ALBANY — Sometimes, Phoebe Putney Health System officials grimly pointed out, you have to look beyond the numbers to get the real story.

The number of COVID-19 patients at Phoebe facilities dropped over the last week, Phoebe officials noted Friday, but the decrease had more to do with patient releases than it did a slowing of the virus that has claimed the lives of 11,670 Georgians.

“Thankfully, our number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped over the last week; however, that is more a result of significant patient discharges rather than a sharp decrease in admissions,” health system President/CEO Scott Steiner said. “Yesterday, we admitted 11 COVID-19 patients here in Albany, which has been our daily average this month, and nearly all of those patients are coming from our communities. They are not being transferred from other health systems outside our area.

“While we hope we are reaching the peak of this dangerous winter surge, it is too early to tell. We know the virus is still very active in southwest Georgia, and it is making many people critically ill. Our intensive care units continue to operate at or near capacity, and we continue to add staffing resources to ensure every patient receives the level of care they need.”

As of noon Friday, Phoebe’s COVID-19 numbers included:

♦ COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital: 97;

♦ COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center: 22;

♦ COVID-19 patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center: 0;

♦ Total inpatients recovered: 1,768;

♦ Total COVID-19-related deaths at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital: 224;

♦ Total COVID-19-related deaths at Phoebe Sumter: 52;

♦ Total vaccines administered – 12,515.

“We are still having great success with our vaccination program,” Steiner said. “Through Thursday, we had administered more than 12,500 COVID-19 vaccines, doubling our total over the last week. We remain concerned about the vaccine supply as Georgia’s share from the federal government is limited. While we continue to request shipments to meet the needs of the people we serve throughout southwest Georgia, those shipments from the state are not guaranteed. We will continue to administer as many vaccines as possible and hope the supply chain keeps up.”

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