South Ga. doctors discuss COVID-19 cases, symptoms they’re seeing

Monoclonal antibody treatment given at SGMC has helped patients recover from COVID.
Monoclonal antibody treatment given at SGMC has helped patients recover from COVID.(WALB)
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) brought a group of doctors with a common goal together on Friday.

The goal is to educate the public about COVID-19 and try to beat it.

Dr. Mathew Varn practices at Griner Medical Group and sees patients at SGMC. He said people are worried about the vaccine when they should be worried about the virus.

“This is someone I’ve known for a while at the clinic, I’ve treated as a patient, who looked at me a month prior and said, no they didn’t want it, and now they’re struggling to breathe. You can almost see the regret in them because this is completely preventable at this point,” said Dr. Varn.

Varn said that although nothing is 100%, he said data supports the fact that vaccines prevent hospitalizations and severe symptoms.

“I wish people could see what I see. It would make things a lot more clear,” said Dr. Varn.

Varn said a lot of the younger patients are declining the vaccine and testing positive for COVID. He said they’re citing misinformation found online as to why they refuse to get the shot.

Another physician at SGMC family medicine, Dr. Laura Guadiana Sanchez, said calls from patients who are worried about symptoms have increased.

“Here in the last few weeks, it’s just been almost every day I’m testing and almost every day I’m getting positives,” said Dr. Sanchez.

Coughing, shortness of breath and allergy-like symptoms have been common. Sanchez said fatigue and body aches can alert you that it’s not a typical allergy. Loss of taste and smell is not as common this time around.

For peace of mind, she suggests that you get a COVID test at the first sign of symptoms.

Dr. Ben Hogan has his own clinic and he said he’s seen a lot more school-aged kids with symptoms.

He encourages everyone to get the shot, not just for their family but for others.

“There also needs to be a certain amount of social consciousness about this stuff. Could you get someone else’s parents sick? Could you get someone else’s grandparents sick? And people need to take that into consideration,” said Dr. Hogan.

Doctors said everyone should continue to practice good hygiene, avoid touching your face and wear masks.

These doctors all have one common message, communicate with your primary provider for information on the COVID vaccine, and now is the time.

SGMC will host a COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru event at the Smith Northview Campus Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, click here.

As of Friday morning, SGMC reported having 13 more COVID-19 cases than it had on Thursday.

WALB News 10 was told there are currently no capacity issues, but if numbers increase, the hospital is prepared to expand its Intensive care unit.

SGMC has also opened its COVID-19 Treatment Center for positive patients who can receive monoclonal antibody infusion treatment.

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