Emory Healthcare treating 22 coronavirus patients, 170 people under investigation
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This story has been updated.
DeKalb County, GA – In the latest update to its staff, Emory Healthcare says it’s treating 22 confirmed coronavirus patients and that there are 170 persons under investigation.
An Emory update provided a few days ago said Emory Healthcare had seven “seven positive in-house admissions” and 126 persons under investigation.
The message did not say which Emory hospitals were taking care of these patients.
According to another email Decaturish received and a report in the AJC, nine area doctors also have COVID-19. The report could not pin down where the doctors were working. Another email from an Emory professor that was provided to Decaturish said there are “nine anesthesia staff (faculty, residents, and fellows) with COVID-19 with the expectation that number will rise significantly over the next few days.”
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An Emory spokesperson disputed the number of healthcare of workers who have tested positive for coronavirus but said some of its staff have contracted it.
“Contrary to published reports today, Emory Healthcare does not have the number of positive health care worker COVID-19 diagnoses as was reported earlier,” the spokesperson said. “The numbers remain well below that. Emory does, however, have personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating at home. Clinicians throughout metro Atlanta are working on the front lines to care for community members who come into our facilities. We also know community spread is occurring outside of health care settings. Emory adheres to the most stringent protocols for infection control, and as the volume of patients continues to increase, and as our capacity to test both providers and our community members increases, we will see more positive results. We continue to emphasize infection control standards and appreciate the exceptional work of our faculty and staff to care for patients with COVID-19 during this outbreak. We strongly encourage the public to similarly adhere to the guidance on social distancing to help us flatten the curve of this pandemic and ensure our health care infrastructure can meet the needs.”
Emory recently postponed elective surgeries until further notice.
The official state count of COVID-19 cases stands at 146. DeKalb County has 15 cases and ranks No. 3 in the state for reported COVID-19 cases. DeKalb had 10 confirmed cases on March 15. Worldwide there have been more than 197,000 reported cases and 7,905 deaths as of 8:09 p.m., March 17.
The numbers of cases in the United States are probably much higher but haven’t been reported due to limited testing. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that hospitals are telling people with mild symptoms of coronavirus not to seek tests.
Coronavirus symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure and include:
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– Shortness of breath
The CDC says the following symptoms require emergency medical attention:
– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
– Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
– New confusion or inability to arouse
– Bluish lips or face
Here are the recommendations on coronavirus prevention from the DeKalb County Board of Health:
– Wash your hands often with soap and 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.
– Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The DeKalb County Board of Health is encouraging people not to buy facemasks.
“Surgical masks should be reserved for people who exhibit symptoms (to prevent them from spreading the virus through respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus) and healthcare professionals who are taking care of sick people,” the DeKalb County Board of Health says. “Regular surgical face masks are not effective in protecting against the coronavirus, according to the CDC. A more specialized face mask known as N95 respirators are thicker than surgical masks and are fitted to a person’s face to keep out any viral particles.”
For more information from the Centers for Disease Control, click here.
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In a media telebriefing today, Gov. Brian Kemp said the state is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up testing sites in 18 different districts.
“I’d also like to encourage Georgians to support their local restaurants and drive-throughs,” Kemp said during the press conference, noting the governor’s team had ordered food from The Varsity, Chick-Fil-A and other restaurants.
“I want to encourage all Georgians to support their neighborhood businesses,” Kemp said. “We’ve got to buckle down and support each other and get through this together.”
He said the patient who was at Hard Labor Creek State Park left, but there’s a new patient there now. He said the state has ordered thousands of masks, gowns and goggles for medical workers but he’s unsure of the delivery date.
The governor said Dobbins Air Reserve Base still has 160 people from the more than 250 passengers from Grand Princess cruise ship.
He said passengers at the Atlanta airport are down 40 percent. A TSA agent who tested positive is in quarantine.
The state has seen an uptick in price gouging reports, mostly on food and water at grocery stores. He also said there are reports of people being offered a coronavirus test for a $300 mail-in fee.
“I would encourage Georgians if they feel like they need a test, call their doctor,” Kemp said. “People can pay for individual tests if they would like. … Make sure you’re not being taken advantage of.”
Following his Tuesday press briefing, Kemp submitted a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration, requesting SBA Director Kem Fleming to issue a declaration to provide SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to Georgia.
“Small businesses in Georgia are enduring severe economic hardship stemming from the spread of COVID-19. The effects of this pandemic vary by industry and economic sector, but it is clear that we must act,” Kemp said. “Georgia small businesses are the backbone of our state and national economies, and we look forward to working with SBA and our federal partners to support them in the weeks and months to come.”
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