Local healthcare officials are urging citizens to remain calm and continue the precautionary measures promoted in the last few weeks as Emanuel County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced Monday, March 30. Around noon, East Georgia Healthcare Center published on Facebook a press release stating that its lab company sent word that a patient from Emanuel County had tested positive for coronavirus. Still, both EGHC officials and others in the healthcare profession have a two-word response: stay calm!
The COVID-19 patient was given strict quarantine orders immediately after the test and has been instructed since the result was returned to continue self-quarantining. According to EGHC, the patient, who cannot legally be identified due to HIPPA laws, has not been hospitalized and is doing well as of press time.
Every patient EGHC tests is given an immediate quarantine order pending results. The healthcare center has tested more than 20 individuals in Emanuel County and has resulted over half of them with only one positive. EGHC is awaiting the results from its lab on the remaining tests.
All healthcare organizations have worked together and have been in contact over the last few weeks to best align efforts in combating the ever-changing situation. East Georgia Healthcare is following all guidelines as outlined by the Department of Public Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control in regard to notifying and screening all individuals who were in contact with the first local patient. If you are at risk, you will be contacted by EGHC, the DPH, or the local health department.
In the meantime, if you feel symptomatic, there is a self-checker on the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-129) website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. To access this checker, click on “If You Think You Are Sick” and an orange box will appear on the bottom of the right-hand side of the screen.
Jennie Wren Denmark, CEO of East Georgia Healthcare, had this to say: “We have put in place some of the most stringent protocols in primary care to protect our patients and our staff. At this time we have no reason to believe our site, nor our community as a whole is any more at risk today than we were prior to the positive test we received Monday. We are blessed to have community partners like Emanuel Medical Center and our local health department that work together to respond to this ongoing public health emergency.”
Peyton Frye, practice manager of EGHC, added, “It is hard to quantify how important it is to follow the guidelines put in place by the White House, CDC, Governor Kemp, and DPH. If you, a family member, or friend has been tested and is awaiting results please respect the quarantine and treat the time awaiting results as if the individual is positive until the result show otherwise. These guidelines are not only to protect yourself, but also to protect loved ones and our communities as a whole.”
There are a few steps you can take to limit your exposure to coronavirus. Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid close contact with people, stay home if possible, cover your sneezes and coughs, wear a face mask only if you are sick, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
The Blade will provide updates as available both in print and online at emanuelcountylive.com/covid-19.