COVID cases on the uptick in LaGrange

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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Although it’s nowhere near what it was at its peak, cases of COVID-19 have been rising in LaGrange the last few weeks.

Coleman Foss, president of Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center, said the hospital has seen an average of 6 to 9 patients hospitalized at one time, but he said there have been very few cases where a person was deathly sick. He noted one death in recent weeks, but that patient had other comorbidities to go along with COVID-19.

“The bigger issue for us is the workforce,” Foss said. “We are seeing very, very few extreme cases of COVID… It is pervasive again in the community and our team members are being exposed to it.”

With the WGMC staff being exposed, Foss said they’ve had to overcome absences where they were short-staffed.

The hospital has not enforced any mask mandates, though employees are masking up on floors of the hospital where a lot of employees are sick and where COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.

Foss said he hopes that future variants remain weak, such as the current dominant strain.

“There will be variants that are worse than others,” he said. “Hopefully, it continues to be diluted and not as severe as that first round or the Omicron round was. But I think it’s here forever.”

Nationwide, emergency room visits — one noted measurement of COVID — have trended down in recent weeks, leading health experts to hope that the summer rise in cases may be over.

The Center for Disease Control recommended the newest, updated COVID shot from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna last week. The shots are now available nationwide.

“Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death,” the press release from the CDC said.

“Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration.  If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter.”