A third person in Georgia has tested positive for coronavirus, however the CDC has not yet confirmed the test.
The patient is a 46-year-old woman who lives in Polk County and went to Floyd Medical Center for testing. The initial test was completed by the Georgia Public Health Labratory on Thursday.
Testing protocols established by the CDC dictate that the the test results are sent to the CDC for confirmation. Testing at most state laboratories, including Georgia, is just underway, and because of previous flaws in the test components sent to state laboratories, the CDC requires all presumptive positives for COVID-19 be sent to them for verification.
The Georgia Department of Public Health says it expects to have results from the CDC “in the coming days.”
Officials remind Georgians not to panic
In a statement Friday morning, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reminded Georgians not to panic and to get their information from official government agencies like the Georgia Department of Health and the CDC.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not confirmed initial test results for this patient. The Georgia Department of Public Health has requested expedited processing for an official determination,” said Governor Kemp. “To prevent the spread of incomplete or inaccurate information, we encourage Georgians to rely on guidance from the CDC, the DPH, and my office. We will continue to provide regular updates to keep the public informed and ensure the health and safety of families across our state.”
The Department of Public Health is attempting to identify any contacts who may have been exposed to the individuals who have been infected with coronavirus in Georgia. People who are identified as having come in contact with the patients will be notified directly by the health department.
More About The Patient
The 46-year-old woman first visited Floyd Medical Center’s Emergency Care Center with flu-like symptoms on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 29. The patient was screened according to CDC and health department screening guidelines and was subsequently treated and released. She did not meet the testing criteria for COVID-19 or warrant hospitalization, officials at Floyd Medical said.
The patient returned to Floyd’s Emergency Care Center on Tuesday, March 3 with worsening symptoms. Further tests were completed, the health department was notified and subsequently authorized her release. Despite the patient, again not meeting COVID-19 screening criteria, Floyd clinicians made the determination to admit her to the hospital due to her condition.
The patient was placed in isolation and further screening was conducted. At the adamant urging of the attending physician and District Health Director Dr. Gary Voccio, CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health officials authorized COVID-19 testing for the patient. The preliminary test result was deemed positive.
Floyd Medical officials have made the decision to proactively notify all patients who may have had contact with any of the patient’s caregivers or anyone who may have been in the Emergency Room at the time the patient was present in order to instruct them on next steps and address concerns.
Floyd Medical officials say they want the public to know that it is safe to seek care at Floyd.
“We have the facilities and the expertise to care for those patients while protecting the safety of all of our patients, visitors and employees. Floyd has negative pressure isolation rooms with specialized ventilation systems. Our staff participates in drills and training routinely to maintain a state of continual readiness, and our caregivers use personal protective equipment when caring for any patient suspected of having an infectious disease,” the hospital said in a statement.
Avoiding the virus
The Department of Public Health is reminding Georgians that the risk of coronavirus to the public remains low at this time. All Georgians should follow basic prevention measures for any respiratory illness, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of coronavirus and develop fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have coronavirus, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away.
Health department officials want to sress the importance of calling ahead before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center and tell them about any recent travel and symptoms.