COVID cases continue to rise; first Monkeypox case identified in Southwest Georgia

Published 11:31 am Friday, July 22, 2022

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

  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 39
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 5
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 3
  • Total Inpatients Recovered – 4,446
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 461
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 126
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Worth – 1
  • Total Vaccines Administered – 80,947

COVID-19 hospitalizations at Phoebe are up slightly over last week, as the 7-day moving average of new confirmed cases in Georgia continues to increase.

“The number of new COVID infections in Georgia has been on a slow but steady rise since early April.  The actual transmission rate during this surge may be even higher that we realize because we believe many people with mild symptoms are testing at home and self-isolating, and their cases are not included in the official state numbers,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer.

The announcement that President Biden tested positive for COVID yesterday further highlighted the fact that the pandemic is not over.

“Even though Pres. Biden is in an age group that puts him at greater risk of severe illness, his prognosis is good because he did everything right.  He is fully vaccinated and boosted, which dramatically decreases his chances of serious complications.  Testing also discovered his infection early, and he was immediately prescribed anti-viral pills that have proven very effective at helping keep patients from getting so sick that they need to be hospitalized,” Dr. Grant said.  “We encourage everyone to test right away, if they develop COVID symptoms, and to talk to their doctor to see if a COVID treatment prescription is right for them.”

As the COVID pandemic continues, monkeypox cases are also on the rise nationwide, and the first case in the Albany area has been indicated by an initial test by the Department of Public Health (DPH), though further confirmatory testing is being conducted by DPH.

“Monkeypox remains rare, and it is not nearly as contagious as COVID.  While we want people to be cautious and aware that the virus is in Georgia, it is not something that should cause great concern,” Dr. Grant said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Anyone experiencing those symptoms should seek medical care and testing.  If they think they may have been exposed to someone with monkeypox, they should inform the medical professionals treating them immediately.

“The risk of exposure to health professionals is relatively low.  The COVID safety protocols we have in place – wearing masks and gloves and practicing proper hand hygiene – should generally be enough to protect a health worker from contracting monkeypox.  The virus typically spreads through direct contact with the rash or body fluids of an infected person, prolonged face-to-face or intimate contact, or by touching items that previously directly touched an infectious rash,” Dr. Grant said.

As of Thursday, the CDC had confirmed nearly 2,600 monkeypox cases in the US, including 158 in Georgia.