Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response in Georgia
The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a global health threat, but the actual risk of contracting the disease is very low for people in Georgia. To date there have been no cases of COVID-19 in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is taking various measures to protect the health of Georgians and keep the disease from spreading if we do have a case in Georgia. The best way to prevent the spread of a disease is to rapidly identify it and isolate sick people to keep others from becoming ill. In order to rapidly identify a case of COVID-19, DPH is taking the following steps:
- Contacting all travelers who have recently returned from mainland China. These travelers are healthy, do not have any high-risk exposures to the virus, and do not pose an immediate threat to the community. These measures are being done out of an abundance of caution. These travelers are instructed to:
- Stay at home for 14 days after they departed from China. DPH explains how to perform social distancing, which includes staying out of school and work, and avoiding contact with other people. They may return to normal activities, including work and school, after the 14 day period.
- Monitor their symptoms closely for 14 days after they departed from China and report to DPH immediately if they develop fever or respiratory symptoms so they can be safely evaluated and tested for COVID-19 if needed.
- Quarantining travelers from Hubei Province, China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak. There are currently no Georgia travelers who have returned from Wuhan or Hubei Province requiring quarantine.
- Working with the CDC Quarantine Station at the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport to identify any ill travelers returning from China so that they can be safely evaluated and tested for COVID-19 if needed.
- Educating the healthcare community to always ask patients about travel history, and notify public health immediately if a person seeks care for respiratory illness and has recent travel history to China.
DPH routinely responds to and contains disease outbreaks and is prepared to rapidly respond in order to protect the public’s health if a case of COVID-19 is found in a Georgia. Whilethe overall risk of coronavirus to the general public is low, the best way to prevent infection withany respiratory virus is:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Read updated CDC information about the virus, how it is spread, and how to protect yourself: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
Find answers to frequently asked questions:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
Read current DPH guidance: https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus