COVID-19 cases in Sumter County climb to 227, along with nine fatalities

Published 10:35 pm Friday, April 10, 2020

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, as of noon Monday, April 13, the amount of COVID-19 cases in Sumter County has risen to 245 and the total amount of Coronavirus-related deaths in the county has risen to nine.

“We still have over 27 positive patients that we are caring for at our facility. However, we transfer out a fair number of patients because we just don’t have the capacity to meet all of the need, particularly for critical-care patients,” Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO Brandi Lunneborg said during her weekly update on Good Friday, April 10. “I also want to just impress upon everybody that this is a very serious illness. It is not getting any better yet at this point and that there are still a lot of people who need critical care in our community.”

Lunneborg went on to say that part of the challenge that the hospital is dealing with is that they have patients who are there for a very long time. COVID-19 takes a significant recovery period,” said Lunneborg. “Most hospital patients, their average length of stay was three and a half days. Currently, we have many patients who are here now for 17 days or more.”

Lunneborg went on to strongly encourage those in the community to continue to do everything they can possibly do to stay safe because the Coronavirus is not an illness that one recovers from quickly. “It takes a lot of time and it’s a very intense illness,” said Lunneborg.

She went on to say that the hospital has had a number of positive cases that can be traced back to social gatherings (family gatherings, churches, etc.) and that it cannot be stressed enough that people need to practice social distancing and stop having gatherings. “Please don’t hold any gatherings,” said Lunneborg. “We all would love for this to be over as soon as possible, so to do that, everyone needs to do their part and make sure we are following all of the guidelines that have been sent out.”

Lunneborg suggested that people limit their trips to the grocery store and to keep those trips to a minimum. “For example, my family, we are not generally not grocery shopping more than 10 to 12 to 14 days before we go on the next trip so that we can limit and minimize how many exposures that we have,” Lunneborg said. “Keep that six-foot distance. Be patient. Take your time. Abide by what’s on the floor if you have to go to the grocery store. Stay six feet apart. It does definitely limit the transmission from person to person.”

Lunneborg also stated that cloth face masks should be warn by anyone who goes out in public, which has been recommended by both state and local officials. “Please try and do that when you are in public places. It protects everybody,” said Lunneborg.

She went on to say that if someone has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has come down with an illness and has not been tested, that person should not be going out in public at all until he or she is well. However, Lunneborg did advise anyone who is feeling poorly to come to the hospital to be treated. That is the one exception to leave the house.

Due to the anticipation of bad weather during the Easter holiday, Lunneborg stated that there would be no Drive-Thru testing at the hospital until Tuesday, April 14. However, anyone can call during the weekend to schedule an appointment. The hours of the call-in line (229-312-1919) will be opened from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Easter Sunday, April 12.