As Georgia’s cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus surged past 1,000 Tuesday, there were still no reported cases of COVID-19 in Habersham County at press time for The Northeast Georgian.
One case from earlier in the week was reported Tuesday as a Stephens County resident, who is seeking treatment at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
Habersham Medical Center is looking to stay ready if and when one comes here.
CEO Lynn Boggs said Monday that HMC will treat a positive test patient here if needed, rather than passing them on to Gainesville. The hospital has admitted a handful of pending cases, all negative so far.
The hospital staff has been gathering as much personal protective equipment (PPE) as possible to shield against exposure to the virus.
Boggs said the facility has four regular ventilators and 10 “emergency” ventilators on site for helping with the treatment of patients in serious condition from the respiratory ailment.
“We are scrambling for PPE including having community members donate and make masks for us,” Boggs said. “We are running out of gowns, so yes, we have PPE needs and are working closely with all suppliers and the infection control practitioners to find alternatives.”
As reported in The Northeast Georgian on March 20, the hospital is nearly $3 million in the red for the fiscal year 2019-20 so far.
One big reason for that is that some privately insured patients are seeking care outside Habersham County, HMC Vice President Tyler Williams told The Pulse this week. Bad debt and indigent care losses have crippled the facility’s finances.