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How NGHS is handling employees with COVID-19
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Health care workers enter the mobile unit at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Friday, March 27, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

The Northeast Georgia Health System has employees that have tested positive for COVID-19 and are staying at home.

“Like most hospitals and health systems across the state and nation, we have had employees test positive for COVID-19,” Sandy Bozarth, Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s infection prevention and control manager, said in a statement. “We continue to follow (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines as the pandemic evolves to help protect the health of our employees, patients and community as much as possible.”

NGHS representatives did not say Wednesday how many employees have tested positive or where they work.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 or are waiting for test results are not allowed to return to work until at least seven days have passed since they first showed symptoms. They must be fever-free without using medication for at least 72 hours, along with improved respiratory symptoms.

“If an employee starts to exhibit any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they are required to call our Employee Health team,” Bozarth said. “Depending on their symptoms, they may be allowed to return to work, asked to monitor symptoms from home or tested for the virus.”

NGHS spokesman Sean Couch said an employee could return to work if “symptoms are not consistent with triggering concern of COVID-19.”

After those employees return to work, they must wear a mask until symptoms disappear or until 14 days have passed since the onset of symptoms, whichever time period is longer. They are also not allowed to have contact with patients with severely compromised immune systems for at least 14 days.

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