Phoebe eases visitation restrictions

Phoebe Putney Health System announced that it’s easing visitation restrictions as they prepare...
Phoebe Putney Health System announced that it’s easing visitation restrictions as they prepare for new COVID-19 booster shots.(WALB)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 2:20 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2022 at 2:21 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System announced that it’s easing visitation restrictions as they prepare for new COVID-19 booster shots.

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

  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 24
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 4
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 2
  • Total Inpatients Recovered – 4,698
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 466
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 126
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Worth – 1
  • Total Vaccines Administered – 81,418

Phoebe officials said COVID-19 hospitalizations have remained relatively flat for several weeks. 

Friday, Phoebe reported caring for 30 COVID patients in its hospitals. That number is up just one, from 29 weeks ago. Because of that, Phoebe is easing visitation restrictions at its facilities.

“We would love to get to a point where we have zero COVID patients in our care, but that may not happen for quite some time, if at all.  Recently, we have maintained a very manageable level in our COVID units,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer. “We know loved ones play a critical role in the healing process for patients, and we do not want to put undue stress on those patients and families, so we are easing our visitation guidelines to permit greater access for visitors.”

The new visitation guidelines went into effect Thursday.  The main change is that two visitors are now allowed in each non-COVID patient room at a time, rather than just one. 

Patients in emergency rooms may have one visitor with them, except during unusually busy times when social distancing guidelines may require visitors to wait outside the lobby. 

“We can safely accommodate additional visitors as long as everyone follows our masking protocol.  We still require double masking – a surgical mask covered by a well-fitting cloth mask – or an N95 for all visitors and staff.  Evidence shows that level of protection greatly reduces the risk of virus transmission,” Grant said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends masking in healthcare settings.  According to the current guidelines for healthcare facilities on the CDC’s website, “it is generally safest to implement universal use of source control (masking) for everyone in a healthcare setting.”

The CDC has also approved the use of new COVID-19 vaccine boosters from Pfizer and Moderna. 

Phoebe officials said they have placed orders for both vaccines and will begin administering those shots as soon as the shipments arrive.

“These boosters were specifically designed to protect against the current most prevalent variants of the virus, and we expect them to offer even better protection than the original booster shots,” Dr. Grant said.  “We encourage those who are eligible for the booster to go ahead and get the shot to help us avoid a fall surge in cases.”

The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for anyone 12 and older.  Moderna’s booster is authorized for those 18 and older. Anyone can receive one of the new booster shots at least two months after the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine and three months after an infection.

To read the full visitation policy guidelines, click here.

To schedule a vaccine appointment at a Phoebe facility, call 229-312-MYMD.