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Phoebe stresses prevention, treatment amid slight COVID case increase

Phoebe reaches milestone with 80,000 vaccine administrations
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital(WALB)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 11:31 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - More than three months after the peak of the omicron surge, COVID-19 hospitalizations at Phoebe remain low, but there has been a slight increase recently in COVID transmission in the region, according to hospital officials.

As of Wednesday, Phoebe is caring for seven patients with COVID-19. All of them are at Phoebe’s main hospital. The hospital said three of them are recent admissions with a primary diagnosis of COVID. One is a long-term COVID patient who is no longer infectious, and the other three have COVID but were admitted primarily for treatment of other issues.

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

  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 7
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 0
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 0
  • Total Inpatients Recovered – 4,336
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 458
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 124
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Worth – 1
  • Total Vaccines Administered – 80,151

“The Phoebe Family certainly deserves this extended period without the added pressures that come with a major COVID surge. We are cautiously optimistic about the coming months, but we also know the pandemic is not over, and we want people to take steps to protect themselves from serious COVID illness,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe’s President and CEO.

Those steps include making sure you are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and seeking medical care immediately if you develop COVID symptoms.

“We are in a much better position now to prevent a surge in hospitalizations than at any point during the pandemic, largely because of the wide availability of antiviral pills that are effective at halting progression of the illness,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer. “If you start developing symptoms, you should get tested right away. If you are positive, you should see a healthcare provider immediately, so they can determine if the oral antiviral medication is right for you.”

Antiviral medication is the preferred primary treatment for COVID. A prescription for the pills is appropriate for most people who are within five days of their first symptoms. Phoebe officials said because of potential adverse interactions with other medications, the pills may not be appropriate for some patients.

“If your doctor determines, you should not take the antiviral medication, Phoebe is still offering monoclonal antibody infusions that also offer outstanding protection from severe illness. The sooner you see a provider when you start getting sick, the sooner you can get the treatment that will have the best chance of making you feel better quickly,” Dr. Grant said.

In the last week, Phoebe reached another vaccination milestone by administering its 80,000th COVID-19 vaccine dose, the hospital said.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a Pfizer vaccine booster for children ages 5-11 who received their second shot at least five months ago. That means all Americans who are at least five years old may now receive the initial two-dose vaccine regimen, as well as a booster shot. Anyone who is at least 50 years old and anyone younger than 50 who is immunocompromised is also eligible to receive a second booster.

“The vaccines and booster doses do a great job of kicking your immune system into high gear to protect you from serious illness from a COVID infection, but that protection can begin to wane four to six months after you get a shot. We recommend getting a booster when you are eligible to ensure you stay protected,” Dr. Grant said.

You can schedule an appointment for an initial vaccination or a booster shot at a Phoebe clinic by calling (229) 312-MYMD. You can also call that number or use the Phoebe mobile app to schedule an appointment at a Phoebe primary care clinic or urgent care clinic if you develop COVID symptoms.

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