10,000  new cases of COVID diagnosed since Friday.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told WSB-TV that the state would assist overwhelmed hospital by continuing a program started last year to help fund additional medical personnel at overcrowded hospitals.

Kemp, who let the public health state of emergency expire last month and continues to oppose any type of mask mandate, said there were no plans to reopen the overflow hospital at the World Congress Center in Downtown.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.