Phoebe reaches record high COVID hospitalizations

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.(PPMH)
Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 12:35 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System is now seeing a record high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations — shattering a previous record from an April 2020 surge.

On Friday, CEO and President Scott Steiner said the hospital system is carrying for 199 COVID-19 patients, which is “significantly more than our previous peak last April when our area was one of the worst COVID hotspots in the world.”

In the last week, the hospital system has seen a 50% increase in COVID patients and nine additional deaths.

“Our resources are being stretched like never before. If people in our community expect there to be a hospital bed for them when they need it, they need to help us slow the spread of the virus,” Steiner said. “Too many people are attending large gatherings with few, if any, safety precautions, and right now, that’s just dangerous. The current dominant strain of the virus is much more contagious than previous strains. It is running rampant through our communities, and we need everyone to get vaccinated, wear masks and socially distance to try to get this thing under control.”

As of Friday, these are Phoebe’s latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 161
  • Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 34
  • Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 4
  • Total inpatients recovered – 2,544
  • Total positive deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 291
  • Total positive deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 72
  • Total vaccines administered – 59,135
Scott Steiner is the CEO and president of Phoebe Putney Health System.
Scott Steiner is the CEO and president of Phoebe Putney Health System. (PPMH)

The hospital system recently stopped all elective procedures at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

The hospital system said hundreds of Phoebe employees have signed up for the system’s Helping Hands program.

The program allows “clinical and non-clinical staff, who do not typically take part in direct patient care, to work assistive shifts in clinical areas.”

“We’ve had tremendous interest in this program,” said Joe Austin, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital CEO. “Our employees really are pulling together to do whatever it takes to serve our patients, and their work is freeing up our bedside care teams to focus solely on the patients.”

The hospital system is encouraging those that have tested positive for the virus to quarantine.

On Friday, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) opened a drive-thru testing site at on Phoebe North’s campus at 804 13th Ave. The initial hours of operation will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. from Friday, Aug. 20-Sunday, Aug. 22. On Monday, Aug. 23, the site will be open 7 days a week from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Results should be available 24-48 hours after the screening.

“We are extremely grateful that our health department is stepping up to meet this need. Phoebe will continue to offer COVID-19 tests at our urgent care and primary care clinics, but recent demand has been overwhelming, and we encourage people to use this new DPH site,” said Dr. Dianna Grant, Phoebe Putney Health System chief medical officer. “It is imperative that people do not go to an ER simply to seek a COVID test. No one should hesitate to go to an ER if they need emergency care, but please do not add volume to already overstressed emergency centers for testing or other non-emergency care.”

Dr. Dianna Grant is the Phoebe Putney Health System chief medical officer.
Dr. Dianna Grant is the Phoebe Putney Health System chief medical officer. (WALB)

The hospital system also encouraged those that tested positive for COVID-19 to look into getting monoclonal antibody infusions at Phoebe. Treatment can be scheduled by a physician referral.

Phoebe has also initiated a self-referral process for COVID-19 patients who do not receive their positive COVID results directly from a physician. Those patients can start the process by calling (229) 312-MYMD. Soon, Phoebe will begin infusion therapy for pediatric COVID patients — those 12-17 — at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

To schedule a vaccine appointment, call (229) 312-MYMD.

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