Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:24PM

NGHS reports 111 COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths

By AccessWDUN staff

Northeast Georgia Health System reported Monday evening it had 111 COVID-19 patients and 15 deaths, but it cautioned the peak has not been reached in Northeast Georgia.

The news came as Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans to partially reopen the state’s economy starting Friday by allows gyms, fitness centers, barber shops, hair salons and some other indoor businesses to open, provided they follow social distancing and other guidelines. 

The numbers released Monday by the health system will be updated each day by 1 p.m., officials said.

“It’s true that we have some capacity for patients today, but that is extremely likely to change,” Clifton Hastings, chief of staff at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, said. “The only way to lessen the likelihood of our hospitals being overwhelmed is for people to continue following expert recommendations to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and isolate if you develop symptoms.”

Intensive care unites at the Gainesville and Braselton hospitals are operating between 60 percent and 80 percent of capacity, and Michael Covert, NGHS chief operating officer, said the units would likely have been overrun had the hospital not increased capacity from 91 beds to 134 beds.

“We look forward to adding 20 more beds when a mobile ICU unit granted by the state arrives on May 5,” Covert said. “We have also increased the number of medical/surgical beds across all four hospitals from 474 to 522, and we have a total of 108 ventilators across the health system.”

Kemp’s announcement to partially reopen parts of the state’s economy comes after pressure from some lawmakers and citizens, who complained that the shelter-in-place order has caused serious harm to the state’s economy. But hospital officials insist the virus remains a real threat to public health.

“Some people may think we are overstating the seriousness of the situation, and they’re anxious to get back to ‘business as usual,’” Carol Burrell, president and CEO, said. “But our physician leaders, clinical experts and objective data all tell us now is not the time to relax. Rather, now is the time to continue to take every precaution we can. … “We know people are tired of staying home, but this is about saving as many lives as possible.”

People can continue to get the latest information about what they need to do if they feel sick, how NGHS is responding to the pandemic and how the community can help at

Here are the numbers released by NGHS:

Confirmed positive patients currently being treated = 111

  • NGMC Gainesville = 73
  • NGMC Braselton = 13
  • NGMC Barrow = 6
  • NGMC Lumpkin = 3
  • New Horizons Limestone = 16
  • Patients awaiting test results = 79
  • Total deaths = 15

Hall County Specific Data from NGHS Records (including Longstreet Clinic)

  • Total confirmed positive cases = 785
  • Total deaths = 8
  • Case rate = 377 cases per 100K people

The number of deaths at NGHS facilities is higher than the Hall County specific numbers because some patients treated by the hospitals live in other counties.

While this information is shared with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) each day, it may not match what is available on the Georgia DPH website due to a lag in how the information is verified and updated.

Despite the reporting lag, Georgia DPH currently lists Hall County as having the sixth-highest number of positive cases in the state – more than any other county outside of Metro Atlanta and Albany. The NGHS case rate of 377 per 100K people also puts Hall County in DPH’s most severe category.

“Keep in mind, due to challenges that still exist with testing, we are confident that even our latest data doesn’t truly reveal all cases that exist in our community,” Supriya Mannepalli, head of NGMC’s infection prevention and control committee. “It’s a certainty there are more people with COVID-19 in our region who haven’t been tested and aren’t showing any symptoms.”

NGHS also has a predictive model – which applies widely respected methodology developed by the University of Pennsylvania to real-time data from NGHS – which currently shows COVID-19 activity may eventually outpace the health system’s capacity.


  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Northeast Georgia Health System, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, coronavirus
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