Ebola safeguards: Local hospitals, health officials prepared | savannahnow.com

Rita Allen is a registered nurse who’s certified in infection control at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital.

She says the hospitals have to be prepared to prevent infections.

“We’re watching what’s going on around the world. We know diseases like this can travel — it’s an open world,” Allen said. “We hope we never get an Ebola patient here, but if we do, we’ll be prepared to treat them.”

Ebola has stricken more than 8,000 people in West Africa, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since March, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 3,800 people have died.

One key to preventing the spread of Ebola is early dection, said Dr. Jay Goldstein, medical director of the Emergency Department at Savannah’s Memorial University Medical Center.

Ebola, which is not airborne and is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, has a 21-day incubation period during which patients show no signs of infection and are not contagious, according to the CDC.

One challenge, Goldstein said, is that early signs of Ebola are similar to the common flu.

“There is no red flag except for travel or contact history,” he said. “For the most part patients initially present with almost exactly the same symptoms as flu patients. That’s the scary reality of this illness.”

Goldstein and Allen agreed that if a patient who recently has been in West Africa shows any symptoms, the patient would be placed in isolation.

The next step, hospital officials said, would be to alert public health officials, starting with the Coastal Health District who would be responsible for tracking and responding to a disease outbreak such as Ebola.

Coastal Health spokeswoman Sally Silbermann said her agency would advise health workers of recommendations made by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, identify and contact anyone who may have had contact with the patient and distribute information to the public.

“The ultimate goal of public health, along with our community partners, is to work together to do whatever is necessary to ensure the public’s health and safety,” she said.

Because there are so many different ways to access the Savannah area, it’s important area health officials be prepared to treat infectious diseases such as Ebola, Allen said.

“It is concerning because we’re in a port city, there’s (Interstate) 95, we have an airport, there is military here. These are all things that you take into consideration with any type of infection control plan,” she said.

Allen said St. Joseph’s/Candler would likely keep an Ebola patient there for treatment, while Goldstein said Memorial might consider transporting the patient to another hospital, perhaps Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, where stricken aid workers recovered from the infection earlier this year.

In either case, both health systems have the necessary protective equipment for staff members and would place patients in low-trafficked isolation areas.

via Ebola safeguards: Local hospitals, health officials prepared | savannahnow.com.

Deal: Ga. hospitals prepared for Ebola response | AccessNorthGa

State Health Officer Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald says hospitals across the state either have or will do exercises to prepare for a patient with symptoms.

Fitzgerald says any hospital in the state is capable of isolating a patient whose travel history and symptoms indicate they could have the virus. She also defended Deal, who has been criticized for saying that water kills the Ebola virus.

via Deal: Ga. hospitals prepared for Ebola response | AccessNorthGa.

Gov. Nathan Deal forming Ebola response team | Gwinnett Daily Post

Deal says the group will be composed of representatives from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the state Department of Community Health and other organizations — including Emory University Hospital, which has treated four Americans that have been diagnosed with the virus.

Deal says the team will convene this week and begin issuing recommendations immediately.

Atlanta city officials have also asked department heads for plans and preventative strategies on Ebola and other diseases.

via Gov. Nathan Deal forming Ebola response team | Gwinnett Daily Post.

Former colleagues scramble for lieutenant-governor’s chair | Online Athens

During his time in office, Cagle has poured his energy primarily into two projects.

One is a pool of taxpayer funds and venture-capital cash that will be invested in start-up companies as a way to eventually stimulate job creation.

The second is a growing network of high schools called career academies that offer technical skills and some college courses. He wants to have more of them across the state.

“Furthermore, I am committed to expanding our efforts to ensure our students have the skills they need to compete in the 21st Century global economy by launching a world-class apprenticeship program that exposes children to the experience and skills needed to get a job,” he said.

Stokes, though, blames him for what she considers inadequate funding of public schools. She argues that enough waste can be cut to boost education funding.

“It’s budgetary,” she said. “We want to make sure that we have no debt in education.”

An additional priority of hers is the expansion of Medicaid by using financial incentives in the federal Affordable Care Act. Although Republicans say state taxpayers can’t afford it, according to her, expansion would actually boost the economy and create health care jobs while extending benefits to more people.

via Former colleagues scramble for lieutenant-governor’s chair | Online Athens.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 20, 2014

Female Boston Terrier

This young female Boston Terrier is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, Ga.

Male Boston Terrier

I suspect this young male Boston Terrier was her companion; he is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, Ga.


Lab 4 month puppy

P.D.Q. is a 4-month old Lab mix puppy who has out-of-state foster arranged, but he needs funds for his vetting and a three-week stay in boarding. To help him, visit his Facebook page and let them know your pledge in the comments.

Litter of 8

This litter of Shepherd/Retriever mix puppies is in urgent need of foster or permanent homes. They are available for adoption from Polk County Animal Control in Cedartown, GA.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 20, 2014

The United States Senate ratified a treaty with France on October 20, 1805, closing the deal on the Louisiana Purchase.

On October 20, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt stopped in Roswell to visit his mother’s girlhood home at Bulloch Hall.

Lewis Grizzard was born on October 20, 1946 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

On October 20, 1977, a small twin-engine plane carrying members of Lynyrd Skynyrd from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana crashed in a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray died in the crash.

This Weekend’s  Debates for Gov., Lt. Gov., Secretary of State

WMAZ writes that the debate between incumbent Republican Governor Nathan Deal, Democrat challenger Jason Carter, and Libertarian Andrew Hunt, returned to old ground as Deal and Carter revisited their disagreement over school funding.

Deal and Carter attacked each other over this year’s state education budget, which Carter did not vote for.

“Now what I have done in my four budgets is to appropriate a great percentage of general state revenue for K-12 education than any Governor since Carl Sanders was Governor back in the early 60′s. That is in 50 years. And this year the largest, single appropriation, as our economy was rebounding, was in this year’s budget, some 535 million additional dollars,” Deal said. (more…)

Hall Co. reports 21st confirmed rabies case for 2014 | AccessNorthGa

LULA – Another rabies case has been confirmed for Hall County, and Animal Services officials say it’s the 21st confirmed case of the year.

This time a rabid skunk came into contact with three dogs on Southern Magnolia Lane in northeastern Hall County. The skunk was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab in Decatur, and Hall County officials received confirmation of the positive rabies test Thursday.

via Hall Co. reports 21st confirmed rabies case for 2014 | AccessNorthGa.

Georgia launches teen driving safety campaign | AccessNorthGa

ATLANTA (AP) The Georgia Department of Driver Services is launching a campaign to encourage parents of teen drivers to talk to their children about safe driving.

The “5 to Drive” campaign coincides with National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs Oct. 19-25. The campaign urges parents of teens to talk to them about safe driving and to set rules before their teens hit the road.

The department says the campaign addresses the five most dangerous behaviors for teen drivers. It gives parents five rules to share with their kids:

1. No Drinking and Driving.

2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.

3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.

4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.

5. Observe Passenger Restrictions.

via Georgia launches teen driving safety campaign | AccessNorthGa.