Due to what is believed as widespread adherence to social distancing recommendations and shelter in place orders, the volume of COVID-19 patients seen at Grady has been stable over the last week. Even with this news, Grady is preparing for a surge as the best predictive models show that Georgia will reach its peak of the pandemic near May 1, 2020.

Georgia World Congress Center Temporary Hospital

On Saturday morning, April 18, the state’s new temporary hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) opened, ready for patients. That evening, the first patient arrived. The 200-bed facility is designed to house COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms who need supportive care, but not intensive care. Patients must meet criteria to be transferred to the GWCC from hospitals in the state. While there, Grady will provide laboratory and pharmacy services, in addition to access to our electronic medical record so that privately contracted medical staff can efficiently provide care.

Telehealth Funding

Grady is one of the nation’s first six health systems to receive major funding from the Federal Communications Commission to support its COVID-19 telehealth program. The $727,747 award will be used for video visits, virtual check-ins, remote patient monitoring, and in-hospital e-visits, with the aim of reducing the use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic. In total, $3.23 million was allocated in the first round of funding. The money was earmarked by Congress in the recent CARES Act to help the FCC support the expansion of telehealth services during the coronavirus crisis. Grady was the only health system in Georgia to receive funding in the first round of allocations.

Georgia Poison Center

The Grady-based Georgia Poison Center, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Public Health, has implemented a mass notification system to provide vital information to the public during the COVID-19 crisis. The Punch Alert system allows citizens to sign-up for COVID-19 alerts via text and email, in their preferred language of English or Spanish. The system also allows for general healthcare organization oriented alerts. Development of the system began in early March and go-live was in early April. Sign-up is easy. You can download the Punch Alert app from the app store or Google play and join the Georgia Poison Center. You can also stay up to date by texting one of the following phrases to 77297 – COVIDGAGEN for English messages or COVIDGAESP for Spanish messages.

The poison center is also managing and staffing the state’s COVID-19 telephone hotline, (844) 442-2681, where citizens and medical professionals can get their questions about the virus answered.

Updated Universal Mask Policy

This policy requires all Grady staff members to wear a mask while in the facility, including any patient care areas, elevators, hallways, atriums, and the cafeteria. Additionally, staff are required to wear a mask in any scenario in which they are unable to maintain a safe social distance (at least 6 feet apart) in any other area. This universal mask approach will protect our patients and staff should a healthcare worker or any staff member have asymptomatic infection or develop symptoms at work. Furthermore, it will protect our all staff should they come in close contact with an individual who has asymptomatic infection or who has symptoms not yet been recognized.

Prescription Mail Delivery Program Expansion

Made possible by a gift of $315,000 from the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Grady has expanded its prescription mail delivery program. Identifying patients at greatest risk for COVID-19 who would normally come to Grady to fill their prescriptions, and getting them enrolled in mail delivery enables patients to stay safe and stay home with all of their medications well supplied. In the past three weeks, the number of patients enrolled in the program has increased by over 650%.