By Tia Lynn Ivey
The first known case of the coronavirus in Morgan County has been confirmed. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), Morgan County now has one confirmed case of COVID-19 as of press time on Tuesday, March 24.
GDPH has reported as Tuesday, March 24, at noon that Georgia has a total of 1,026 confirmed cases of the coronavirus that has resulted in 32 deaths.
No information has been released about the infected person in Morgan County—neither how severe the case is nor from which part of the county the person resides. There is no information being released to the public as to where this person was tested for COVID-19.
“We are aware of the case,” said Morgan County Manager Adam Mestres. “I don’t have any additional information at this time.”
Megan Morris, director of community affairs and public relations for Morgan Medical Center, noted that the infected patient was not treated at the hospital.
“The one confirmed positive case in the county was not a person tested at the hospital so we do not have any information to share,” said Morris. “I can tell you that HIPAA states that in order to protect patient confidentiality we cannot release any geographic information that would be smaller in scope than the State. That said, even if it was a patient of ours I wouldn’t be able to tell you what part of the county they live in. We are prepared and ready to treat patients as the need arises.”
Morgan Medical Center enacted an emergency operation plan last week to prepare for any rise in local cases of the coronavirus.
“While we have been tracking and preparing for Coronavirus for quite some time now, we activated our Emergency Operations Plan last week and our Incident Command Team has been meeting twice daily since that time,” said Morris. “To ensure that we continue to be prepared as the situation evolves, we evaluate supplies, staffing, bed availability, and emergency plans at each meeting. We have implemented a No Visitation Policy, stopped elective surgeries, and all staff, vendors, and individuals visiting the hospital for outpatient appointments are screened before being allowed entry into the facility. “
Morris expressed gratitude to the local community to for the generosity and concern shown for local healthcare workers during this pandemic.
“The outpouring of concern and support from the community for our staff during this time has been incredible and we are very grateful!” said Morris. “We are routinely asked how people can help us. The best answer is ‘by staying home’ and following social distancing guidelines that have been recommended by the CDC! Slowing the spread of germs is of extreme importance to ensure that healthcare systems and resources do not become overwhelmed.”