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Lunneborg gives weekly update on COVID-19 pandemic in Sumter County

AMERICUS – In her weekly Facebook Live update on Friday, September 10, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO Brandi Lunneborg stated that the transmission rate of COVID-19 throughout Sumter County has dropped slightly in the last two weeks. Lunneborg stated that there were as many as 269 cases in a two-week period, but in the most recent two-week period, the amount of cases has dropped to 168 cases.

“That is positive movement in the right direction, but that still qualifies as very high transmission rate in our community and we are at high risk,” Lunneborg said. “So it’s still important that we continue to follow of the requirements that we’ve talked about before.”

She went on to say that there are currently 22 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Phoebe Sumter and that there are still several COVID patients in critical care and on ventilators. Lunneborg added that since August 26, the death toll from the disease at Phoebe Sumter has increased from eight to 20, including two people who died from COVID-19 on Thursday. “Our hearts go out to their families and friends and our bed-side caregivers continue to acutely feel the loss of the patients that they’ve cared for for so many weeks,” Lunneborg said.

As far as the vaccination rate in Sumter County is concerned, Lunneborg said that the partially vaccinated rate is up to 49 percent and that 42 percent of the county’s population is fully vaccinated. She went on to explain that President Biden’s mandated national vaccination requirements for all government and healthcare workers, as well as for those local businesses who employ 100 or more employees have been implemented to reduce the spread of the disease in communities nationwide. She added that if anyone has any questions about how to meet those requirements, they can reach out to PSMC and the hospital will be glad to help them with that.

Lunneborg also mentioned that there will be two vaccination events that will be held on Saturday, September 11. One is at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. and the other is later that afternoon at the Cripple Creek Apartments Complex from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. No appointments are needed to be vaccinated at these events, but appointments can be made. She also mentioned that if there are businesses that would like to have a physician to come and speak to their employees and answer their questions about COVID-19 and the vaccines, the hospital will be glad to make that happen. Lunneborg also mentioned that if any church, business or organization would like to schedule a vaccination event, they should call Marcus Johnson at 229-931-6812.

In addition to the two vaccination events on Saturday, Lunneborg added PSMC will have mobile units at the Taste of Sumter event on Thursday, September 23 and at the Plains Peanut Festival on Saturday, September 25. Those who plan to attend these events can get vaccinated at these mobile units. There will also be opportunities for people to get vaccinated at a men’s health screening event at Phoebe Sumter on September 25 and at the Americus Depot on Saturday, October 9.

She added that those who would like to schedule vaccination appointments can do so by calling 229-312-6963. “Our goal is to get our vaccination rate as high as possible, ideally, far over 70 percent,” Lunneborg said. “That will help us significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Lunneborg also mentioned that a new drive thru COVID-19 testing site was established this past week and opened to the general public on Tuesday, September 7. This facility is located at 901 Adderton St. in Americus. This is at the Emergency Management Building that was used a few months ago for vaccinations. This center will be opened from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and those who wish to be tested can register for an appointment or register on site. “They do require a photo ID when you resister on site so please make sure that you bring your photo ID with you,” Lunneborg said. She also added that the hospital continues to provide monoclonal antibody treatment which, in her words, has been the best tool to help keep people from having to require hospitalization.

In closing, Lunneborg urged the citizens to continue wearing masks, wash hands, practice social distancing guidelines and most importantly, for those to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.