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Phoebe Reaches Record High COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Friday, August 20, 2021 @ 12:17 p.m. -

Albany, Ga. – As of Friday morning, these were Phoebe’s COVID-19 numbers:

  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 161
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 34
  • Total COVID-19 Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 4
  • Total Inpatients Recovered – 2,544
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 291
  • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 72
  • Total Vaccines Administered – 59,135

“Today, we are caring for more COVID-19 patients (199) than at any time during the pandemic – significantly more than our previous peak last April when our area was one of the worst COVID hotspots in the world.  In the last week, we have seen had a 50% increase in COVID inpatients, and unfortunately, we have had nine COVID-19 deaths,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO.  “Our resources are being stretched like never before.  If people in our community expect there to be a hospital bed for them when they need it, they need to help us slow the spread of the virus. Too many people are attending large gatherings with few, if any, safety precautions, and right now, that’s just dangerous.  The current dominant strain of the virus is much more contagious than previous strains.  It is running rampant through our communities, and we need everyone to get vaccinated, wear masks and socially distance to try to get this thing under control,” Steiner added.

As outlined in its disaster response policy, Phoebe has initiated Code Triage Internal operational status at its hospitals in Albany.  “Essentially, that emergency status means all activities that are not critical to the safe and effective care of our patients are suspended or modified.  It allows us to call in staff for extra shifts and assign additional duties and do whatever it takes to meet the extraordinary challenges we are currently facing to ensure we meet the healthcare needs of our community,” said Joe Austin, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital CEO.

Hundreds of Phoebe Family members have already signed up for the health system’s Helping Hands program.  It allows clinical and non-clinical staff, who do not typically take part in direct patient care, to work assistive shifts in clinical areas.  “We’ve had tremendous interest in this program.  Our employees really are pulling together to do whatever it takes to serve our patients, and their work is freeing up our bedside care teams to focus solely on the patients,” Austin said. 

Phoebe strongly urges anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to quarantine to avoid spreading the virus.  Today, the Georgia Department of Public Health opened a drive-through COVID-19 community testing site. “We are extremely grateful that our health department is stepping up to meet this need.  Phoebe will continue to offer COVID-19 tests at our urgent care and primary care clinics, but recent demand has been overwhelming, and we encourage people to use this new DPH site,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer.  “It is imperative that people do not go to an ER simply to seek a COVID test.  No one should hesitate to go to an ER if they need emergency care, but please do not add volume to already overstressed emergency centers for testing or other non-emergency care,” Dr. Grant added. 

The testing site is set up at 804 13th Ave. on the Phoebe North campus in Albany – the same location where Phoebe initially operated a testing site in the early days of the pandemic.  The initial hours of operation will be 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. from Friday, Aug. 20 – Sunday, Aug. 22.  Beginning on Monday, Aug. 23, the site will be open 7-days a week from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.  People should receive their test results 24 – 48 hours after the screening.

Patients who test positive should look into the possibility of receiving monoclonal antibody infusion therapy, which is available at Phoebe North and at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus.  “Monoclonal antibody infusion therapy is the best treatment we have for COVID-19 patients.  When patients receive the treatments early in their diagnosis, they almost always recover without needing to be hospitalized,” Dr. Grant said.

Patients can be scheduled for the treatment by a physician referral.  Phoebe has also initiated a self-referral process for COVID-19 patients who do not receive their positive COVID result directly from a physician.  Those patients can start the process by calling 229-312-MYMD.  Beginning next week, Phoebe will begin the infusion therapy for pediatric COVID patients – ages 12 - 17 – at its main hospital in Albany.

Southwest Georgians can schedule vaccination appointments by calling 229-312-MYMD.  A list of Phoebe’s upcoming mobile wellness clinic vaccination events, where appointments are not required, is available at