Floyd Co. hospital: Georgia patient ‘preliminarily’ tests positive for coronavirus, CDC now testing

FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Public Health said a patient in Floyd County preliminarily tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19.

A 46-year-old woman went to Floyd Medical Center’s Emergency Care Center with flu-like symptoms on Feb. 29. She had previously to Washington D.C.

The patient was screened according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and GDPH screening guidelines and was then treated and released. The hospital said she did not meet the testing criteria for COVID-19 or warrant hospitalization.

The woman then returned to Floyd’s Emergency Care Center on March 3 with worsening symptoms. After more tests, the GDPH was notified and later allowed her release.

Despite the patient, again, not meeting COVID-19 screening criteria, Floyd clinicians made the determination to admit her to the hospital due to her condition.

'The patient is in quarantine at the hospital, there’s no risk of anyone coming into the hospital and coming into contact with this person," Gary Voccio with the Northwest Georgia Public Health Department said.

The woman was placed in isolation and doctors continued to screen her. After doctors and the District Health Director Dr. Gary Voccio voiced their concerns about testing, the CDC and GDPH authorized COVID-19 testing for the patient.

The preliminary test result came back positive Thursday night. Additional testing to confirm the virus is being performed and results from CDC are anticipated in the coming days.

While health officials wait for final confirmation, hospital workers have been advised by GDPH to notify caregivers who treated this patient prior to isolation on Tuesday.

In addition, although the risk of exposure is low, Floyd medical officials made the decision to proactively notify all patients who may have had contact with any of these caregivers or who may have been in the ER at the time the patient was present in order to instruct them on next steps and address concerns.

The hospital president told Channel 2’s Kristen Holloway that they were already prepared and ready for this.

“We prepared an infectious disease unit that we have here in the hospital, it has a negative pressure. It has some anti-rooms so that we can isolate a patient and do what’s called, dawning and doffing, of the protective the equipment,” said Kurt Stuenkel, President and CEO of Floyd Medical Center.

Stuenkel stressed that no one should panic and that it is safe to get treatment at the hospital.