PELHAM, Ga. - The Georgia National Guard will deploy over 100 guardsmen to the state's assisted living facilities and nursing homes that have cases of coronavirus.
Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia National Guard said they will be sending troops to locations across the state to help reduce exposure among the vulnerable residents of the facilities.
"Georgia's top priority is increasing healthcare capacity to protect vulnerable Georgians, especially those residing in long-term care facilities," Kemp said in a statement. "If we can keep these populations as healthy as possible, we will be able to conserve precious medical supplies and hospital bed space in the coming days and weeks."
Officials say 20 soldiers are heading to Pelham Parkway Nursing Home in Pelham, Georgia, which has reported five confirmed cases of the virus. The soldiers will audit the facility's existing sanitation methods, train staff on aggressive disease control measures, and clean the facility.
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The assignment is the first mission planned by the Georgia National Guard, Department of Public Health, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, Georgia Health Care Association, and Georgia Center for Assisted Living.
"The Georgia National Guard stands ready to assist any long-term care facility in this time of need through staff training and implementation of infectious disease control measures," said Adjutant General Tom Carden. "Our training has prepared us to fight this virus, and we are eager to lend a hand in this battle."
Officials say future missions will have around four to five soldiers to deploy to each facility.
There are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia, with more than 500 cases in Fulton County and about 300 cases in DeKalb County.
DPH says it is working closely with the CDC, and state partners to respond to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., including Georgia. The goal is to quickly identify cases of COVID-19 and take the appropriate public health action to reduce its spread and protect the general public.
Public health officials have urged social distancing to slow down or stop the spread of coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults who are 60+ and people with serious medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, are at higher risk of getting very sick from coronavirus.
Georgia Coronavirus Hotline: 844-442-2681 available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Best prevention measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
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