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Phoebe seeing ‘sharp increase’ in COVID hospitalizations

Phoebe Putney Health System said it is seeing a “sharp increase” in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Phoebe Putney Health System said it is seeing a “sharp increase” in COVID-19 hospitalizations.(PPMH)
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 5:20 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System said it is seeing a “sharp increase” in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Over the past five days, there have been 109 new admissions compared to the 99 total admissions in December. Phoebe said the current total of 170 COVID patients is the most since early September.

“We are quickly approaching the peak COVID inpatient level we reached during our initial surge almost two years ago. At this rate, in the next week or two, we could even reach the record number of COVID inpatients that was set during the Delta surge in August,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System CEO and president.

Since the start of the new year, 18 people with COVID have died in Phoebe hospitals. In November and December combined, 13 people died from COVID.

“People need to take this surge seriously and take precautions to protect themselves,” said Dr. Dianna Grant, Phoebe Putney Health System’s chief medical officer. “While some people infected by the Omicron variant may only suffer mild symptoms, the sheer number of people contracting this extremely contagious variant is leading to a high number of hospitalizations, further straining our region’s healthcare system. This is not ‘just a bad cold’ as some people would have you believe. This strain of COVID is having serious impacts on many individuals and on hospitals throughout Georgia.”

The hospital system said in an effort to prevent more hospitalizations, it is making monoclonal antibody treatments available to more people.

As of Tuesday, COVID-19 patients can qualify for the treatments if they are at least 65 or younger than 65 with clinical risk factors, regardless of vaccination status.

“We continue to monitor our supply of these medications closely. While we must follow prioritization guidelines set by the federal government, we can open the treatment to a larger percentage of the population, at least temporarily, as we fight through what we hope will be the worst of this current surge,” Grant said.

Free at-home COVID tests can also be ordered online, starting Jan. 19.

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