Dr. Memark: critical care and medical/surgical beds critically low in Cobb, Douglas

Janet Memark speaks at Healthy Start meeting used in article about COVID cases in CobbJanet Memark speaks at Healthy Start meeting (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Dr. Janet Memark, the District Health Director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health distributed a statement that said, among other things about our COVID-19 surge, that critical care and medical/surgical beds are critically low in Cobb and Douglas counties.

We’ve reprinted her statement below:

A Message From Our District Health Director,
Dr. Memark

Good afternoon Cobb and Douglas Counties.

This afternoon, it disheartens me to have to give you the COVID-19 update for our district. Thursday night’s case rates revealed alarming rates of 493/100 thousand cases in Cobb County and 575 cases per 100 thousand in Douglas County! Compound those numbers with percent positives of 12.8% in Cobb County and 19.6% in Douglas County, and we have a severe problem on our hands.
COVID hospitalizations are 7 times what they were in June for Cobb and an incredible 16 times higher in Douglas County. Both Critical Care and Medical /Surgical beds across all of our area hospitals are critically low.

I recently spoke to someone who said to me, “It’s not like the rate of death is that high” with COVID-19. That was a curious statement to me. In 2019, there were 2,854,838 deaths from all causes in the US. In 2020, there were 3,358,814 deaths. At this time, we have 2.4 million people in the hospital from just COVID-19. In many areas throughout the country, there is a critical shortage of hospital beds and nurses to even take care of those patients. Over 90% of those patients are unvaccinated. For those of you following my math, that is 2.1 million unvaccinated COVID patients in the hospitals throughout our nation. It recently took two days for my colleague to get an intensive care bed in one of our area hospitals. It makes me wonder, how will they decide who will get the care when they just don’t have enough nurses or beds to care for everyone that needs them. Will it be the 17-year-old gasping for air from COVID pneumonia, the 55-year-old gentleman suffering from a heart attack, or a 40-year-old involved in a severe motor vehicle accident?  I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope we don’t get to the point when we are asking these questions.
I leave you with the facts of our current state of affairs and implore that each of you make your individual decisions not just for your individual rights, but for the good of our community. Make sure your facts are from reputable sources and not social media sites. Wear your mask in public and get vaccinated. These are two of the only weapons that we have against this pandemic, but remain two of the strongest.

Please be safe and keep our sick and vulnerable in your thoughts, because every death matters…


Janet Pak Memark M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P.
District Health Director
District 3-1: Cobb & Douglas Public Health