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UPDATE: Health system responds to COVID-19 assertions; 29 staffers test positive

 RINCON — Effingham Health System disputes the notion that the recent rise in COVID-19 deaths in Effingham County is due to an outbreak at Effingham Care and Rehabilitation Center.

The Herald on Thursday inquired about reader claims that four COVID-19 deaths occurred at Effingham Care and Rehabilitation Center, a Springfield nursing home, between Aug. 4 and Aug. 13, raising the county’s total to five. 

Effingham Health System 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.” 

Monday’s Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 report issued by the Department of Public Health lists four care center deaths and indicates that 21 of 82 residents have tested positive.

In addition, 29 care center  staffers have tested positive.

 Until the recent COVID-19 deaths, Effingham County had suffered only one since the pandemic started last spring. A sixth death was reported Monday.