Blue Ridge, Ga. – Raymond Tidman, MD and Dillon Miller, MD of Blue Ridge Medical Group are releasing new guidelines to help protect those at greatest risk in our community from contracting Covid-19.
Members of the community that are in the high risk category are those that are 65 years or older, or those with COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, severe obesity, heart disease, receiving treatment for cancer or have a condition that causes immune suppression.
Tidman and Miller are saying to those in this category, “We want you to build protection around you now and until there is a vaccine.”
They are recommending following the directions in place by Health Officials of self isolation, but to also be super aware of those that you allow in your presence. They are recommending that individuals in the high risk category identify a limited number of people you depend on to be around.
Make sure that the people who you do have to have contact with are aware of your situation and take the proper steps to protect you from the virus.
“This is to encourage you to build a virus free fortress around you, and yet allow you the personal contacts that you feel you need and trust,” Tidman and Miller say of the precautions.
Tidman and Miller want all of those who have symptoms or have had known contact to someone positive with the Covid-19 virus to move to the front of the line to be tested.
If you are in this high risk category and have been around someone with symptoms have them contact Blue Ridge Medical Group at this number: 706-946-4240. This is a dedicated line for this purpose and will be frequently monitored.
“If they have symptoms have them contact the number and we will be available to test them quickly,” Tidman and Miller sate in a release. “We will be a resource to them on the latest developments in defeating this virus.”
Blue Ridge, Ga. – The decision to close all schools in Fannin County for the week of March 16 to March 20, 2020, was not a decision that was taken lightly. Administration and healthcare experts were present at the March Board of Education meeting to present the public with details leading up to the conclusion to close.
Dr. Dillon Miller of Blue Ridge Medical Group has been working closely with the Fannin County School System and explained the facts and myths surrounding the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 ) and the disease Covid-19.
“We’re almost facing two challenges,” Miller said addressing the public and the board, “There’s the virus itself, of course, but then there’s the misinformation.”
Miller explained that unlike the seasonal flu that has a potential transmission rate of 1.4 people for every 1 person infected, the Coronavirus has approximately a 2.4 potential person-to-person transmission rate.
“We are almost mirroring each other as far as the number of cases, statistically similar,” Miller spoke of the challenges being faced in Italy and how examining the data can give insight into the actions that we should take in our communities. “Our Day Eight, which is where we’re at now, is almost eerily similar to their Day Eight.”
Miller pointed out that Italy waited until Day 12 to close schools, and stressed the importance of school systems to have preparedness and coordination with other agencies during this time: “We always have to think about worst case scenarios. Expect the worst and hope for the best.”
Educating the public and being proactive rather than reactive can have a significant positive impact. According to Miller, steps can be taken to “flatten the curve”, referring to slowing the impacts of the virus so that healthcare systems do not get overwhelmed.
“Fortunately from a school system perspective we are dealing with a virus that doesn’t impact children the same way it is our elderly population,” Miller spoke of the potential impact on Fannin’s children and added that the virus carries a “significant” impact for those over the age of 60. “They (children) can carry this virus and potentially give it to those that are in that high risk area.”
Dr. Dillon Miller recommended the following advice for the public and parents of children in Fannin County:
Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
Social awareness. Try to implement the six foot rule when possible and avoid a proximity of closer than six feet to another person when out in public.
If your child is sick, do not allow them to come to school.
Avoid rushing to an Emergency Room, Doctor, or Walk-In Clinic if you or your child is not significantly ill. If a trip to the doctor is inevitable, Miller recommends calling these places ahead of time. This gives staff time to prepare to potentially stop those infected from coming into contact with those that are not.
In looking at not just the health and safety of the children but also of the community, Miller pointed out that no two school systems are the same and Fannin County would have to weigh their options on how to proceed: “There’s not a black and white answer.”
“There’s a fire alarm going off. We hear that fire alarm, we don’t know if there is a fire in here,” Miller gave an analogy of the current state of affairs and added that there aren’t enough tests to know the true impacts of the virus at this time. “Early intervention for school closures is when you get the most bang for your buck, the most success.”
“The use of data is powerful,” Fannin County Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney said before announcing the closure. “We want to do our part to flatten that curve. Fannin is going to be a part of that. We are all literally in this together, as a community, as a state, as a nation, as a world.”
Gwatney spoke of the ongoing communication that the school system has had with healthcare professionals, as well as local and state agencies. On the day leading up to the decisionto close schools Fannin County Leadership staff had a conference call with Governor Brian Kemp and a follow-up conference call with other regional districts.
“The Governor today announced and gave strong guidance for school districts and gave grace for school districts,” Gwatney stated. “We want to do our part to keep this community safe.”
The Fannin County School System will be closed to students next week (March 16 to March 20, 2020). Dr. Gwatney released a letter giving further details on how the school system will operate during this time.
“We will revisit that decision (to close) a week from now to see about the following week,” Gwatney said of the board’s decision adding, “This is a very dynamic and fluid situation and we want to stay ahead of it.”