MOULTRIE, Ga. – Colquitt Regional Medical Center recently confirmed an increase in positive COVID-19 test results.
Most of these tests were conducted in an outpatient setting with patients not requiring medical treatment or hospitalization, the hospital said in a press release.
In the past five days, the number of positive cases identified by Colquitt Regional rose by 87. Of the positive cases confirmed, a large portion can be traced back to a concentrated group of farm laborers.
“From the very beginning, we analyzed various models on how this pandemic would evolve,” said Colquitt Regional President and CEO Jim Matney. “While this rise in numbers is concerning, it is not altogether unexpected.”
Upon receipt of the test results, Colquitt Regional quickly notified the Southwest Georgia Public Health district, who then followed appropriate protocol, including a site visit to the known hotspot. They issued instructions and provided education on the importance of isolation and when to seek medical attention.
While the number of positive cases has increased, the positive COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization continues to decrease, the hospital said. Colquitt Regional had 37 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 at its peak in late March and early April. As of Tuesday, there were only nine patients hospitalized with the same diagnosis.
The decrease in hospitalizations could be the result of the age of those who tested positive. In April, the average age of positive COVID-19 individuals tested at Colquitt Regional was 45. In May, the average age decreased to 28.
“Many of those currently testing positive are experiencing minor symptoms, if any at all,” said Colquitt Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Brown. “If there is a bright spot in this pandemic, this is it. While we are still very concerned with every case, we hope to continue seeing a decrease in the acuity of positive patients.”
The COVID-19 tracker released Tuesday by Colquitt Regional showed 370 total positive cases to date. Those do not include any tests conducted by Augusta University at the Regional COVID-19 testing site located at the hospital.
According to Augusta University, from April 24 to May 20, an additional 126 positive cases were detected from the Moultrie testing site, which included residents from surrounding counties.
For those who may have questions about the virus, the Colquitt Regional COVID-19 Hotline remains open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, 229-891-9380. The hotline is also staffed with bilingual representatives.
Colquitt Regional is continuing to open services back up for the public but is taking a number of proactive measures to ensure that patients visiting the hospital are protected from exposure to COVID-19.
Two Emergency Departments and two Intensive Care Units are being maintained to separate patients, the hospital said, and all COVID-19 positive patients are kept in separate wings of the hospital. In addition, all patients and visitors are screened prior to entry, everyone is required to wear a mask and extensive cleaning measures are taken throughout the day.
“We want people to know that while we are all getting back to business, they should still be vigilant in protecting themselves from potential exposure,” said Colquitt Regional Chief of Staff Dr. Justin Baker. "Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask if you must be in close proximity to others, and please stay home and isolate yourself if you have been exposed. As always, our doors are open and anyone needing medical treatment should not hesitate to call 911 or come to the hospital. We are prepared to safely take care of your medical needs.”