Phoebe hoping for further decline in Covid-19 numbers

Albany and Dougherty County government buildings reopened on June 22 as the county saw several weeks of decline in new coronavirus cases.

ALBANY — While the upward curve of COVID-19 has flattened for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the curve has not turned downward in nearly a month, indicating the coronavirus remains a presence in the area.

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized daily at Phoebe has remained between the low-50s to mid-60s for the past several weeks.

On Tuesday, there were 67 patients hospitalized for treatment of the disease in Albany and 13 at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus.

“We keep hoping for multiple days where it’s going down,” Ben Roberts, the Phoebe Putney Health System’s director of communications said during a Tuesday telephone interview. “Lately, it hasn’t been going down. Our total number has really flattened out for the month of May.

“I think we all want to think we’re close to putting it behind us, but the numbers aren’t really showing that.”

Through part of April, there were more than 160 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

“It is much better than it was,” Roberts said.

During the crisis, 357 patients have recovered, Phoebe reported, and 95 have died at Phoebe in Albany and 30 in Americus. Phoebe is starting to perform more elective procedures and is slowly resuming more of those surgeries.

“We wanted to do it very cautiously and safely,” Roberts said. “Our non-COVID numbers continue to increase. We’re doing more services.”

There may have been some hesitation during the height of the crisis by some to avoid seeking medical services out of fear of contracting the coronavirus. Roberts said residents should not fear seeking medical care, especially for conditions that could put people at risk if left untreated.

“We’re reminding people if they have something to take care of, don’t put it off,” he said.

More than 140 Dougherty County residents who tested positive for the coronavirus have died, either at Phoebe, a hospital in another city, at a residence or nursing home.

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