BRUNSWICK, Georgia: March 11, 2020 – Since Southeast Georgia Health System began actively monitoring patients for coronavirus, we have consulted with the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) on a number of patients. To date, GDPH has authorized testing for two patients based on their clinical presentation and on Tuesday, March 10, the Health System received notification from GDPH that a patient treated at Southeast Georgia Health System-Camden Campus has preliminarily tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Results for the second patient have not yet been finalized.
A 29-year-old Charlton County female presented to the Camden Campus’ Emergency Care Center with respiratory symptoms on Saturday, March 7. The patient was screened according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and GDPH screening guidelines and was subsequently treated and released. She did not meet the testing criteria for COVID-19 or warrant hospitalization.
The patient returned to the Camden Campus Emergency Care Center on Monday, March 9, with worsening symptoms. Despite no travel history or known exposure to COVID-19, the physicians caring for the patient made the determination to place her in isolation, admit her to the hospital for further monitoring and contact GDPH to request authorization for COVID-19 testing. The preliminary test result was deemed positive. Additional confirmatory testing is being performed and results from CDC are anticipated in the coming days.
While we await final confirmation, the Health System has been advised by GDPH to notify caregivers who treated this patient prior to isolation. In addition, although the risk of exposure is low, the Health System has made the decision to proactively notify all patients who may have had contact with any of these caregivers or who may have been in the Emergency Care Center at the time the patient was present in order to instruct them on next steps and address concerns.
The public can be assured that it is safe to seek care at Southeast Georgia Health System and we are prepared to assist the community as we all manage this complex health issue. We have the facilities and the expertise to care for patients suspected of having an infectious disease while protecting the safety of all of our patients, visitors and team members. Both acute care campuses have negative pressure isolation rooms with specialized ventilation systems and our caregivers use personal protective equipment when necessary.
The latest guidance on COVID-19 is available through the GDPH at its toll-free number, 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584), its website dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov. For further information regarding Southeast Georgia Health System’s COVID-19 preparedness and local information, please visit sghs.org.