Southwest Ga. mom concerned over Phoebe’s return-to-work policy; Phoebe responds to guidelines

Updated: Mar. 25, 2020 at 8:03 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - As of noon Wednesday afternoon, Phoebe Putney reported new numbers in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a new revision to their employee back to work guidelines.

Scott Steiner, Phoebe CEO, said that during the spread of what he said is a “mutated-like virus,” you always want to go to experts who specialize in these types of cases.

To date, the hospital has reported 12 deaths and 173 positive cases. Steiner said the CDC has been the hospital’s No.1 source for information and how to keep employees, as well as patients safe.

Phoebe Putney CEO Scott Steiner
Phoebe Putney CEO Scott Steiner(WALB)

“How do we return someone to work? And the challenge is that the COVID-19 is new. The world has never seen it before and it has been here for about three months in the world. It has been here in Georgia for a couple of weeks. It’s a new process and a new policy and we are trying to get that out as quickly as possible,” Steiner said.

According to Steiner, the Department of Public Health is requiring all Phoebe employees to receive testing for COVID-19. Steiner told WALB why this is a good thing for employees, as well as citizens in Albany.

“The first thing I talk about is safety when I talk about what we do at Phoebe Putney. First, we keep our patients safe and the way we keep our patients safe is by keeping our employees safe. If a health care worker tests positive, they will have to go home and self-quarantine for at least seven days. That is even when they are symptom free. Again, if they have a symptom today, then we send them home immediately and our employee health department checks on them daily,” Steiner said.

The testing is not available to those who aren’t showing any symptoms, according to Steiner.

[ Phoebe coronavirus hotline: (229) 312-1919. ]

Phoebe released a statement Monday letting everyone know about its return-to-work policy for employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials said workers must not have had a fever for three days without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. They said it must be seven days since the person had symptoms.

Phoebe said those testing positive must also report their temperature, and that they’re following CDC guidelines.

One mom said this is something she just can’t wrap her head around.

“I will drive as far as I need to to get to another health care provider. I am not a doctor, I am not a health care professional, I am a concerned mom. But I think someone who is need to look into these policies. If the people who are providing care at Phoebe Putney are giving the coronavirus to patients in the hospital then we got a problem,” said a concerned Southwest Georgia parent.

Phoebe said any symptom-free employees who test positive for the virus will be issued personal protective equipment.

Phoebe also released a new statement Tuesday about its return-to-work policy. The full release is provided below.

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