Emergency Operation Center set up at public health - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Emergency Operation Center set up at public health

By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Work stations are set up, and staff take their positions in the new Emergency Operation Center. There they will monitor any activities surrounding Swine flu in our area and provide the resources needed if it ever reaches Southwest Georgia.

"You have several groups that are working together to try to coordinate the activities through out the district, " said Southwest Georgia Deputy Health Director, Brenda Greene

The CDC has issued new guidelines to doctors about who should be tested. "Persons that should be screened are those people who have influenza with fever cough or sore throat," said Southwest Georgia Public Health District Director, Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

That list also includes anyone admitted in the Intensive Care Unit for flu-like symptoms. Those admitted for respiratory illness, and test positive for influenza A. And anyone who has traveled to affected areas or has been exposed to the virus.

The warning also goes to the clinicians administering the test. "It is very important that when providers do testing that they protect themselves with a N-95 mask, " said Dr. Grant.

The Public health department emphasizes that anyone who feels sick should stay home and visit their primary care provider. "The symptoms are fever of 100 degrees ferienhiet or higher, sore throat, coughing, runny nose. And some people have diarrhea," said Dr. Grant.

Physicians who order the test for any of their patients should contact public health regardless of the results. "That's how we know the number of cases we have. And that's how we know where they are. It's very important that if we do have a confirmed case that public health starts an investigation and find the contacts," said Dr. Grant.

And they hope with the heightened surveillance they can keep swine flu from becoming a pandemic or even hitting Southwest Georgia.

A hotline will also be set up by the Southwest Georgia Public Health District at the end of the week for anyone with questions about Swine flu. Of course we will give you that phone number as soon as it becomes available.

A list of the new guidelines for health care providers is available on the public health district website.

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