Phoebe warns about large gatherings during holiday weekend

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Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 7:53 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -Doctors are warning about what could come after a holiday weekend of large gatherings.

Phoebe is now reporting 33 COVID hospitalizations with 27 in Albany, a 150% increase in two weeks. In response, Phoebe has expanded their unit in Phoebe Main dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Derek Heard is the Medical Director of Primary Care for Phoebe Physicians Group. He is unsure if we’re in another wave, but he said it’s on everybody to control the spread.

Doctors are weary about large gatherings this holiday weekend
Doctors are weary about large gatherings this holiday weekend(WALB)

”It also depends on us as a community. As we are seeing the numbers start to go up, in terms of masking again when we’re going out in public. If we are washing our hands, we will keep those numbers low,” Heard said.

He wants everyone to be vigilant this holiday weekend. People I spoke with say they are up to the task.

“My uncle, he died of COVID in the hospital. So I know how it is. I’ll keep living my life. I am praying for other people as well and be careful,” said Rodney Giddens, a resident of Thomasville.

Another woman from Leesburg wished to be anonymous. She isn’t traveling this weekend because she said Albany has enough for her child and her to have fun.

COVID hospitalizations have gone up 150% in the last two weeks at Phoebe
COVID hospitalizations have gone up 150% in the last two weeks at Phoebe(WALB)

“We just focus on being outside versus inside. For the most part, I’m not concerned. Everyone is kind of just doing their thing versus two years ago when nobody was vaccinated,” she said.

Heard said his message is not much different from the last spike earlier this year.

“We want everyone to be able to feel like they have freedom and have fun. Go out and do the things that they want to do. Enjoy being around family and friends, but we also ask you to be cautious,” Heard said

He says washing your hands, masking up, and avoiding large gatherings are all more important this weekend as we gather. Dr. Heard says the uptick is likely because of the recent lack of distancing and we don’t know how high COVID-19 cases are now.

“Because we have a lot of people doing home testing. That is not necessarily being reported to the state as a positive test,” Heard said.

Dr. Heard said monoclonal treatments and COVID-19 pills are readily available. They are used to reduce symptoms if you do catch the virus. In order to get them in Albany, you must show your positive test.

For the COVID-19 pills, he says four locations are available in pharmacies found in North, South, East, and West Albany.

For monoclonal antibodies, you can contact (229) 312-(MYMD) to get into contact with Phoebe.

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