Latest COVID-19 case in Effingham County is middle school employee

Local News

RINCON, Ga. (WSAV) – An employee at a local middle school has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Effingham County School District (ECSD) Sunday.

The district says the employee works at Ebenezer Middle School in Rincon.

It’s unclear at this time whether the employee is included in the state health department’s Sunday noon report of two Effingham County cases.

“We can’t draw the lines between the cases we report and what others are saying – we just have to stick with the info we are permitted to release,” stated Ginger Heidel with the Coastal Health District (CHD), noting that the county of residence is the only information routinely released.

She said that hospitals, employers and patients are now often reporting cases on their own and with commercial labs involved in testing, CHD is not always the first to know about new cases.

Last week, Savannah’s Memorial Health confirmed they are treating an Effingham County resident. St. Joseph’s/Candler last night reported a second patient in the hospital system tested positive for the virus.

Scott Larson, spokesman for St. Joseph’s/Candler, couldn’t reveal additional details on the patient. He stated Saturday night that the patient was isolated and in stable condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital and that every precaution was taken to protect others from the transmission of the virus.

Meanwhile, ECSD could not comment on the employee’s position at Ebenezer Middle or provide information on whether the staff member was hospitalized.

Further, the school district could not confirm to News 3 whether they had been in contact with CHD.

An ECSD spokeswoman did say, however, that Ebenezer Middle parents were notified of the case by email Saturday afternoon.

“Our belief is that no one in the school has had contact with the individual for quite some time, therefore reducing the chance for exposure,” ECSD stated.

And schools in the district were ordered to close by Gov. Brian Kemp last week and will remain closed through at least Friday, April 10.

“This is truly a time everyone needs to join together and fight the spread of the coronavirus,” ECSD said, adding, “In the days and weeks ahead, please continue to be diligent in following the recommended guidelines in regards to reducing the spread of the coronavirus.”

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the CHD is nearing 10:

  • 4 Chatham County residents
  • 3 Glynn County residents
  • At least 2 Effingham County residents

However, health officials like Heidel urge the public to “not focus so much on the exact number, but recognize that the virus is here.”

“The coronavirus can spread even without symptoms, so whether an area has 2 or 3 or 20 cases, social distancing is important and we all have a responsibility to take precautions,” she added.

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