As coronavirus tears through rural Georgia, a small city asks: 'Why here? Why us?'

in southwest Georgia in the small city of Albany an unlikely coronavirus hot spot as of March 30th almost 600 cases 24 deaths more than Atlanta and Fulton County which are 12 times as large throughout the community there's a unhealthy but understandable cauldron of emotions I mean its grief

fear confusion anger and of course anxiety about what the future is gonna bring why did it strike Albany Georgia Albany is a city of 75,000 but it has the feel of a small town a town now seemingly abandoned coronavirus likely arrived here with several large funerals at the

end of February in start of March gatherings that drew people from all over early on local officials said I don't think folks are taking this threat as seriously as we should the coroner has got on his podium and he has explained people are dying we've also had many

reports that a lot of folks have been carrying on large cookouts and in in their neighborhoods that is counterproductive we need people to stay within their family units so that this disease does not continue to spread now a strict shelter in place order has cleared the streets it

all may be a sign of what smaller cities and hospitals could face as coronavirus takes hold across the country and testing improves we were in the middle of it before we realized that Albany was really a flashpoint at the center of the crisis is phoebe putney memorial the

only hospital in Albany inside everyone now wears a mask wind around others Scott Steiner was the hospital's president and CEO once alone he took off his mask for this interview it's all crossed our mind you know what why right why here why us you know and but you

know in the end this is we prepare for things like this the hospital thought it was prepared with six months worth of protective equipment like masks it ran out after a week so it had to get creative so it's some kind of mask the idea is you would

cover that n95 mask as that caregiver would go into the room it would protect any particulates that got onto that material they'd exit the room they'd be able to take that off we can remark we can wash these so they're reusable we March these every evening and then

they can keep wearing this n95 as long as it was contaminant free so we began to extend the life of these but now elastic is all but gone so more creativity they've used ponytail holders that they cut an app and so those and but it's every day is

different and so getting our hands on materials whether it be this whether the face masks that we've been in manufacturing our own face packs out of this film and some elastic and and and foam phoebe Putney's three intensive care units thirty-eight beds are now full with kovat 19

patients only the fourth ICU was handling everyone else steeped in care last night we stood up our fifth ICU and to take home in patients so we've got six of those patients in there now we think we can go to 11 caring for coronavirus patients takes more nurses

and it takes longer because those nurses have to shoot up somebody had a hundred critical care nurses they don't know what to do with you bring the Albany up put them to work but again that that doesn't exist now the National Guard is here to help with the

medical response Albany has seen hardship before in 2018 hurricane Michael left its mark power went out and stayed out but coronavirus is a different challenge me know my friends co-workers some family members just keep them in prayer because it's people that you know that are falling dead the

mayor of Albany wants other cities and other places to get ready implement shelter in place ordinances before this happens to your community and at the same time prepare for the worst that Phoebe Putney there's a fight against the worst of iris can bring but it's also a place

that may have the best cure somebody asked me if tell me about the fear and and I don't I don't see fear in people do I see some weary eyes of course I did but there's no fear here and people don't fear feel overwhelmed I to the contrary

I think people know that look we didn't bring this here Vista Southwest Georgia but we're going to be part of getting it out

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