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TIFTON — An employee of the HIV Clinic at the Tift County Health Department has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release.

Public health officials were notified late on Mar. 18 of the diagnosis, the release states. The 14-day incubation period of exposure will end tomorrow, March 20, for staff and clients of the health department, according to the release.

The staff member continues to be hospitalized and is not a resident of Tift County or a county covered by South Health District (Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift and Turner counties), the release states.

South Health District officials have identified all contacts who may have been exposed while the staff member was infectious, according to the release. People who were identified as having been exposed have been contacted directly by a South Health District official and are being monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

There is no known risk of exposure to general clinic or WIC clients, the release states.

All Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the following guidance:

· Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

· Stay home if you are sick.

· Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.

· Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

If you develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., shortness of breath, coughing and fever), and have had contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center and tell them about your symptoms.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has developed an online tool that updates the count of COVID-19 cases statewide daily at noon at dph.georgia.gov. For accurate and reliable information about COVID-19 visit southhealthdistrict.com/covid19, dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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