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Bainbridge taking all precautions for Coronavirus

By Powell Cobb & Carolyn Iamon

After a National Emergency was declared by U.S. President Donald Trump over Coronavirus on Friday, Bainbridge and Decatur County are taking all necessary precautions to keep residents safe from COVID-19 and quickly treat anyone who becomes infected.

As of Friday, there have been 42 confirmed cases and one death from the Coronavirus in Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp and other state leaders are currently working to curb the respiratory virus’s spread. Those over the age of 60 and/or chronically ill are most vulnerable. Avoiding contact with crowds and remaining in their homes in the event of an outbreak is most advisable, state officials said.

“There is no need for people to panic,” Kemp said. “But we’re also not going to sugar-coat it.”

Decatur County Superintendent Tim Cochran announced Friday afternoon that the school system will suspended all school activities beginning Monday, March 16, for two weeks, at the guidance of the Governor’s office. Students were already scheduled to have spring break March 30 through April 3, meaning they will not return to class until Monday, April 6.

Cochran advised parents to visit dcboe.com to help students continue their active learning through links to online learning activities. No meals will be provided to students during the break.

Memorial Hospital and Manor CEO Jim Lambert said on Thursday the hospital is managing all visitations at this time in an effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus while continuing to follow CDC guidelines for prevention and preparation.

Anyone with fever, cough, shortness of breath or symptoms of a cold are not permitted to visit or accompany patients for visits. No one under the age of 18 is allowed to visit and all visitor access to the Manor, where residents are more vulnerable, is restricted.

He added further that they are controlling public access to the building by requiring all to enter the Emergency Department entrance, where they are screened.

He urged anyone experiencing symptoms to first call their physician, and if testing is deemed and ordered, they are meeting people in their cars to collect samples, which are then sent off to Quest. At this point the hospital has adequate testing kits, but not the ability to perform testing on-site.

The hospital restaurant has also been closed to the public.

To the best of Lambert’s knowledge, as of Thursday, March 12, he knew of one test done at the hospital, the results of which were negative, and had heard one physician’s office had tested one person, but had no results as yet.

He said the current census at the hospital is stable, with some patients in labor, and not much else.
In case of an infectious person being admitted to the hospital, plans are in place to convert individual rooms to negative impact isolation space, accessed only by a nurse.

Lambert said the hospital has a plan and preparing for any eventuality. Special training is being given to the staff by Lee Johnson, a quality infectious disease nurse in how to care for an infected person, while taking every precaution against spreading the virus.

For more information and to watch for updates, please visit the hospital website; www.mh-m.org as well as www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019 and dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus.

SRTC announced as of the close of the business day Friday that all SRTC campus locations and sites will be closed. At this time, the College is not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases at any of its campus locations. However, to ensure the health and safety of the Southern Regional Technical College community, all SRTC locations and sites (including online students and courses) will be closed Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3.

The SRTC administrative team has decided to move our scheduled Spring Break from the week of April 6 to the week of March 30.

Additionally, all college-related travel has been suspended for faculty and staff. All faculty and staff are expected to report Monday, March 16 for a briefing, further clarification, and to be included in the decision-making process as it relates to their department or program.