Phoebe sees small drop in COVID hospitalizations

Hospital system also gives update on monoclonal antibody treatments
Phoebe will be expanding vaccinations
Phoebe will be expanding vaccinations(PPMH)
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 3:58 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System has seen a minor drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations but also a severe shortage and new guidelines for a COVID treatment, the hospital system in a release on Friday.

Phoebe said the number of COVID patients across the health system dropped slightly since Thursday, but the “total is still up 63% in one week and 311% over the last three weeks.”

“We would like to think our minor overnight drop in COVID inpatients is a sign we have reached the peak of this surge, but that probably is not true,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System CEO and president. “Infections continue to spike across Georgia and around the country. We are likely in the middle of this latest surge and will continue to see rising cases and hospitalizations. Everyone can help slow the spread, by avoiding large gatherings, wearing masks in indoor public spaces and washing their hands often.”

The hospital system said while it has provided monoclonal antibody treatments to nearly 4,400 COVID-19 patients over the last year, “a severe shortage of the medications and new federal guidelines prioritizing who is eligible for the treatment forced Phoebe to place strict limits on who can receive the therapy.”

The hospital system said providing the treatments likely prevented hundreds of hospitalizations.

“We will continue to request additional shipments of these medications, but we do not know how much we may receive or when new supplies may arrive. In the meantime, we must follow prioritization guidelines laid out by the National Institutes of Health,” said Dr. Dianna Grant, Phoebe Putney Health System chief medical officer.

The hospital system said those that now qualify for the treatment are COVID-19 patients who are severely immunocompromised, at least 75 and unvaccinated, or at least 65 and unvaccinated with a clinical risk factor such as cancer, diabetes or heart conditions.

“We regret that we cannot currently provide this treatment to the majority of COVID patients in our community, but these medications are federal assets, and we must follow the federal government’s rules. We have no control over the supply chain or treatment requirements,” Grant said. “If our medication supplies increase and we are able to reopen monoclonal antibody treatments to additional populations, we will certainly let the community and area physicians know.”

The hospital system said it is continuing to urge people to get vaccinated and to receive a booster shot.

“Evidence continues to show that those third doses give your immune system a significant boost as immunity begins to fade. Boosters are certainly effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19, and they are an important tool in our fight against the virus,” Grant said.

Booster shots are available through public health, as well as many pharmacies and clinics, according to Phoebe.

Anyone who wants to schedule a vaccination appointment at a Phoebe clinic or mobile wellness clinic event can call (229) 312-MYMD.

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

  • Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 61
  • Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 17
  • Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 0
  • Total inpatients recovered – 3,495
  • Total positive deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 397
  • Total positive deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 107
  • Total positive deaths from Phoebe Worth – 1
  • Total vaccines administered – 77,148

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