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Phoebe Identifies Presumptive Coronavirus Case

Albany, GA | March 11, 2020 – Today, Phoebe was notified that a patient currently being treated in its main hospital is now listed as presumptively positive for COVID-19.  “We anticipated we would eventually treat COVID-19 positive patients.  Our Coronavirus Task Force has been meeting daily and preparing for this eventuality,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Executive Officer.  “The safety of our patients, staff and physicians is our top priority.  As soon as we were notified, we began the process of identifying those employees who may have come in close contact with this patient during their stay in our facility and determining their exposure risk to COVID-19 based on their associated level of patient contact.”

All hospitals in Georgia are working in conjunction with the Governor’s task force and Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to ensure best practices are consistently followed when treating COVID-19 patients and in monitoring and caring for employees at risk of contracting the illness.  “We are meeting with all potentially impacted employees to explain their risk, and we will follow all current CDC guidelines, with direction from the Department of Public Health, in an effort to protect the Phoebe Family and our community,” Steiner said.

Late last night, Phoebe was notified that a patient who was treated in its main hospital before being transferred to a metro Atlanta hospital to be closer to their home has since tested positive for COVID-19.   The patient was visiting southwest Georgia, and there is no indication the virus was contracted in this part of the state.

Phoebe will closely monitor all employees who come in contact with COVID-19 patients for potential coronavirus symptoms.  “It is unlikely people who are not exhibiting symptoms will transmit the virus to others.  The risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low for the general public, and most people who do contract the virus experience relatively mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization.  Older individuals and those with chronic underlying conditions are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill,” said Steve Kitchen, MD, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Chief Medical Officer.

The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Wear a facemask if you’re sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces daily.

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