Phoebe now caring for fewer COVID patients
Hospital system urges caution towards omicron variant
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - On Friday, Phoebe Putney Health System said its hospitals are caring for fewer COVID-19 patients than at any time since the pandemic started.
“That is certainly exciting news worth celebrating, said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System CEO and president. “We know, however, our COVID fight is not over. While transmission rates are low in southwest Georgia right now, COVID cases are increasing at a concerning rate in many parts of the country. It is likely just a matter of time before that trend reaches our area. We are preparing for and expecting a post-holiday increase in cases, and we urge everyone to get vaccinated and be cautious during holiday gatherings to help minimize any potential surge.”
Phoebe said research is underway to learn more about the Omicron variant.
“Omicron has more mutations than any other identified variant, meaning it could be more effective at evading the immune system. That could make people who have already had COVID more vulnerable to re-infection,” said Dr. Dianna Grant, Phoebe Putney Health System chief medical officer. “Vaccines may also be somewhat less effective against this variant, though early data show vaccines still provide good protection against serious illness. Early research also shows those who have received booster shots have much stronger defenses against any COVID variant.”
Grant said relatively low vaccination rates in southwest Georgia put the region at greater risk of another surge of COVID cases.
“In a month or two, we don’t want to see a hospital full of COVID patients once again and look back saying, ‘we could have avoided this if more people had been vaccinated.’ And we continue to encourage people to wear masks in public settings, wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing to help us reduce transmission of the virus,” Grant said.
Vaccine appointments can be scheduled by calling (229) 312-MYMD.
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