Sumter County experiences first two deaths from COVID-19

Published 9:54 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – Phoebe Sumter Medical Center announced on Friday, March 27, that two patients being treated for the COVID-19 Virus at the hospital have died of the disease. These are the first two COVID-19 fatalities in Sumter County.

“It is with great sadness that we send out our hearts to those families and we really hope that they are able to find some peace in their time of grief,” said Brandi Lunneborg, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO. “This is a very serious disease and we continue to do our very best to provide great care, but we hope they understand that we did our very best.”

Lunneborg also stated on Friday that at that time, there were 23 patients with suspected cases of COVID-19 in the hospital. According to Luneborg, that number increased from last week’s total and it continues to rise. For those who have been tested and are still waiting for their test results, Lunneborg says that the hospital is hoping in the near future to run its own on-site testing to speed up the turnaround time.

“For now, to make sure you know what’s going on, if you’ve been tested, we are calling proactively everybody who is pending results and just checking on you every couple of days to make sure you’re doing all right,” said Lunneborg in a Facebook message on the hospital’s Facebook page. “It has been taking longer than we expected, so it’s just an extra service that we’re providing to make sure you know what’s going on while you are waiting for your test results.”

Lunneborg went on to say that the hospital will continue to suspend visitation at least through next week and that they will evaluate that every week. “We know that’s an inconvenience for everybody, but we can’t go back to business as usual while this situation continues as it is today. We appreciate your patience and understanding,” said Lunneborg. “We’ve been offering Drive-Thru testing as well now for this past week. The volumes haven’t been extremely high, which is actually a very good thing, so we’re cutting back some of the hours on the Drive-Thru testing site.” Lunneborg went on to say that those who would like to be tested via Drive-Thru can call the COVID-19 Hotline from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to get an appointment. The COVID-19 Hotline number is 229-312-1919. “We will be providing testing through the weekend from 9 a.m. through 12 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday,” said Lunneborg. “Starting Monday, our hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the week and we’ll see how we need to adjust from there. ”

Lunneborg finished her Facebook statement by urging everyone to continue social distancing, hand washing and staying home. “The best things that you can do right now is to continue to try to stay healthy and avoid contracting this illness,” said Lunneborg. “That’s the best efforts that you can make so please, keep doing that for us. We’re here for you.”