Update RE: Requests for information re: COVID-19 Updates

Mark Austin - KN4KTZ


   An official update that I can share on the subject.


At Wellstar, the health and safety of our patients, team members, and communities is our top priority. We can confirm that we are treating patients diagnosed with COVID -19, but out of respect for our patients and privacy laws, we cannot comment on the specifics regarding location or the condition of patients. We can confirm we are following the protocols and recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health authorities – including discharging positive patients who are stable and do not need inpatient care. We encourage the public to review the CDC’s guidelines about COVID-19 symptoms and self-care, so we can continue to test and treat our most vulnerable patients.


Below please find some basic facts about COVID-19:

·         There is no treatment available, most people simply get better over time

·         In most cases, people who have COVID-19 are asked to stay home for 14 days

·         Visiting a healthcare provider could infect others and put patients at risk for infection

·         Patients must meet specific criteria to be considered for COVID-19 testing

·         A positive test may not change your treatment plan or require hospitalization




I also encourage you to read this article, if you haven’t seen it:



All the best,





From: Mark Austin - KN4KTZ via Groups.Io
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2020 2:15 PM

Subject: [**WARNING** EXTERNAL MAIL] [BC-ARES] Requests for information re: COVID-19 Updates


There are understandably some questions and concern regarding the current COVID-19 situation.  Please understand that, at this time, I cannot comment on whether or not either of our hospitals have treated any patients with COVID-19.  What I am happy to share is that both of our hospitals are well prepared to provide the assessment and treatment needed, while safeguarding both our staff and the public. We have closely monitored the situation as it has developed, and invested substantial resources to educate, train and equip our staff.  You may recall that both of our hospitals participated in a large-scale Ebola exercise this past November; we did quite well.  This recent training and education effort has provided significant dividends, in that it prepared our staff for the proper protocols in treating a patient with a Highly Infectious Disease. I can assure you that treating COVID-19 is nowhere near as challenging as handling a patient with Ebola. Both of our hospitals remain committed to meeting the healthcare needs of our communities while maintaining the highest safety precautions as promulgated by the CDC and DPH (Georgia Department of Public Health). Testing is available for those who meet the designated criteria.


Following CDC and DPH guidelines, both of our hospitals have adopted new visitor policies for the response. These policies are designed to protect patients, visitors, staff and our communities. Signs are posted at the hospital entrances with the latest policy information.


Attached you will find the latest guidance regarding testing, just published this a.m. from the DPH District Health Director. I’ve also attached the latest DPH guidance for older adults. As the District Health Director states, if you think you may meet the criteria for COVID-19, please ensure you contact our ER first- we have protocols to properly screen you without you entering the Waiting Room and potentially placing others in the community at risk.


We should all be prudent but not paranoid regarding COVID-19. Standard, time-proven public health protocols still apply and remain quite effective:






As always, we at Spalding Regional and Sylvan Grove Hospitals appreciate your willingness and availability to assist our facilities and the communities we serve.  With ARES activated state-wide, the emergency communication support you provide, coupled with your experience and skill sets, are appreciated now more than ever.


For an operational readiness update, a dipole HF antenna was installed atop the SRH antenna on Saturday.  We tested it during the Saturday evening Hospital Net and had no issues communicating with Net Control in Savannah- connection was 5:5.

All the best,




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