Phoebe emphasizes prevention and treatment amid slight rise in COVID cases

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) — More than three months after the peak of the Omicron surge, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Phoebe remain low, but COVID transmission in the area has recently increased slightly, according to hospital officials.

As of Wednesday, Phoebe is caring for seven patients with COVID-19. All of them are in Phoebe’s main hospital. The hospital said three of them had recently been admitted with a primary diagnosis of COVID. One is a long-time COVID patient who is no longer contagious and the other three have COVID but were admitted primarily to treat other issues.

As of Wednesday morning, these were Phoebe’s COVID-19 numbers:

  • Total number of COVID-19 patients at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 7th
  • Total number of COVID-19 patients at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 0
  • Total number of COVID-19 patients at Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 0
  • Total recovered inpatients – 4,336
  • Total positive deaths at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 458
  • Total positive deaths of Phoebe Sumter – 124
  • Total number of positive deaths of Phoebe Worth – 1
  • Total vaccines administered – 80,151

“The Phoebe family deserves this extended period without the added pressure that comes with a major COVID surge. We are cautiously optimistic about the coming months, but we also know that the pandemic is not over and we want people to take action to protect themselves against serious illness from COVID-19,” said Scott Steiner, President and CEO of Phoebe.

These steps include making sure you are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and seeking medical help immediately if you develop COVID symptoms.

“We are in a much better position now to prevent an increase in hospitalizations than at any point during the pandemic, largely due to the widespread availability of antiviral pills that can effectively halt the progression of the disease,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Chief Medical Officer of the Putney Health System. “If you start developing symptoms, you should get tested immediately. If you are positive, you should see a doctor right away so they can determine if the oral antiviral medication is right for you.”

Antiviral drugs are the preferred primary treatment for COVID. A prescription for the pills is suitable for most people who appear within five days of their first symptoms. Phoebe officials said the pills may not be suitable for some patients due to possible unwanted drug interactions.

“If your doctor determines that you shouldn’t take the antiviral medication, Phoebe continues to offer monoclonal antibody infusions, which also provide excellent protection against serious illness. The sooner you see a doctor if you become ill, the sooner you can get the treatment that has the best chance of making you feel better quickly,” said Dr. Grant.

In the last week, Phoebe reached 80,000 with the administration. COVID-19 vaccine dose marks another vaccination milestone, the hospital said.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a Pfizer vaccine booster for children ages 5 to 11 who had their second vaccination at least five months ago. This means that all Americans who are at least five years old can now receive the initial two-dose vaccination schedule plus a booster shot. Anyone age 50 or older and anyone younger than 50 who is immunocompromised is also eligible for a second booster shot.

“The vaccines and booster doses do a great job of getting your immune system into high gear to protect you from serious illness from COVID infection, but that protection can wear off four to six months after vaccination. We recommend getting a booster shot if you’re eligible to ensure you stay protected,” said Dr. Grant.

You can make an appointment for a primary vaccination or a booster shot at a Phoebe Clinic by calling (229) 312-MYMD. You can also call or use this number Phoebe mobile app to make an appointment at a Phoebe Clinic for primary care or emergency care if you develop COVID symptoms.

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