• Phoebe's Coronavirus Hotline is 229.312.1919. Call this number if you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms.

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    The #DoCoSchools response to the CoronaVirus

    The Dougherty County School System has been working state and local officials to help minimize the spread of the novel Coronavirus. These webpages are designed to serve as a resource for students, parents and community members about the Coronavirus and the district's response. You can also follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for information or email info@docoschools.org.

     

    We appreciate your support and help in staying informed.

  • Wednesday, April 15, 2020

    From Phoebe Putney Health System:

    As of noon Wednesday, these were all Phoebe-related COVID-19 test results:

    • Total Positive Results – 1,893
    • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 55
    • Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 12
    • Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 138
    • Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center - 22
    • Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 1
    • Total Patients Awaiting Test Results – 169
    • Total Negative Results – 3,343
    • Total Patients Recovered – 1,059

    In the last 24 hours, Phoebe received 138 test results throughout the health system. That number includes 101 negative results and 37 positives, including one additional death of positive COVID-19 patient.

    “Yesterday, we treated 15 COVID patients in our main emergency center who needed hospitalization. While that is a significant number, it is the lowest we’ve seen in almost a month, and that is great news. Our number of recovered patients also now tops 1,000. We celebrate every positive milestone in our community’s battle against COVID-19, but we cannot let our guard down. We know how easily this virus spreads, and we must remain vigilant to ensure our daily number of new cases continues to decline. Lives truly depend on people throughout southwest Georgia continuing to take this threat seriously,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Executive Officer.

    Phoebe is defining a “recovered patient” as someone who tested positive and self-isolated at home for at least 14 days from the testing date, or a hospital inpatient who has been discharged for at least 10 days.

    For updated information on COVID-19, visit www.phoebehealth.com/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov.

  • Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:14 p.m. -

    Albany, Ga. – As of noon Thursday, these were all Phoebe-related COVID-19 test results:

    Total Positive Results – 751
    Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Main – 32
    Total Positive Deaths from Phoebe Sumter – 3
    Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 55
    Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center - 15
    Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 0
    Total Positive External Patients – 646
    Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 79
    Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 12
    Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 5
    Total Other Patients Awaiting Test Results – 1,077
    Total Negative Results – 1,223
    Total Patients Recovered – 115

    As an ever-growing number of COVID-19 patients turn to Phoebe for treatment, the health system continues to expand its capacity to care for those patients. In addition to reserving four intensive care units for critically ill COVID-19 patients, Phoebe is now caring for COVID patients on five general medical floors of its main hospital. “Our team has done an incredible job of increasing our staffing resources to allow us to expand our COVID-19 care capacity even as members of the Phoebe Family who show symptoms or test positive for the virus isolate themselves at home. We have brought in dozens of contract clinicians. We reached out to retirees and former members of the Phoebe Family, some of whom have rejoined our team. Many of our clinical staff have also volunteered to move departments and take on new assignments temporarily to help us meet the demand for COVID-19 care. And we’ve gotten outstanding support from the National Guard. It has been incredible to see how everyone has come together to provide the quality care the people of southwest Georgia need,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Executive Officer.

    For updated information on COVID-19, visit www.phoebehealth.com/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov.

     


  • Thursday, March 26, 2020 Update: 

     

     

    Schools to remain closed for in-person instruction until April 27

    ALBANY, Ga. --  Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an order Thursday mandating all schools remain closed for in-person instruction through April 24 with schools possibly re-opening to students on April 27. 

    Dougherty County School System Superintendent Kenneth Dyer has announced the postponement of all spring activities to include prom, senior activities, athletics events and other extracurricular activities. No decision has been made pertaining to graduation ceremonies that are currently scheduled for May 23rd; however, district officials have begun contingency planning and are exploring other options in case the shutdown period is extended.

    The district had initially announced plans for students to return to school on Monday, April 6, however, the spread of the Coronavirus has spread since then with Albany/Dougherty County becoming among the largest hotspots per capita in the state and possibly the country.  As of Thursday morning, there were 173 known infections with at least 800 more awaiting test results. There have been 12 deaths from southwest Georgia linked to the virus. 

    Superintendent Dyer urges students, parents and community members to take the spread of the virus seriously and to do everything they can to help slow its movement. 

    It is important that everyone view this whole situation as a marathon, not a sprint. We have to work to make the suggestions of the CDC and public health (such as social distancing, handwashing for 20 seconds, hand sanitizing, limiting exposure to people who may be sick, and self-quarantining when we may be sick) a part of our everyday lives,” Dyer said. “Also, we must abide by the Shelter-in-Place ordinance currently in effect in Albany-Dougherty County. Although inconvenient, these restrictions are in place for our health, safety and well-being. We must slow the spread of the virus (flatten the curve) to prevent overwhelming our local healthcare system, which is not only serving residents of our community, but those throughout southwest Georgia.”

    The order comes as seven DCSS employees tested positive for Covid19 as well as one student. The district has notified parents of any students who may have come into direct contact with those employees and the student. 

    During a joint press conference with the Albany-Dougherty Covid19 Task Force Thursday, Dyer also asked young people to comply with the restrictions. 

    “Stay inside and save a life. It’s really that simple. Younger people may have this notion that they’re not really impacted by this virus. The truth is, this disease is killing young and old and everyone in between -- and even if they only have mild symptoms, young people can still be a carrier of the virus, getting older loved ones or loved ones who may have underlying health conditions sick and putting them at risk of getting critically ill or worse.” 

     

    “Don’t risk losing a loved one just because you want to hangout with your friends. Period,” Dyer said.


    Student, Employees Test Positive in Unrelated Covid19 Cases

    ALBANY, Ga. --  Six employees and a student have each tested positive in two unrelated Covid19 cases -- the first to directly impact the Dougherty County School System. 

    Parents of students that shared a classroom with the student and coworkers of the employees have been notified. 

    The last known date of contact was March 13. People who came into contact with the employees or the student have been advised to self-quarantine until March 27 -- which is beyond the 14 day incubation window for the novel Coronavirus. 

    The district has begun executing a comprehensive district learning plan to allow students to continue instruction from home, which is in line with recommendations from state, local and federal officials.

     


     

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2020. 

    Wednesday's 1 p.m. Press Conference:

     

  •  Tuesday's 1 p.m. Press Conference


     

     

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    Governor's Press Conference: 03-23-2020 

    You can read the governor's order here.

     

     

     Local Press Conference Video

     


    Sunday, March 22, 2020

    On Sunday, City and County leaders issued a new shelter-in-place ordinance. You can read it and the Frequently-Asked-Questions here. 

     


    Friday, March 20, 2020 Update

    On Thursday, Mayor Bo Dorough, City of Albany, and Chairman Christopher S. Cohilas, Dougherty County Board of Commissioners, issued a Joint Executive Order,
    in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and under the Authority of the Georgia Emergency Management Act of 1981. The order is in effect for seven (7) days beginning 8 a.m. on March20, 2020.

    Among other things, the order limits the number of people who can be inside public stores at any given time, prohibits community gatherings, limits restaurant to providing drive-through or take-out orders only, and closes bars with on-premises consumption and closes all gyms, indoor recreational facilities and fun centers.

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that all events with more than 50 people be canceled to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the coronavirus as a pandemic. In Dougherty County, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has reported four deaths connected to COVID-19. Large gatherings of individuals pose a risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the CDC recommends limiting large gatherings to contain the spread.

     


    Thursday, March 19, 2020 Update

     

     

    From Albany Utilities:

    In response to the growing cases of COVID-19 in our community, Albany Utilities is suspending disconnections of water, gas, and lights for the next 30-days starting today, Thursday, March 19, 2020.

    Sharon D. Subadan, City Manager, stated, “We are taking extra measures to accommodate Utility customers
    who seek additional time to pay their bills.”

    Albany Utilities’ customers who can afford to pay their bills are encouraged to continue making payments to avoid falling in arrears. The lobby at the utility building remains closed to the public. However, customers can pay by phone and online.

     

    From Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital:

    One more COVID-19 death has been reported to the state by Phoebe as a substantial number of test results came back late Wednesday and Thursday morning.  The two additional deaths included one patient being cared for in Phoebe’s main hospital and one who expired before arriving at the main emergency center and was tested post-mortem.

    As of noon Thursday, these were all Phoebe-related COVID-19 test results:

    • Total Positive Results – 43
    • Total Positive Deaths – 4
    • Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 19
    • Total Positive Patients at Home – 21
    • Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 58
    • Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 5
    • Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 1
    • Total Patients Awaiting Test Results at Home – 424

    “We know we are not yet at the peak of this health emergency.  More of the patients we are currently caring for will end up with positive COVID-19 tests, and more people in the community will contract the virus.  We remain at a critical point, and we need the public to follow the guidance of the experts and do all they can to try to minimize the spread of the virus,” said Steven Kitchen, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Chief Medical Officer.

    So far, six employees have tested positive.  Not all of them were exposed to COVID-19 on the job.  One of those employees is being treated at Phoebe’s main hospital, and the remainder are recovering at home.  Phoebe is reaching out daily to all employees who have been tested for COVID-19 to see how they’re doing.  “We are committed to keeping our physicians and employees safe throughout this health emergency.  If they are not protected, then who is going to care for our patients?  This has to be our top priority,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Executive Officer. 

    Finding enough supplies remains a daily struggle.  Phoebe continues to track the use of those supplies in real time.  “Every day, we know exactly how many units of each of these critical supplies we have, we know our daily usage rate, and we know how many days on hand we have left.  We’ve gotten down as low as a day or two worth of supplies on some vital equipment.  Thankfully, we’ve managed to avoid running out, but it takes constant work, literally hour by hour.  We can’t just order from one of our normal suppliers and expect a truck to show up the next day,” Steiner said.

    For updated COVID-19 information, visit phoebehealth.com/coronavirus and cdc.gov.

     

    From the Dougherty County Commmission:

    Dougherty County Chairman Christopher S. Cohilas reported on March 17th that the virus impacted a significant number of people who attended two funerals in Dougherty County.

    The services for Johnny Carter and Andrew Jerome Mitchell, held a couple of weeks ago, was heavily attended by members of Gethsemane Worship Center and New Direction Christian. Employees of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Funeral Home were also exposed. Chairman Cohilas urged anyone who attended the services, and is showing symptoms, to seek medical attention from their family physician or call the Phoebe COVID-19 Hotline at 229.312.1919 for an over-the-phone assessment and further directions.

    At yesterday’s press conference, both Chairman Cohilas and Mayor Dorough urged citizens to take precautions in protecting themselves, which included canceling church services and social gatherings. The elderly and those with existing health conditions were specifically urged to protect themselves by staying at home.

    The Emergency Operations (EOC) Center officially opened on Monday, March 16, 2020, and will remain open for the remainder of the week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Updates will be provided each day from the EOC as details develop. Citizens should call 229.302.1900.

    With several cases reported in Dougherty County, citizens have been urged to avoid gatherings of large crowds, as well as practice safe sanitation and take preventative measures to protect themselves. 

     


     Wednesday, March 18, 2020 Update:

    From the City of Albany

    Albany, GA – In response to cases of the COVID-19 virus, the City’s Leadership has been working closely with our community partners through Emergency Management to stay abreast of the progression of the virus and related circumstances.

    To restrict exposure and avoid spreading the virus:


    • All City facilities have been closed to the public including Albany Utilities, License & Business Support Office – we are available to assist customers by phone and on our websites
    • Non-essential meetings and gatherings (public and internal), have been minimized; postponed
      or canceled;
    • Cancellations are being posted on our Facebook page and website
    • The City Commission will conduct a virtual meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, using video
      conferencing technology
    • All press conferences are being live-streamed on Facebook; Channel 16 our YouTube and on the City’s website to keep the public informed
    • Recreational activities are suspended including afterschool programs and sports programs 
    • Employees that can work remotely (from home) will be allowed to do so
    • For the foreseeable future, essential employees will remain on-duty (i.e., Police, Fire, Utility Operations, etc.)-shifts may be modified as needed to provide coverage
    • Employees needing to care for someone potentially exposed to the virus will be allowed to work from home or may use leave necessary to cover absences
    • Employees who have health challenges are being encouraged to work from home or may use leave necessary to cover absences
    • Employees who report to work with a fever will be sent home or to their medical provider
    • Employees who are living in close contact with someone who has been ordered to quarantine will be required to work from home or may use leave necessary to cover absences in an abundance of caution
    • The City will endeavor to keep all affected employees in pay status and businesses that are able are encouraged to do so
    • Additional sanitizing of all facilities has been implemented in accordance with CDC guidelines
    • Hand-sanitizer stations have been located throughout the City & placed directly on buses
    • Elderly and vulnerable residents are encouraged NOT to congregate wherever possible
    • Callers to 911 are asked to identify symptoms consistent with COVID-19 before first responders arrive
    • Citizens who have symptoms of the virus need to contact Phoebe at 229.312.1919.

     

     Tuesday, March 17, 2020 Update: 

    • Payment for City Services:  The lobby at Albany Utilities (401 Pine Avenue) began closure on Monday, March 16th. Customers will be able to make utility payments at the drive-thru, night drop boxes, by phone, alternate sites, and online. The City of Albany has partnered with Western Union to provide remote locations for payment services. Locations available for remote payment include: Ameris Bank, Regions Bank, Publix, Walgreen’s, Harvey’s, Speedy Cash, and Check Cashier.

      Customer Service Representatives who assist walk-in patrons will be taking calls during the regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers calling in for information and to make payments can expect longer than usual wait times. For information and closure updates, customers can visit albanyga.gov., The City of Albany Facebook page or call Customer Service at 229.883.8330.

    • Dougherty County Jail: Dougherty County Jail has canceled visitation until further notice. An assessment is scheduled to be completed on April 5th to determine if visitation can reopen.

    • Dougherty County Tax & Tag: Dougherty County Tax and Tag department is urging citizens to pay taxes and renew tags online, if at all possible. Citizens can access the following page on the Dougherty County website to pay online and renew tags, along with other information: http://www.dougherty.ga.us/content/2889/3021/default.aspx

    • Dougherty County Library System: All branches of the Dougherty County Library System closed to the public on Sunday, March 15th. Currently, all libraries are slated to reopen on April 6th, unless conditions change.

    • Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services (EMS): Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has announced that any patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to wear an N95 surgical mask prior to being loaded into the ambulance. In addition, additional passengers will be prohibited inside the ambulance with the patient while they are transported to the hospital. In the case of a minor child patient, one parent or guardian will be allowed to ride. Additional sanitation measures are also being utilized with all ambulance services to protect patients and first responder staff.

    • Dougherty County Judicial: Dougherty County Superior Court Judge, Willie Lockett, declared a judicial emergency for court trials for the next 30 days, due to the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Jurors who were scheduled to report on Monday, March 16, did not report for duty. In addition, child support court scheduled for March 19th and April 2nd is canceled; and Grand Jury for March 25 is canceled. Trials scheduled for April 6-10 will also be canceled.

      The Judicial Building will be open for business, including the District Attorney’s office, Clerk of Courts, and Magistrate Courts. All civil court matters will continue.

      • Dougherty County State Courts: Dougherty County State Courts announced that arraignment in Room 300 of the Dougherty County Courthouse will be canceled for the following dates: March 27th, April 3rd, and April 10th. For those scheduled to be in court for one of these dates, a notice with a new court date will be sent to their home address, as long as the Court has a valid address for the recipient. If an individual is unsure of when they should report to court, they can contact the State Court Division of the Office of the District Attorney at 229.431.3212. Individuals who have received a notice to appear for trial the weeks of April 6th and April 13th should disregard the notice. No jury trials will be held those two weeks. A separate notice will be provided from the Court or from the State Court Division of the Office of the District Attorney as to when the individual should report for criminal calendar call or for their trial.

        All civil proceedings that cannot be handled via video or teleconferences will be rescheduled for a later date after the Order of Judicial Emergency has been lifted. For questions regarding the status of any civil hearing, individuals can contact Judge Stephenson’s Civil Case Coordinator, Amy Cox, at 229.431.2152 or acox@dougherty.ga.us.

    • Voter Registration: The March 24th Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) has been postponed to coincide with the May 19th General Primary Election (GPE). All in-person absentee voting ended on March 14th. In-person voting will resume on April 27th for the May 19th GPE. All absentee ballots that have been mailed for the PPP Election will be accepted in the Dougherty County Elections Office through March 24th.

    • Phoebe Putney Health System: In an effort to screen more patients for COVID-19 symptoms, Phoebe is expanding its coronavirus hotline and opening a drive-through screening facility. Anyone who wants to be tested at the temporary screening site must first call the hotline. “COVID-19 test kits remain in limited supply, so only people who are experiencing symptoms should be tested. Symptomatic individuals who pass an initial phone screening will be given an appointment and instructed where to go for in-person screening,” said Suresh Lakhanpal, MD, Phoebe Physicians Chief Executive Officer.

      The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Phoebe Coronavirus Hotline is 229.312.1919. Beginning Monday, it will be staffed by multiple Phoebe nurses from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. When a pre-screened patient drives up at the testing location, the patient will have to show identification, and then medical professionals wearing personal protective equipment will obtain the necessary swab.

      Older individuals and those with chronic medical conditions and compromised immune systems are at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19, and they are at a higher priority for testing. People who are not exhibiting active symptoms are asked not to call the hotline so nurses are able to focus on higher-risk individuals. For updated coronavirus information, visit Phoebe's website and cdc.gov.

    • Dougherty County School System: Schools will remain closed through April 6th, unless conditions change, to ensure the safety of students and staff. The district has also started delivering meals to children who are 18 and under. The district is delivering the meals by bus along a pre-determined set of routes that are based on a child’s school zone cluster. For more information, visit docoschools.org.



     

    March 16, 2020 Update: 

     

    • State Superintendent Woods suspends state testing administration, accountability requirements; other COVID-19 updates
      As the COVID-19 outbreak continues and many public schools are closed to ensure the safety of students and staff, State School Superintendent Richard Woods is suspending the following until further notice:
      • State assessment window/administration (including Georgia Milestones EOGs and EOCs, the Georgia Alternate Assessment/GAA 2.0, and all other required testing)
      • Teacher and leader evaluation (TKES/LKES) requirements and reporting
      • State-level attendance-related consequences (including CCRPI, TKES/LKES, School Climate Star Rating, and make-up day requirements)

     

    • The district has started delivering meals to children who are 18 and under. The district is delivering the meals by bus along a pre-determined set of routes that are based on a child's school zone cluster. For more information, click the link on the tab on the left. 

    • In an effort to screen more patients for COVID-19 symptoms, Phoebe Putney Health System is expanding its Coronavirus hotline and opening a drive-through screening facility. Anyone who wants to be tested at the temporary screening site must first call the hotline. Click the link for more info: https://bit.ly/2QkgS5z

    • Phoebe is also temporarily suspending visitation at all Phoebe hospitals due to COVID-19. No visitors will be allowed for patients who have a pending or positive COVID-19 test. There are a few exceptions to the no visitation policy. You can read the exceptions here. “We know coronavirus is in our community, and we are at a critical point to try to minimize transmission. A stricter visitation policy is just one more step we think is wise to protect our patients, staff and community,” said Steven Kitchen, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

    • The Albany/Dougherty County Emergency Operations Center will be open all of this week from 8am to 5pm daily to provide you with general information, emergency medical information, and resources for the CORONAVIRUS. Call 229.302.1900. 

     

     

    Coronavirus Protocol for all #DoCoSchools 


    When the Coronavirus was first discovered to have arrived in the U.S., the Dougherty County School System began increasing the frequency of school and bus sterilization. As we move forward, it’s important that we remain transparent and able to communicate our plans and practices to you . As a part of that effort, please see our Coronavirus protocol below. We urge all parents to download the DCSS app and like our pages on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) to receive quick and up to date notifications and information.

    Step One:  If the district has a confirmed coronavirus case at one of our schools or if the community confirmation can be traced to one of our schools, we will contact parents and immediately begin dismissal procedures.  Additionally, we’ll systematically dismiss all other schools and programs to allow for an immediate sterilization of school and office facilities. This shutdown will also allow for school and public health officials to properly trace and investigate the exposure to determine if there were any additional contact that may have exposed students or employees to the Coronavirus. Moving forward, this will be our coronavirus protocol and practice.

    Step Two: In the meantime, principals have identified safe rooms where students exhibiting symptoms can be held until a parent can arrive to take them to a healthcare provider.  If an employee is exhibiting symptoms, they will be allowed to go home immediately and students in that class will be held in a safe room while that class is sterilized.  We urge all students and employees that are ill to stay home and to seek medical care.

    If additional Coronavirus cases are confirmed among our students and staff we will enact the protocol above.

    Step Three: We will also be limiting visitors to our schools for the near future.  All visitors will be asked a series of questions upon entering our facilities (schools and district offices).  Please be prepared for the delay of entry.

     

     

     

     

Last Modified on April 15, 2020