Updated: Mar 24
GDPH advised that no Stephens County residents are listed as confirmed COVID patients, but advised that a Stephens County resident could be under care at a hospital in a different county and be listed under "unknown" on the GDPH reports.
Pursuant to the publication of ConnectLocal's story of a Stephens County resident who spoke with ConnectLoacal to talk about his experience as a COVID-19 patient and to let the residents of Stephens County know about his diagnosis, ConnectLocal has attempted to receive official verification of his hospitalization and status as a confirmed COVID-19 case, since Department of Public Health reports still show no cases of confirmed COVID-19 among Stephens County residents.
After being unable to reach the Public Information Officer for District 2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health, ConnectLocal contacted the Director of Communications over the entire Georgia DPH, asking for confirmation of the positive test, or barring that, information about any confirmed COVID case of a Stephens County resident being treated at the Gainesville Hospital or any other location. Following is her reply, verbatim.
The Georgia Department of Public Health and all of its health districts and county health departments are HIPAA covered entities. As such we cannot confirm or provide any information about specific individuals or cases.
As of noon today, I do not see a positive case for Stephens County in our daily update of cases (https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report).
It is entirely possible that the reporting facility did not include the county of residence for a particular individual. In cases where that happens the patient may be included in the “Unknowns” listed in our daily count or the facility may have used the county where a test was done or the county where the hospital is located, if the individual is hospitalized.
Nancy Nydam, Director of Communications
Georgia Department of Public Health
I have contacted the Northeast Georgia Health System Gainesville Hospital and am working with them on a way to confirm or deny this information without their conflicting with privacy laws. They have said they would be back in contact with me as soon as they have determined a course of action. ConnectLocal will update this story as new information becomes available