The number of deaths in the United States has risen to six as states around the country continue to confirm new cases of the novel coronavirus that leads to the deadly COVID-19.
But not all states have the ability to test for the virus. Georgia will receive test kits by the end of the week, Sen. Ben Watson, who is on the governor’s coronavirus task force, told GPB News. The group held its second meeting Monday afternoon.
Florida's health department presumed its first two cases positive, but are waiting on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm.
Florida has 2 presumptive positive #COVID19 cases: one adult resident of Hillsborough County and one adult resident of Manatee County. Both individuals are isolated and being appropriately cared for.
— Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) March 2, 2020
All test kits, for now, will be delivered to the Georgia Department of Public Health and be tested in state laboratories. Watson said this DPH will have a faster turnaround time than sending samples to the CDC.
“So, we'll be able to do the testing here in the state” Watson said.
Currently, the CDC takes approximately five days to report the results of test kits.
There is criteria established by the CDC for who should be tested for COVID-19, DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said.
People who think they may have or may have been exposed to COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider or local health department before going to any provider’s office, emergency department or urgent care clinic in search of a test.
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Watson stressed residents of Georgia, with no reported coronavirus cases to date, need to keep that point in perspective.
“We need to be prepared,” he admitted and added, “But you need to put this in perspective [and] still we need to do the same things we do with the flu.”
Though there are not reported cases in the state, 200 people in the state are currently being monitored for coronavirus, in a similar procedure the state used to monitor Ebola cases in 2014. “[W]e've adapted that program for self-reporting at home to be used here,” Senator Watson explained, adding, [T]hey report in at least twice a day any symptoms that have, and their vital signs, including the temperature.”
He also mentioned preparations the state is making at the airport, mentioning a quarantine area on the third floor of an airport hotel for people who come from high risk areas.