Georgia state lab tests H1-N1 specimens - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Georgia state lab tests H1-N1 specimens

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia health officials say lab technicians are now working 24 hours a day, seven days a week reviewing possible flu specimens from around the state.

So far, the LaGrange case is the only positive case in Georgia. Fifty specimens do not meet the H-1 N-1 criteria and results are pending in 19 other cases, but many more specimens are yet to be tested.

The CDC decided Friday a swine flu victim hospitalized in Georgia will be added to the flu count in her home state of Kentucky. However, Georgia health officials still consider it a Georgia case since she is hospitalized in LaGrange.

The Southwest Georgia Health District continues to answer questions such as should children wear masks to school and what will happen if the H-1-N-1 virus shows up on a college campus. They reached out to its partner agencies with information about the H-1-N-1, swine flu virus and in turn those agencies had a lot of questions.

"I will say we've already had parents asking us, well can my kid wear a mask?" said a southwest Georgia schools superintendent.

"Currently we don't have a large number of sick individuals in our schools, in our communities or in our public places," said Dr. Jacqueline Grant, Southwest Georgia Public Health District Director.

So those dust masks aren't necessary. They're still flying off the shelves at Safety Max, where they've had requests for everything from antiseptic wipes to gloves. One company wanted 2,000 personal protection kits.

"It's got latex gloves, it's got Purrell hand sanitizer, some Kleenex, hand sanitizing wipes, and some dust masks," said Ken Barnhill, Safety Max, owner.

If you're sick what the government recommends is a N-95 mask to keep germs from spreading. Area colleges and training institutes, like Turner Job Corps want to know what to do with students if they get a confirmed case and they can't be sent home.

"We have close to a thousand students who live on campus. What would your recommendation be it someone gets sick? Can we quarantine them and we could send them back home, but they would be using public transportation?" questioned a representative from Turner Job Corps.

For now health officials say self isolation is the best solution, meaning if you're sick, you should stay home and away from others.

"If they're in a dorm room for instance moving a roommate out and having them in the room," said Grant.

The state health department has set up a hotline for citizens wanting more information, the recorded statement can be heard by calling 1-888-899-9788.

Georgia doesn't reach federal recommendations on the amount stockpiled of anti-virals to treat swine flu.  Because of budget cuts, the state only has enough to treat about 18-percent of the state's population when its combined with the federal government's allocation for Georgia which was received Friday.

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