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Employee at South Georgia Medical Center tests positive for COVID-19

Second confirmed case in Lowdnes County
South Georgia Medical Center
Posted at 2:12 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 14:19:10-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the South Health District has confirmed one new positive case of COVID-19 in Lowndes County.

Late Saturday evening, the South Georgia Medical Center says they were notified that an employee who was considered a “high” risk of exposure to the first positive coronavirus patient in Lowdnes County, has also tested positive for COVID-19.

SGMC determined this team member was exposed on March 6 and some of the initial symptoms were noticed on March 11, when this person was identified as a high risk exposure and placed under monitoring guidance at home, since their symptoms have not been severe enough for hospitalization.

During SGMC’s daily wellness checks, this person has reported doing well and as of last night reported 75 percent of symptoms have been resolved. SGMC officials do not expect the employee to receive additional treatment since initial symptoms are improving while at home.

Immediately after receiving the test results Saturday evening, SGMC says they've taken three key steps:

  • First, SGMC notified the Department of Public Health and members of its COVID-19 clinically led Readiness Team and members of that team have since met with DPH officials to plan the next appropriate steps as recommended by the DPH and according to CDC guidelines.
  • Second, SGMC immediately made the team member aware of the test results and have continued to monitor progress as originally planned while recovering at home. All other SGMC team members who have been identified as high risk of exposure from the initial patient continue monitoring guidance at home and are not showing signs or symptoms requiring further evaluation or treatment at the time of this report.
  • Third, SGMC has undertaken additional steps in its exposure protocol to determine who may have been exposed to the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 and is working through its risk stratification protocol with guidance from the DPH and CDC. SGMC will efficiently communicate with each one identified and establish the appropriate monitoring guidance once determined.

Those exposed who show symptoms will get evaluated and possibly tested.

"At this time, we are not aware of any who have been exposed to this team member that are symptomatic, but will continue to work thoroughly through the process to determine who if any need monitoring guidance or further evaluation," said SGMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Dawson.

SGMC has not and is not currently treating any known COVID-19 patients in any of its three hospitals. According to current reports, there are two positively diagnosed COVID-19 patients in Lowndes County.

SGMC Chief Executive Officer Ronald E. Dean said, “SGMC continues to emphasize the importance of self awareness and personal responsibility to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Hand washing, surface cleaning, social distancing, coughing in a tissue, no large gatherings and remaining at home if you are sick unless you need medical care are some of the best preventive measures to exercise.”'

For the latest on COVID-19 cases in Georgia, click here.