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Phoebe Sumter CEO Brandi Lunneborg gives weekly COVID update

AMERICUS – In her weekly COVID-19 Facebook update for Sumter County on Friday, August 13, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO Brandi Lunneborg stated that since last week, the COVID-19 transmission throughout Sumter County has increased and that there have been 152 cases in the last two weeks.

Lunneborg’s entire update can be viewed on Phoebe Sumter’s Facebook page.

“We’re continuing to see a very high number of patients testing positive here and around the community,” Lunneborg said. “We now, unfortunately, have 19 hospitalized patients here at Phoebe Sumter. That number has continued to grow and it has been difficult for us to manage.” Lunneborg went on to say that Phoebe Sumter, along with other hospitals across Georgia and other southern states, is struggling with the volume of COVID-19 patients being admitted. As a result, there have been longer delays for admission into the ER and into the hospital in general.

“We’re doing the best we can with the resources that we have,” Lunneborg said. “But we are not alone and all hospitals across the region are generally on divert and are unable to take patients and transfers, so we’re trying to do the best we can with the resources that we have, but that is a limited supply.”

She went on to say that the staff at Phoebe Sumter is up to the challenge and is doing the best it can considering the circumstances, but urged those who have not yet been fully vaccinated to go ahead and do so. “It is the best defense against this disease and it will help keep you out of the hospital,” Lunneborg said. She added that the rate of Sumter County citizens who are getting vaccinated is going up, but at a very slow pace. “We’ve added another one percent of people partially vaccinated by those of you who have gone out and gotten vaccinated over the last week. Thank you very much,” Lunneborg said. “If we could see that number begin to climb by the five to 10 percent minimum per week, that would make a very big difference for us as a community.” She went on to say that for those who would like to make an appointment with Phoebe Sumter to get vaccinated, they could call 229-312-6963.

There are several Phoebe clinics where people can get vaccinated, including the pediatric clinic., where kids ages 12 to 18 can get the vaccine.

Lunneborg went on to say that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announce its emergency authorization for approval of booster shots has been approved for immunal compromised patients. “We are reviewing the government’s information and instructions right now for vaccine providers,” Lunneborg said. “I don’t have anything I can announce from a roll out standpoint yet, but as soon as Phoebe has it processed and is ready to accept those patients, we will communicate that out to the community.”

Also, Lunneborg reminded the community that there will be a vaccination event on Saturday, August 14 at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The church is located at 410 Cotton Avenue in Americus. “If you want to get vaccinated, you do not need an appointment,” Lunneborg said. “Our mobile unit will be there providing vaccines, so feel free to come and get your vaccination at that event. We’d love to see you there.”

Lunneborg also stated that the hospital has seen requests for monoclonal antibody infusions increase this past week. “We’ve more than doubled our capacity throughout the week to provide that service to patients who have been diagnosed and have high risk factors for severe illness from COVID-19,” Lunneborg said. “We will continue to try to do that. You still need a provider to give you a referral to receive service and you need it within 10 days of symptom onsets.”

Lunneborg stated that this treatment continues to be the best defense from hospitalization once someone has contracted the virus.

Lunneborg finished her update by encouraging everyone to say safe, continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated and that by doing those things, the virus can be contained from spreading.