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Summer COVID surge continues

From Phoebe Health Systems

ALBANY – The COVID-19 numbers are continuing to rise here in Southwest Georgia. As of Tuesday, August 10, Phoebe is reporting these updated COVID-19 numbers from its medical facilities in Albany, Sylvester and Americus:Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 101

  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 18
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 1
  • Total Inpatients Recovered – 2,512
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 279
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 71
  • Total Vaccines Administered – 58,613

“While our total number of COVID-19 inpatients dropped today, the decrease was due to a large volume of patient discharges in the last 24 hours.  Our admission rate remains high, with 18 new COVID patients admitted to our hospitals since yesterday morning.  Many of them are younger patients, and 87 percent of our current COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO.  “With schools returning to session and young children unable to get vaccinated, we worry about students contracting and spreading the virus.  We hope schools in our area will follow the CDC recommendation for universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of their vaccination status.”

The average age of Phoebe’s COVID-19 patients is less than 55, with nearly 60 percent of those patients under age 60 and 35 percent under age 50.  Yesterday, Phoebe was caring for one COVID-positive pediatric patient and another patient under age 20.

With every hospital in the region at capacity, and contract staff in limited supply, Phoebe is taking multiple steps to increase staffing resources.  Thirty new certified nursing assistants and safety partners have been hired.  Phoebe is offering incentive pay and bonuses for clinical staff who pick up extra shifts and it has instituted a “helping hands” program, allowing staff to work shifts assisting with non-clinical tasks in patient care areas so the clinical staff can focus solely on caring for patients.

Phoebe has also reinstituted a scoring system for scheduled surgical procedures.  Elective surgeries are not being postponed across-the-board, but the system allows the surgery department to prioritize medically necessary procedures and delay others, freeing up some surgical staff to work on patient floors.

“This is an extraordinary point of the pandemic. Seventeen months ago, when the Albany area was an early hotspot, we were an outlier.  Other hospitals that were not dealing with an onslaught of patients had the ability to help”, said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer.  “That’s not the case now.  All hospitals are operating at capacity.  We need people in our communities to recognize the seriousness of the current situation and do what they can to reduce the spread of the virus by getting vaccinated and wearing masks.”

Southwest Georgians can schedule vaccination appointments by calling 229-312-MYMD (6963).  A list of Phoebe’s upcoming mobile wellness clinic vaccination events, where appointments are not required, is available at www.phoebehealth.com/mobile-wellness.