Courtesy Stephen Fowler/GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp said he would deploy an additional 2,500 Georgia National Guard troops to hospitals overwhelmed by unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

Kemp said during an Aug. 30 press conference that the troops would assist hospital staffs with non-medical duties. Last week, the governor sent more than 100 medical personnel from the Guard to assist at hospitals inundated with COVID-19 patients around the state.

“The numbers do not lie: 95 percent of the people in the hospital with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated,” Kemp said at the press conference. “And I would urge you to do that. That is what we need to unite and focus on instead of having different mandates and all that.”

Kemp continues to resist mask mandates or to impose any new restrictions on businesses or gatherings.

The governor said he realized that some Georgians will not get vaccinated, but warned that they risked being on a ventilator or death for refusing the inoculation.

“You run the risk of being on a ventilator for two or three weeks and then dying,” Kemp said. “And that is the decision that everyone’s going to have to make.”

Georgia Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey decried the harassment of public health workers by the anti-vaxxers who have showed up at events around the state. She said a vaccination event in North Georgia was shut down after a crowd of anti-vaxxers disrupted the event.

“This is absolutely wrong,” Toomey said. “These people are giving their lives to help others and to help us in the state. We in Georgia can do better.”