FROM NEWS PARTNER: Effects linger of cyberattack in Savannah

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For the fifth day, doctors, nurses and patients at St. Joseph’s/Candler on Monday made do with computer backup procedures, including the use of paper records, after a cyberattack prompted a shutdown of the hospitals’ network Thursday.

Spokesman Scott Larson issued a statement about 2 p.m. Monday:

"While we continue to investigate the incident, we’re working to get systems up and running as quickly and as safely as possible," Larson wrote. "Our priority is patient care, and our staff are committed to doing everything they can to mitigate disruption and provide uninterrupted care to our patients."

A breach in the computer systems that was ultimately revealed to be a ransomware attack was first discovered Thursday morning. Larson declined to reveal if ransom was demanded or how much.

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Faith-based and nonprofit St. Joseph’s/Candler is the largest hospital system in the area. Its two anchor hospitals offer a total of 714 beds compared with 612 beds at Memorial Health University Medical Center. St. Joseph’s/Candler employs about 4,200 people compared with Memorial’s 3,657.

As Larson noted Friday, patients with appointments for imaging, surgery, primary care, specialty physician practices or any other outpatient procedure are advised to keep their appointments. The hospital will contact patients if they need to be rescheduled.

Cancer care patients, particularly those receiving chemotherapy or radiation, remain an exception to that rule. They are advised to contact their doctors directly to check on the status of appointments and procedures.

Cyberattacks on hospitals have been growing exponentially in recent years, with one source calling health care the “No. 1 target for cybercrime,” according to a report in Becker Hospital Review.

In April, cancer patients at 42 health care sites across the U.S. saw service disrupted as a result of a breach of radiation treatment software distributed by the Swedish-based Elektra, which has its North American headquarters in Dunwoody, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Mary Landers is the environment and health reporter at the Savannah Morning News. Contact her at 912-655-8295. Twitter: @MaryLandersSMN

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Effects of cyberattack at Savannah’s largest health system lingers