Georgia ICU Beds Now at 95 Percent Capacity as State's COVID Death Toll Exceeds 20K

Just over 95 percent of Georgia's intensive care unit (ICU) beds have reached full capacity as COVID-19 infections and death rates continue to soar, according to the state's department of health.

In its latest report released Friday, the Georgia Department of Health said that 95.3 percent of ICU beds across the state are now in use. The new numbers come just days after Georgia surpassed a grim milestone by reporting that over 20,000 people have died from the virus since the pandemic first began.

According to the health department, over 80 percent of emergency department beds are occupied throughout the state, while 86.6 percent of general inpatient beds are being used. Of the state's 14 regions, five are already over ICU capacity, with ICU beds in some parts of west Georgia reporting as high as 115.4 percent capacity, according to WSB-TV.

In total, at least 5,893 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Georgia, as the state battles one of its highest rates of virus transmission due to the highly contagious Delta variant. On Friday, the state reported a 7-day average of 10,631 new cases per day, more than double that of a month earlier when the average was 4,570, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The health department confirmed an additional 106 deaths on Friday, pushing the state's total toll to 20,041. But that count could soon climb higher, as the state estimates there are another 3,079 "probable" COVID-19 deaths.

"It is tragic but not surprising that we have surpassed this grim milestone of 20,000 COVID deaths in our state," said Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Toomey added that 97 percent of recent COVID-19 deaths in the state have been among unvaccinated individuals, calling the loss of life "preventable."

As of Sunday, just 42 percent of Georgia's population has been fully vaccinated, a number that falls well below the national rate of 53 percent.

Earlier this week, an unvaccinated 33-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Georgia pleaded with his friends and family to get vaccinated before he succumbed to the virus.

"There is something I want everyone to do for me that I was too damn stubborn to do and that's if you haven't yet done so go get your COVID vaccine," wrote Kevin McKenzie.

Dr. Thomas Bat, CEO of North Atlanta Primary Care, a large practice with 16 clinics throughout metro Atlanta, told the Journal-Constitution on Friday that the number of COVID-19 patients has risen rapidly in recent weeks.

"We are so tired of seeing patients sick. We are tired of all of the suffering," Bat told the news outlet.

"I wish everyone could see what we see, the effects of COVID, how a person who used to be so active, a person with so much strength and energy has chronic fatigue, can't catch their breath. We are tired of it. And then we wake up and find out half of the people won't take the vaccine. Our message is we are in this together. Please go get vaccinated."

COVID-19 Georgia
Over 95 percent of Georgia's ICU beds are at full capacity, as the coronavirus continues to soar across the state. Here, people get tested for COVID-19 at a free walk-up testing site on July 11, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images