Phoebe sees major spike in COVID-19 numbers and prepares to implement tighter visitation rules

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

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Albany, Ga. – As of Tuesday morning, these were Phoebe’s COVID-19 numbers:

  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 57
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 16
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 1
  • Total Inpatients Recovered – 3,485
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 394
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 106
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Worth – 1
  • Total Vaccines Administered – 77,148

The number of COVID-19 patients in Phoebe hospitals is up 57% in one week and 335% over the last three weeks.  The positivity rate is also increasing substantially.  Tuesday, Phoebe’s main lab processed more COVID-19 tests (227) and returned more positive results (88) than on any single day since the health system began in-house COVID testing in August 2020.  In addition, there has been a sharp rise in positive rapid tests performed at Phoebe clinics.  Over the first three days of the new year, Phoebe urgent and primary care clinics recorded 254 positive rapid screenings and a positivity rate of 44%.

“We are seeing the explosive growth in COVID infections and hospitalizations that we anticipated in southwest Georgia and throughout the state.  The current transmission rate is clearly outpacing anything we have been through in previous surges,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President & CEO.  “While we planned and prepared for this, we need our community to help our healthcare heroes by taking precautions to prevent spreading the virus, so our hospitals will not be overwhelmed with COVID patients.”

The rising numbers are triggering new visitation restrictions.  Beginning Thursday, patients in Phoebe hospitals will only be allowed two visitors per day and one visitor at a time.  Exceptions and other visitation details will be updated on Phoebe’s website at

Phoebe has also experienced a considerable increase in demand for monoclonal antibody treatments and will likely run out of its supply of the therapies in a matter of days.  “Phoebe invested significant resources to operate one of the largest and most successful monoclonal antibody treatment programs in Georgia,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer.  “We have provided this treatment to more than 4,100 COVID patients, preventing hundreds of hospitalizations, and we have continued to offer the therapy long after many other organizations suspended their efforts.”

The federal government controls the supply of these medications.  Phoebe has requested additional shipments through the state, but with demand increasing across the country, it is unlikely Phoebe will receive large deliveries soon.  “We are currently revising our protocols to ensure, with limited supply, that we are prioritizing patients most at risk for severe illness and hospitalization.  We regret that some patients who currently qualify for the treatment may be unable to receive the therapy in the near future.  We are following CDC guidance and will continue to provide the treatment for as many patients as possible,” Dr. Grant said.