Phoebe Sets Visitation Guidelines During Flu Season

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Beginning Friday, January 11, Phoebe will temporarily impose visitation restrictions at all its hospitals to protect patients, families, staff members and the community from unnecessary exposure to influenza and other respiratory viruses.
The temporary visitation guidelines include the following:
·         Patient visitation should be limited to care and support of the patient.

·         Visiting hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

·         Children under the age of 18 should not visit the hospital.

·         Do not visit if you have any signs or symptoms of influenza. (Visit for more information)

·         If you have a fever, cough, body aches, or a sore throat, please postpone your visit until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.

·         Visitors will be required to use hand gel when entering the hospital and will offered the opportunity to wear a mask to minimize the spread of germs.

·         Visitors will be required to wear personal protective equipment such as gown, gloves, and a mask if visiting a patient in isolation.

“Our primary concern is the health of our patients, their families, and our staff. Taking these added precautions will help protect against the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses in the hospital – allowing us to continue to provide the highest level of care to our patients. We apologize for any inconvenience these visitation guidelines may cause. Our team will continue to monitor conditions and remove the restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Dr. Steve Kitchen, Chief Medical Officer, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

While flu season has not yet been severe in southwest Georgia, activity is picking up around the state.  Phoebe is taking these precautionary steps to help minimize the severity of flu season which normally peaks in January or February. Recent media reports calling Albany the “sickest city in the country” were based on completely unscientific reports from a company attempting to attract users to its app and were not based on any factual evidence of flu cases.

When appropriate and based on availability, flu tests will be administered at Phoebe Physicians Primary Care offices, Urgent Care Clinics, Community Care Clinic and Phoebe Emergency Departments. It is important to note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend all patients with flu symptoms undergo a flu test. The tests are not always accurate and testing may simply add costs and time to a patient’s visit.

“Not everyone may be given a flu test. Most people who have flu symptoms are not tested because the results usually do not change how you are treated. A healthcare provider will diagnose a patient with flu based on symptoms and their clinical judgment or they may choose to test the patient, especially if they are at high risk for serious illness that could require hospitalization,” added Dr. Kitchen.

With the peak of flu season approaching, Phoebe Primary Care at Northwest is extending their hours. The clinic will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to ensure everyone has easy access to care during this flu season.  Phoebe’s staff will closely monitor flu prevalence daily and will consider additional changes to clinic hours as appropriate. Also, in response to the high patient census occurring at Phoebe and other regional hospitals, effective January 14, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital will open a temporary inpatient unit containing eleven additional private rooms.