COVID numbers make dramatic jump at Phoebe facilities

Jan. 1—ALBANY — For those who are moved by numbers, try this one on for size: The number of COVID-19 patients being cared for in Phoebe Putney Health System hospitals has increased 161% in the last two weeks.

From a few days of single-digit COVID patients at Phoebe facilities, that number jumped to 47 on Thursday, 35 at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, 11 at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus and one at Phoebe Worth Medical Center in Sylvester.

"The COVID surge we have been expecting and warning about is here," Phoebe Health System President and CEO Scott Steiner said in a news release. "Yesterday, the state smashed its one-day record of confirmed new COVID cases. We cannot ignore this significant increase in the spread of the virus. We need everyone to be smart and cautious, particularly as we enter another holiday weekend.

"Please avoid large gatherings and wear your mask when you're inside and around anyone outside of your own household."

Even if illness from the omicron variant is generally not as severe as with other variants, serious illness is still possible, especially among those who are not vaccinated. Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dianna Grant said everyone should take every precaution to avoid infection.

"Even if hospitalization isn't required, those who contract omicron will have to miss work or school," Grant said. "They risk infecting people who may be at higher risk of serious illness, and they could suffer long-term consequences from COVID. We continue to care for people suffering COVID effects long after their initial illness, and right now we simply do not know what long-lasting impacts the omicron variant may have. Do not take this extremely contagious variant lightly. Please protect yourself."

Free COVID-19 tests are offered through county health departments and at many pharmacies. Public health testing information is available at Phoebe is offering limited COVID testing at its urgent care and primary care clinics by appointment with an associated visit fee, as those clinics focus on caring for rapidly increasing numbers of patients suffering with COVID symptoms.

"Once again, this pandemic is taxing and testing the Phoebe Family, but our inpatient, outpatient and emergency teams are here for our communities," Steiner said. "This is what we do. I am proud of our health care heroes, and I know we will overcome these latest challenges."

The latest Phoebe COVID-19 numbers show:

—Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital: 35;

—Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center: 11;

—Total COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center: 1;

—Total inpatients who have recovered: 3,475;

—Total COVID-related deaths at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital: 393;

—Total COVID-related deaths at Phoebe Sumter: 105;

—Total COVID-related deaths at Phoebe Worth: 1;

—Total vaccines administered: 76,880.