Elbert County has first confirmed case of coronavirus

  • The Elberton Star is dedicated to keeping the citizens of Elbert County informed about the local effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
    The Elberton Star is dedicated to keeping the citizens of Elbert County informed about the local effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

4:45 p.m. April 2 UPDATE:

Elbert County Emergency Management Agency Director Chuck Almond said Thursday afternoon a patient who was tested positive for COVID-19 at Piedmont (Athens Regional) Hospital Wednesday evening had earlier in the day been transported to Athens from Elbert Memorial Hospital (EMH).

According to Almond, Elbert County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) received a 911 call from the patient Wednesday morning who needed to be taken to the local hospital for "medical reasons."

EMS transported the patient to EMH, and there the patient was treated in the emergency room. The EMH staff determined that the Elbert County patient needed to be treated at the Athens hospital, and Elbert County EMS transported the patient to Athens.

EMH Nursing Director Tammy Harlow said the patient was then taken to the Athens hospital and the patient arrived in an Elbert County EMS ambulance sometime "after lunch."

Almond said that during "in-depth" medical treatment the patient was receiving at the hospital in Athens, the staff there tested the patient and found out that the patient was positive for COVID-19. The Athens hospital contacted Almond and Harlow to tell them the patient was positive at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

According to Harlow, there was nothing to indicate to the EMH staff that the patient had COVID-19. The patient, said Harlow, did not indicate any COVID-19 suspicions while being treated.

Harlow said Thursday afternoon that she checked with staff at EMH and that none of the staff saw any indication that the patient had any symptoms of COVID-19.

"I went back and asked and they said there were no signs," said Harlow. She explained that everyone is screened before they enter the hospital, but in situations where a patient is brought in for medical emergency procedures they treat the patient quickly and the screening process is less intense. However, even after EMH found out the patient was positive for COVID-19, no one in the local emergency room reported that the patient had COVID-19 symptoms.

Almond said EMS personnel are wearing personal protective equipment on all calls.

Almond added that the patient's family has been contacted about the positive test. The patient is still being treated at Piedmont Hospital, according to Almond.

11:16 a.m. April 2 ORIGINAL:

After Elbert County Emergency Management Agency Director Chuck Almond confirmed Elbert County's first positive novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case Thursday morning just after 8:30 a.m., Practice Administrator Brooke McDowell said The Medical Center (TMC) of Elberton has sent out a total of 44 coronavirus tests and that 24 have come back negative.

The first confirmed case of an Elbert County resident happened overnight, according to Almond, who said the resident was "transported from Elbert County late last night" to a hospital in Athens.

In addition to TMC's 44 tests, Elbert Memorial Hospital (EMH) has tested one person (with negative results), and Almond said yesterday four citizens from Elbert County were referred to a drive-through testing location in Athens, meaning there have been 49 known tests of Elbert County residents that are either negative (25) or pending (24).

According to Almond, the one confirmed local positive case of COVID-19 was tested at an Athens hospital after the person was transported from Elbert County to the Athens hospital. There has been no indication, thus far, that the confirmed positive local resident was transported to the Athens hospital from EMH.

When the case was confirmed, Almond said the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Northeast District of DPH were notified. Almond also said that local health department officials, with guidance from state epidemiologists, have begun contact tracing. Almond said his office would provide information to the public when it becomes available.