Earlier today the nursing home was notifying families and visitors that the ban on visitation had started. It will last until after the virus peaks. The nursing home isn’t the only segment of Chattooga County that’s reacting. Both Trion and Chattooga Schools are taking steps to prevent the virus in the classroom.
Trion City Schools Superintendent Phil Williams said he’s hired a person solely dedicated to sanitizing doorknobs, desks, keyboards and other surfaces. The current maintenance crew is also sanitizing every day. Then on the weekends, they are fumigating the rooms.
Both Supt. Williams and Chattooga Superintendent Jared Hosmer both agree that good hygiene is the best solution.
The Chattooga system has put together a response team. It will be responsible for educating students and staff on how to avoid contracting or spreading the disease.
“We are just teaching them to wash your hands, sneeze to your elbow and things like that,” Supt. Hosmer said.
Janitors at each school will increase their efforts at cleaning common surfaces in classrooms and other locations around the school.
“We have asked our custodians to do extra cleaning of all the surfaces,” Hosmer said.
Schools officials will watch the spread and severity of the new disease and will respond if needed. Some school systems are looking at different strategies, like taking a longer spring breaks or online classrooms. These options have not been implemented here, however, as of yet.
So far, the infectious coronavirus has spread into Georgia with numerous cases now and today Governor Brian Kemp announced Georgia had its first death from the virus. How this disease will impact local life is unknown. It’s an emerging disease with little data to help scientists pinpoint its impact, Northwest Georgia Public Health District spokesman Logan Boss said.
“We have never seen seasonal flu shut down a large and powerful country as it did in China,” Boss said.
Comparing the flu and coronavirus is hard since one is just emerging onto the global stage.
“We just don’t have the numbers in yet to make those calculations,” Boss said.
The coronavirus has killed 39 people in the United States as of noon.
The staff at Oakview Nursing Home and Rehabilitation in Summerville started monitoring the outbreak more than a week ago.
“It’s basically universal precautions, wash hands, cover a cough,” said local nursing home Administrator Reno Lambert said.
Local public health officials said they’ve already got a plan.
“We are not starting off from scratch,” Boss said. “The State of Georgia has been working around the clock to get ready for whatever happens.”
The health department and the local emergency management agency will work together on addressing the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“The health department is ready to help Chattooga County to manage and mitigate any health problems from this disease,” Boss said.
“We knew that Georgia would likely have confirmed cases of COVID-19, and we planned for it. The immediate risk of COVID-19 to the general public, however, remains low at this time,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner. “I cannot emphasize enough the need for all Georgians to follow the simple precautions that DPH always urges to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.”
COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. Those considered at risk for contracting the virus are individuals with travel to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 or individuals in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
* 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.
The flu is still widespread and active throughout the state, so if you have not already received a flu shot, it is not too late. While the flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, it will prevent serious complications that require hospitalization and prevent overburdening the health care system in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 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 COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.