Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital seeing steady rise in COVID-19 cases

A new booster shot targeting the latest variant is expected to be available as soon as September.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 6:13 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - COVID-19 cases are slowly but steadily increasing in Southwest Georgia. Doctors suggest that getting the initial dose of the vaccine or the booster can lessen your symptoms.

WALB spoke with experts here at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and they say the number of COVID cases is increasing, but not nearly the surge of cases as it was during the height of the pandemic.

“There are a lot of home kits that people are using, and sometimes people go to outline clinics. And sometimes the symptoms are so mild that they are not really seeking care, so it’s hard to get a grasp on the true numbers. But we are truly excited to see the increase in the numbers that are showing up for testing,” said Dr. James Black, director of emergency medicine at Phoebe Putney Health.

A new booster shot targeting the latest variant is expected to be available as soon as September. Oakland Pharmacy in Leesburg does not currently offer the COVID vaccine, but they refer patients to doctors who do.

“What I would recommend most is to talk to the pediatrician to see where they are currently in the vaccine schedule. So, you’re not like kind of doing a mad dash at the last minute to either go to the health department or to see if a pediatrician offers it. Or find it in stock at a pharmacy, because there were some parents who had to have it the day before school,” said Rebecca Shead Mays, pharmacy manager at Oakland Pharmacy.

Black says he now sees people choosing to get the vaccine or the booster for the first time.

“Research shows that people who are vaccinated tend to have a lower rate of transmission a lower rate of infection and also a shorter course should be they become unfortunate enough to get infected with COVID. So, there are definite benefits to being vaccinated,” Black said.

WALB also spoke with an independent pharmacy here in Leesburg, and they tell me that with school starting back, they have also seen an increase in kids’ receiving tetanus and meningitis shot.