Updated: Mar 24
ConnectLocal spoke with Georgia Health System Director of Public Relations Sean Couch on the phone today at 4:15 p.m. Couch confirmed that Greg Richie, a resident of Toccoa/Stephens County, is a patient at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
HIPAA laws restrict the disclosure of specific medical information regarding the patient.
Couch advised ConnectLocal that, if he was aware of a reporter presenting false information regarding a COVID-19 diagnosis, he would feel under obligation to intercede.
Couch made no request for ConnectLocal not to proceed with publication of information regarding Richie's COVID-19 confirmed positive status.
On Sunday evening, March 22, Richie spoke with ConnectLocal to share the story of his experience as.a COVID-19 patient, and to inform other Stephens County residents of his diagnosis. Yesterday, March 21, ConncectLocal attempted to obtain official verification of Richie's status as a confirmed COVID-19 case, since Department of Public Health reports continue to show no confirmed COVID-19 cases residing in Stephens County. The Director of Public Relations at the Georgia DPH explained the procedure used to designate the location of patients on that twice daily report. ConnectLocal's contact with the Georgia Health System, and their response today, is a result of that conversation with the GDPH.