Total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sumter County climbs past the 300 mark with 14 deaths

Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 17, 2020

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – At 6:28 p.m. on Friday, April 17, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sumter County has surpassed the 300 mark and that a total of 14 citizens of the county have died of the disease. The West Central Health District also reported that 14 people in Sumter County have succumbed to the Coronavirus.

“Sumter County is the 57th (out of 159) most populous county in Georgia, but we are now the ninth highest county in Georgia for positive cases and we don’t want to move any higher up the list,” said Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO Brandi Lunneborg. “Over the last week, we had 96 new positive cases, so this is not over. Social Distancing and other measures are still very important to reducing new cases and returning life to some version of normalcy.”

In her weekly Coronavirus update on the hospital’s facebook page, Lunneborg also stated that over 1,000 people have been tested at Phoebe Sumter and that 25 people are being treated for the Coronavirus at the hospital. Lunneborg urged everyone to continue to practice Social Distancing, to wash their hands and to perform other measures in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Lunneborg reiterated how important it is to continue to perform the necessary measures to stop the spread of the disease by providing a sobering statistic.

“Our data continues to show that about 20 percent of patients become very seriously ill, but unfortunately, if you’re very seriously ill and you require ventilator support, the recovery rate is 30 percent or less,” said Lunneborg. “While many don’t get seriously ill, those who do, it’s a bad situation, so continue to be very vigilant about your social distancing, staying only with those in your household, making sure that you’re washing your hands very thoroughly, regularly, wearing a mask in public, all of those measures are important for us to continue to do.”

Lunneborg stated that she understands that the hospital’s visitation suspension continues to be very challenging for the patients, their families and the community, but added that the hospital continues to do video visits, which in her words, have proven to be very successful.

The hospital has also set up a phone line that families can call to get an update on their loved ones. That number is 229-931-7140. Lunneborg stated that according to HIPPA requirements, the hospital can only release information about a patient’s health to their primary contact on their medical record, but if the primary contact person would like to speak to the hospitalist that is caring for his or her love one, they can call 229-931-7140 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to request to speak to the hospitalist. The hospitalist will then return that call when it is possible to do it and give an update. “We hope that will again help people keep up with what’s happening with their loved one and give you some peace of mind while we continue to care for them while they’re here,” said Lunneborg.

As she has done every week, Lunneborg expressed her heart-felt appreciation and gratitude for the support that the community of Americus and Sumter County has shown the hospital and its staff throughout this crisis.

“Here at the hospital, we’re continuing to work very hard to take care of our community,” said Lunneborg. “I again appreciate everything everyone is doing to support our team here. The generosity for donations and food and thank you cards and everything really means a lot to everyone. We, in turn, are wanting to make sure you know what you need to know to stay safe and healthy so that hopefully, you don’t have to come visit us.”