VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta is one of the biggest hospitals in Southwest Georgia.
As such, a person who develops Ebola-like symptoms in Lowndes County or the surrounding area is likely to wind up at SGMC, so the Department of Public Health wants to make sure everyone knows how to handle the situation.
"We have actually had several meetings about that, even yesterday at SGMC there was a meting," said District Health Director Dr. William Grow.
If the patient is determined to be at a high risk for Ebola, the patient would immediately be put into isolation at SGMC and samples of their bodily fluids would be sent to Atlanta to confirm whether the patient has Ebola.
"They take swabs, they draw blood," Dr. Grow explained. "In that case, it would more than likely be transported to Atlanta via State Patrol, the fastest way possible, and get to the CDC, which can run tests, literally, within six hours."
While the hospital has its own protocols in place to handle that type of situation, Dr. Grow said there is no real uniform set of national protocols. "The statement I read this morning is, there is no standardized national protocol other than the information that has come out of the CDC. Now, let me tell you, that's gonna change rapidly," said Dr. Grow.
In the mean time, health officials in Lowndes County plan to continue to make sure they are prepared as they can be. "They were further planning to discuss the way that these patients will be managed and handled in isolation at that point. Even visuals on taking on gloves and suits that you use with hazardous materials," Dr. Grow explained.
Dr. Grow also emphasized that even if you have Ebola-like symptoms, unless you have been in close contact with an Ebola patient or have been to a country where Ebola is common, you probably don't have Ebola.