Dr. Black: Going on vacation? Be aware of COVID-19.

Phoebe also sees new residency program graduates

Dr. Black: Going on vacation? Be aware of COVID-19.

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Before you head out on vacation, health experts want to remind you the threat of coronavirus is still out there.

The concern right now is people traveling to big vacation destinations may be infected and bring the virus back to Albany.

Dougherty County has already experienced being an epicenter of the virus and hospitalizations have gone down.

But they haven’t gone away, and doctors certainly don’t want them to go up any, either.

“But do remember that a lot of places we like to vacation are experiencing a sharp increase in numbers,” Dr. James Black, Phoebe emergency medicine physician, said. “So, not everybody is as fortunate as we are right now, and they’re in fact seeing what we saw a couple of months ago.”

Dr. James Black, emergency medicine physician.
Dr. James Black, emergency medicine physician. (Source: WALB)

Black said we were seeing some good news for about a month. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 were finally down after Albany was deemed a hotspot.

“Fortunately, the majority of them aren’t sick enough to require hospitalization, but we do, on average, emit somewhere between three and five a day,” Black said. “So, it hasn’t gone away.”

Now, neighboring states and big vacation destinations, like Florida and South Carolina, are seeing major spikes in cases.

“If we think about when our super spreader events resulted from someone visited from somewhere else, we could easily be the visitor some place else and bring it back home,” Black said. “I want everyone to be aware and be very mindful.”

Black said it is true that it’s not just an older population getting sick from the virus.

“Man, the middle age and younger generation are seeing a dramatic increase in numbers,” Black said. “So, we’re seeing a good spread all across. No longer can you say that because you’re in this age range, you’re at a lower risk.”

Black wants to remind you to wear your face covering and continue to social distance.

He also wants to tell younger people, even though you’re less likely to have to be hospitalized if you get it, to think of your parents or the older generation that could get the virus.

Welcoming in the next group of doctors:

Welcoming in the next group of doctors

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is welcoming new doctors and students during the pandemic.

A new group of students are getting the chance to learn first hand what it really means to save lives.

The Phoebe Family Medicine Residency celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2020 with a virtual ceremony Saturday.

Seven students just graduated from the program after serving the community for three years.

But the last few months, they played important roles on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.

The 2020 graduating class of the Phoebe residency program.
The 2020 graduating class of the Phoebe residency program. (Source: Phoebe)

“If you think about it, our students over the last semester, have done a lot of virtual learning, they’ve been reading a lot about this. So they’re very up to date on the information, now they get to see it in practice. They actually come at a very good time because we’re over our major hump, but we still have the presence of COVID in our community,” said Black.

The hospital system is also welcoming eight new residency students to the program.

Black said this is the perfect time for new students to learn and show what they can do in trying times like these.

The hospital works to keep as many doctors in the program working in South Georgia after graduation.

Copyright 2020 WALB. All rights reserved.