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Phoebe: August the worst month for COVID-19 admissions

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.(PPMH)
Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 10:33 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe reported they admitted more COVID-19 patients in the month of August than any other month during the pandemic.

They said during August, they had 57 deaths in the health system.

CEO of Phoebe Physicians, Dr. Suresh Lakhanpal said 87 percent of their hospitalized COVID-19 patients weren’t vaccinated.

He said the monoclonal antibody infusion has been a huge success.

If a patient is within 10 days of contracting the virus, they may be able to get the treatment, which can minimize some of the effects.

Dr. Suresh Lakhanpal, CEO of Phoebe Physicians
Dr. Suresh Lakhanpal, CEO of Phoebe Physicians(WALB)

“Phoebe has administered it to over 1,500 people. Ninety-eight percent of those folks did not have to be hospitalized,” said Dr. Lakhanpal.

He said there’s no out-of-pocket expense for the treatment.

He also addressed another drug and the conversations around it.

“Some people have talked about Ivermectin as a treatment. That is a drug used for treating parasites in animals. It has become a hot topic for a potential cure for COVID. It is not. The FDA says it’s not. The CDC says it’s not. We will follow the science,” said Dr. Lakhanpal.

Southwest Health District Director, Dr. Charles Ruis, showed how deaths among unvaccinated people are happening more often around the US.

He presented a graphic showing that breakthrough death cases do happen with vaccinated people, but the majority of those who died were not vaccinated. He said getting the vaccine increases your chance of surviving.

There are breakthrough cases where vaccinated people die, but the majority are unvaccinated
There are breakthrough cases where vaccinated people die, but the majority are unvaccinated

“Those who were vaccinated, some did die. That’s a very very small fraction. The vast majority were those who were unvaccinated,” said Dr. Ruis.

County Commission Chairman Christopher Cohilas stressed the importance of staying home when you feel sick.

He said he understands vaccine hesitancy is still in the community, but it’s one of the best ways to fight the virus.

Christopher Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairmen
Christopher Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairmen(WALB)

“The vast majority of people that are in our hospital right now, that are on a ventilator struggling to breathe, they have to have a machine breathe for them, are not vaccinated,” said Cohilas.

He said another reason to get tested when you feel sick is so you can receive monoclonal antibody treatment.

Going into Labor Day weekend, speakers Friday at the task force meeting urged mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.

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