The system has four medical centers in Albany, Americus and Sylvester, as well as other facilities, but Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital faces the worst of the pandemic. Of Georgia’s 47 coronavirus deaths, 12 patients had died at the Albany facility as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the hospital system.
“As this public health crisis in southwestern Georgia becomes more difficult, we have reached out to other hospitals in our part of the state,”
The state has arranged for a local hotel to serve as a quarantine facility for homeless people and others who may need a room for isolation, Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said.
Six months with deliveries gone in one week
Georgia government Brian Kemp has committed additional resources to make 26 beds available in another facility, Albany officials said Wednesday.
The health care system’s most “seriously affected” hospital is in Albany, Steiner said in a statement.
The state will soon get more fans and personal protective equipment, says Dorough.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is when you have more discharges than patients,” he said. “We’re not there yet.”
To help their masks last longer – a delivery that quickly disappeared – Steiner said a team of employees sew masks along with surgical sheets.
They hoped to make about 200,000 of these, he said.
“We have been standing up our command center for a long time waiting for … for the coronavirus to hit the United States,” Steiner told CNN last week. “We have overbought deliveries, but until it really does, you don’t really realize what to go through.”
“We’re crawling,” he said.
Epidemiologists respond to local outbreaks
A spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) told CNN that they noticed “lasting spread in the community” of the virus in Albany. It led the Department and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to deploy a team of epidemiologists to study infections.
Dougherty County, which surrounds Albany, issued an on-site protection on March 20, instructing all non-essential workers to stay at home, bars and restaurants to switch to only take-out services and shut down gyms “and similar businesses.”
“What we need to do is take precautions today, immediately to eliminate further, unnecessary spread of the virus,” Dorough said Wednesday.
“This is a problem that we know we have in Albany and Dougherty County, but unless we do something about it and our partners in the surrounding counties do nothing about it, health systems throughout Southwest Georgia will be overwhelmed just like Phoebe Putney. ”
The team of experts from DPH and CDC will work with Albany officials to respond to the outbreak by first studying infections at the severely affected Phoebe Putney Hospital as well as health care facilities.
“This is a historic threat to public health and we have to work with our federal, state and local partners to contain this pandemic,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, DPH Commissioner.
CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.