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Nurse dies from COVID-19

nwatson@gainesvilletimes.com

A Northeast Georgia Health System licensed practical nurse who tested positive for COVID19 died May 12 after several weeks in critical care.

Deb Stevers, known to her colleagues as “Mama Deb,” died Tuesday morning, according to a statement provided by NGHS president and CEO Carol Burrell.

Stevers joined the health system 15 years ago and worked in the progressive coronary care unit at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

“She took many new nurses under her wing and nurtured them through the early years of their careers. We, and her patients, will miss her friendly spirit and outgoing approach to life,” Burrell said in a statement. “We continue to do all we can to protect our heroes on the front lines of this battle, and they continue bringing their best, every day, to care for our community. There’s no better way to honor Deb’s life and legacy.” NGHS spokesman Sean Couch said 113 employees have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. NGHS employs more than 9,000 people.

The health system reported Tuesday it was treating 112 confirmed positive patients at its four hospitals and New Horizons Limestone, a long-term care facility. The system was treating 135 patients a week ago.

Couch said intensive care units in Gainesville and Braselton were at about 70% capacity. Northeast Georgia Health System reported Tuesday that 44% of the health system’s 108 ventilators were in use.

The system had projected to reach staffing capacity May 22, but Couch said officials are revising that this week and now feel comfortable removing that date from the health system’s website, based on the amount of help coming from the state.

A temporary unit provided by the state is tentatively set to be operational May 20.

Carol Burrell

NGHS president, CEO

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