Phoebe sees an increase in COVID-19 cases

Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Scott Steiner

ALBANY — Medical officials in Albany say they are hoping that an uptick in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 is not the tip of a Labor Day bounce.

“After several weeks of positive news, we saw a slight increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions this week,” Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO Scott Steiner said. “While it’s too early to tell if this is a trend, it is concerning. We endured substantial increases in the weeks following the July Fourth holiday, and we hope to avoid a repeat caused by Labor Day gatherings.”

Two coronavirus-positive Dougherty County residents died in the past week, Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said during a Friday telephone interview. The deaths were the first in September.

The two latest deaths bring the number of Dougherty County residents who have died due to complications of the novel coronavirus to 182, Fowler said.

Steiner urged residents not to let their guard down as the virus remains a presence in the region.

The potential of holiday gatherings leading to new infections is something public health officials are watching and something for which they are warning the public to be on guard.

“It is another reminder of the importance of wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings and close contact with others,” Steiner said.

As of noon Friday, there were 41 patients hospitalized in Albany at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital facilities and seven at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus. During the pandemic, 145 coronavirus-positive patients have died in Albany and 40 in Americus, the hospital reported. Over the course of the crisis 803 patients have recovered.

“As we continue to focus on our COVID-19 fight, we were excited to take part in several important health care observances this week,” Steiner said. “We celebrated World Patient Safety Day, we commemorated National Healthcare Environmental Services and Housekeeping Week and we recognized Neonatal Nurses Week.

“All three commemorations allowed us to thank members of the Phoebe Family for their crucial service to our community throughout this pandemic and to focus on our commitment to put safety first every day.”

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