Phoebe eases mask mandate at its hospitals

Phoebe Putney Health System recently loosened its masking rules following a big drop in...
Phoebe Putney Health System recently loosened its masking rules following a big drop in COVID-19 cases.(WALB)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:51 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System recently loosened its masking rules following a big drop in COVID-19 cases.

Visitors and staff are now only required to wear a single surgical mask. Which Phoebe leaders said is adequate protection.

As of Friday, the number of COVID-19 patients at Phoebe hospitals dropped significantly to just 11. That’s a 56% drop from 30 patients at the beginning of the month.

Eight are at Phoebe Main and the others are at Phoebe Sumter.

But the rule does have some exceptions.

Visitors and staff are now only required to wear a single surgical mask. Which Phoebe leaders...
Visitors and staff are now only required to wear a single surgical mask. Which Phoebe leaders said is adequate protection.(WALB)

“Most recently, we have gone to requiring just a surgical mask. A simple surgical mask for our staff and visitors,” said Dr. James Black, Phoebe medical director for emergency services. “Unless, of course, they’re taking care of a patient who’s known to be COVID positive. In which case, there’s a higher level of protection.”

This new rule also applies to how many visitors people are allowed to have. Such as mothers in the labor and delivery unit.

Black said the hospital takes everything on a case-by-case basis.

Something significantly better than in the past for Albany’s long COVID battle.

“Compared to last year, we’re a far cry better. But we’re keeping our fingers crossed and we’re still paying close attention because, you know, at any point and time we could see a significant surge in other parts of the country,” he said.

Dr. James Black is Phoebe's medical director for emergency services.
Dr. James Black is Phoebe's medical director for emergency services.(WALB)

People can still protect themselves.

“Social distancing when appropriate, wearing a mask if you’re going to be around someone that is known to have had COVID or known to be COVID positive,” Black said. “But there are also things like influenza and other respiratory illnesses. So just making smart choices.”

Black said people should feel free to wear more than what is required if they want.