As of Tuesday morning, Michael Purvis, Chief Executive Officer of Candler County Hospital, confirmed, “At this time, we have no suspected or confirmed (COVIC-19)patients in Metter or Candler County, with the closest county reporting a confirmed case being Tattnall County, Georgia, which is 33 miles away.” 

However, the Hospital is actively preparing for a worst case scenario. 

A release from the Hospital on Tuesday reads: 

At Candler County Hospital we strive to be the critical access hospital of choice for our patients and our community.  

In order to provide a safe, disinfected environment during the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are monitoring federal, state and local news of potential community spread. A reliable tool that we are using is the Coronavirus Map of cases confirmed in Georgia, at https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1Ak-caafZXmt9cVbKA48vWRXgpmVlUu4F&ll=31.849461813176187%2C-82.82239363504061&z=7.  

This map is refreshed each day at noon and is updated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  While the outbreak has been more active in larger populated counties in Georgia, we have been blessed with spring-like temperatures and have benefited from local community members adhering as much as possible to social distancing.

The CDC has recently asked that events of 10 or more people be cancelled for at least the next 90 days.

If you are sick

Dr. Loy “Chip” Cowart said, “We continue to take actions to help mitigate the spread of the novel COVID-19 at Candler Medical Group. We ask if you suspect the Coronavirus to call 912-685-5715, and let the staff know.  We will guide each patient by the signs and symptoms described.  

“Candler Medical Group now has a well entrance and an acutely ill entrance.  For all well visits, we ask our patients to continue to use the main entrance as normal at Candler Medical Group.  For acutely ill patients, with symptoms including loss of taste, smell, appetite, cough, fever greater than 100.4F, we ask that you call and park in the front parking lot.  

“We will have medical providers come to your car to provide care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Together we will ensure that we are able to provide the best care to keep you and your family as safe as possible during these historic, unprecedented times.  

“We are on Day 7 of President Donald J. Trump’s 15-day plan to observe social distancing and staying home as much as possible in order to hamper the spread and keep the sick patients at a manageable level for our local hospital.  May God continue to bless our wonderful community and our frontline healthcare providers as we continue to wage the war against the Coronavirus.

“We encourage our community to remain vigilant, calm and to take action based on facts and news releases from evidence-based research, such as federal, state and local law and medical enforcement agencies such as the Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and the Governor’s Office.”

Signs to look for

Dr. Chad Slaughter, Candler County Hospital Emergency Room Medical Director states, “The symptoms for 80% of our population may be mild, such as fever, respiratory symptoms to include dry cough and shortness of breath. The folks that are 55 and older with underlying medical issues are at greatest risk for hospitalization and more serious medical conditions.”  

Restricing access

For Candler County Hospital to remain safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are restricting entrance to the hospital for outpatient procedures and visitors Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. - 5 p.m. through the radiology entrance located off of Katherine Street. All other patients are restricted to the Emergency Room entrance.  

We have enacted a no visitor policy unless clinically approved by the attending physician. If you are approved to visit, all visitors will have to complete a wellness screen and will be given approved times to visit and will be restricted to the room or department in which the patient is in. 

Linda Coleman, Chief Nursing Officer comments, “By stepping up our surveillance practices and restricting entrance into the hospital, we will be better able to contain patients exhibiting symptoms that could be COVID-19 and reducing the risk of exposure.  

“We ask that each patient restrict visitors and inform families of the unique challenge of community spread as it relates to COVID-19. Our number one goal is the ongoing safety of our patients, staff and community members.”  

Dr. Slaughter suggests anyone experiencing symptoms that may be severe to contact the Emergency Room at 912-685-1726. If you cannot call but seek medical attention at the hospital, we ask that you go ahead and place a mask on the infected individual and let the staff know upon entrance of your condition.  

If we all work together, we will be able to reduce the community spread and number of infected folks significantly. The best way to handle each person’s risk is to keep our hands clean and to socially distance ourselves until the threat has passed.”

Editor’s Note: The Hospital has a new link on their website to provide updates regarding COVID-19. This link will directly connect the user to the hospital’s Facebook page and does not require any Facebook account credentials to access.

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