6 Phoebe employees test positive for COVID-19, hospital has precautions in place

Phoebe hospital takes measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus among the staff.
Phoebe hospital takes measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus among the staff.(WALB)
Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 at 10:31 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Six Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Now the hospital is taking steps that will not only impact the main hospital but all of the Phoebe hospitals within its system.

“I do not mind, there is no amount of trouble that is too great for you to go through when you are trying to protect your patients and staff,” said Phoebe Medical Director James Black.

Black said the hospital is taking drastic measures to protect the health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a mandatory screening of all people entering in the hospital whether they be patients, staff positions or nurses. Every time we come into the building, we have our temperature checked and anybody who has a fever, they are automatically pulled aside and screened and most likely, if that fever is proved to be true, we do not allow them to come to work,” explained Black.

Dr. Black said not only have they limited visitation in the hospital, but also implemented many safety measures that are in place in all hospital rooms and the emergency entrances.

“We certainly use universal precautions when approaching those patients if we have a patient that has tested positive for the coronavirus, then we automatically notify all staff that may have been involved. And anytime you go in and out of a patient’s room, there is a log that is there for us to keep track of patient stuff and staff who has taken care of each particular patient," said Black

Dr. Black said it all depends on the staff’s interaction with the patient, the amount of exposure and whether or not the employee is showing symptoms.

“Again, if you dropped off a package and did not come inside the room, but you placed it on the counter, then you’re at minimal risk. If you are an on-hand respiratory therapist issuing a breathing treatment, then your risk is significantly higher," said Black.

Black said visitors are cooperating with the new guidelines. Right now, there is no time frame for how long these new measures could be in place.

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