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THE LATEST: Health system responds to COVID-19 assertions
29 staffers test positive

RINCON — Effingham Health System (EHS) has responded to an inquiry about the recent rise in COVID-19 deaths in Effingham County. Some Herald readers attribute it to an outbreak at Effingham Care and Rehabilitation Center.

The Herald asked about claims that four COVID-19 deaths occurred at the care center, a Springfield nursing home, between Aug. 4 and Aug. 13, raising the county’s total to five. 

EHS responded: “The information you received was inaccurate. At this point, Effingham Health System has reported the deaths of two care center residents who were COVID-19 positive. Effingham Health System reports to the Department of Public Health patients that had COVID-19 and expired even if the death was caused by other causes. Any patient that dies and has tested positive is reported to Georgia Department of Health to ensure proper reporting of COVID-19.” 

EHS informed the Herald on Tuesday of two COVID-19 deaths at the care center after Thursday's comment, bringing its total to four. That matches Monday's Long-Term Care Facility report issued by the Department of Public Health. The report also mentions that 21 of 82 residents have tested positive.

 In addition, 29 EHS care staffers have tested positive.

 Until the recent COVID-19 deaths, the county had suffered only one since the pandemic started in March. A sixth death was reported Monday.