Phoebe loosens mask rules as COVID cases decline

Phoebe loosens mask rules as COVID cases decline
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 11:54 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2022 at 7:52 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System is loosening mask rules as COVID-19 cases are declining.

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

  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 8
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 3
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 0
  • 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 – 81,451

Health officials said the number of COVID-19 inpatients at Phoebe hospitals dropped down 56% to just 11 patients. Because of this, Phoebe has loosened its masking rules for visitors and employees.

“Based on CDC guidelines and our desire to continue to protect our patients, visitors and staff, we cannot discontinue the use of masks altogether, but we do believe a single surgical mask offers effective and adequate protection at this time,” said James Black, MD, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Interim Chief Medical Officer. “Obviously, our employees who may come in contact with COVID patients will be required to utilize higher levels of personal protective equipment, but visitors to any of our facilities only need to wear a single surgical mask, unless they choose to wear a stronger level of protection.”

This week, Phoebe received shipments of the new COVID-19 vaccine boosters. They will be available at all Phoebe Primary Care and Urgent Care locations, and administration of the boosters will begin next week.

Shots will not be given every day at every location.

“We certainly want to avoid another surge in cases, and these boosters will help us do that. They are specifically formulated to be effective against the virus variants that have been most common in recent months, and we encourage those who are eligible to get their booster shots,” Black said.

Currently, the new Pfizer booster is authorized for anyone 12 and older.

Moderna’s booster is authorized for those 18 and older. You may receive one of the new booster shots at least two months after the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine or three months after an infection.

Anyone interested in receiving a booster shot at a Phoebe location should call 229-312-MYMD to schedule the earliest available appointment.