Georgia measles scare over with no spread of the disease

The Latest Local News from the Calhoun Times

The Georgia measles scare that stemmed from an infected infant arriving here from overseas is apparently at an end, with no further spread of the disease.

Earlier this month, state health officials said they identified 35 people – most of them children – as susceptible to getting measles from the infant who was hospitalized in Atlanta for the disease.

The baby arrived at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston with measles in early February. Officials said the child left the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on a flight and eventually landed in Atlanta.

“There are no known secondary cases of measles connected to the first case of measles in the infant from Kyrgyzstan,’’ Nancy Nydam, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health, said Friday.

Friday was the last day of the incubation period for potential secondary cases, she said. The incubation period of measles is seven to 21 days.

There are no known new cases of measles in Georgia either, she said.

The infant was discharged from the hospital earlier this month and is believed to be doing fine, Nydam said.

Public health officials contacted 250 people overall in the wake of the arrival of the infant.

Of the 35 considered susceptible to measles, a large number were children. These people either had not been immunized against the measles or have compromised immune systems.

The infant was the first confirmed case of the measles in Georgia in three years.

Kyrgyzstan, a relatively remote and sparsely populated nation, has had “a significant measles outbreak,’’ Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of Public Health, said at her agency’s board meeting earlier this month.

The Atlanta case was not connected to the recent outbreak of measles that originated at Disneyland in Southern California.

The CDC reports that as Feb. 20, 154 people from 17 states and Washington, D.C., were reported to have measles this year. Most were linked to the Disneyland outbreak.

Measles is highly contagious. The respiratory disease, caused by a virus, spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing.

To prevent measles, children (and some adults) should be vaccinated with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, the CDC says. Two doses of this vaccine provides 97 percent to 98 percent immunity, the highest rate for any immunization currently offered.

Children should be given the first dose of MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose can be given four weeks later, but is usually given before the start of kindergarten at 4 to 6 years of age.

In Georgia, all 35 or their families were advised to get an MMR or an IgG test for measles exposure.

Doctors at Children’s Healthcare placed the child in an isolation room upon arrival and activated other control measures to limit exposure.

The measles outbreak this year has ignited a debate about requiring parents to have their children immunized.

A recent CNN poll found that nearly 8 of 10 Americans believe parents should be required to vaccinate their healthy children against preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and polio.

If the children are not vaccinated, most agree the child should not be allowed to attend public school or day care, CNN reported.

The anti-vaccine movement, which is relatively small but cuts across philosophical and ideological lines, has been criticized by medical authorities, who say the rise in measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is being fueled by people who opt not to vaccinate.

All U.S. states allow medical exemptions from vaccines, and all but two allow religious exclusions. Nineteen states permit vaccination exemptions for philosophical reasons, but Georgia is not one of them, WABE reported recently.

Public Health said 98 percent of Georgia’s enrolled kindergartners have received the recommended vaccinations.

Source: Calhoun Times

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GNTC extends special offer to help adults study for the GED test to March 14

The Latest Local News from the Calhoun Times

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is offering a two week extension to the free GED® practice tests originally scheduled to end February 28. The tests will be available through March 14 to all current or potential adult students at one of the local Adult Education Learning Centers in GNTC’s nine county service area. The free practice test must be taken at a GNTC Learning Center.

Students who take the GED Ready® practice test will find out if they are ready to pass the GED® test, what skills they need to work on to pass the test, and will receive a personalized study plan. Students can also learn about classes and other resources to help them prepare for the GED® test.

For more information on how to benefit from these offers, please contact GNTC’s Office of Adult Education at (706) 295-6976.

The Adult Education program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College served 3,245 students and graduated 699 students with a GED® Diploma in Fiscal Year 2014. The Adult Education program at GNTC serves approximately 3,000 students in nine counties with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties and off-campus learning centers in Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Murray, Polk, and Walker counties. Classes are also held in five different Correctional facilities. GED® Testing Centers are located on campus in Floyd, Gordon, Walker, and Whitfield counties.

GNTC is an official General Educational Development® Testing Center and a site for computer-based GED® Testing in partnership with Pearson Vue and the Technical College System of Georgia. The mission of GNTC’s Adult Education program is to enable every adult learner in the service delivery area to acquire the necessary basic skills to be able to compete successfully in today’s workplace, strengthen family foundations, and exercise full citizenship.

Source: Calhoun Times

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Ga. consumer information possibly compromised in Blue Cross Blue Shield data breach

The Latest Local News from the Calhoun Times

ATLANTA (AP) — State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says personal information belonging to millions of Georgia consumers may have been compromised in a recent data breach.

Hudgens said in a statement Friday that 3.7 million Georgians may have been impacted by a cyberattack on Anthem Inc., the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. Anthem officials have said they discovered an attack on their IT system in late January.

Anthem Inc. officials have said names, dates of birth, Social Security information, addresses, employment information and more may have been accessed. Hudgens says investigators don’t believe credit card and banking information was compromised in the attack.

Hudgens says he encourages consumers who may have been impacted to take advantage of free credit monitoring and identity protection services Anthem is offering.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Calhoun Times

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Smoke scare at local nursing home

The Latest Local News from the Calhoun Times

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, Feb. 25, Gordon County emergency management was dispatched to The Oaks at Fairmount, a residential living community, with reports of smoke from an unidentified source.  Gordon County EMS and employee vehicles evacuated 13 residents and four employees to the Fairmount Community Center.

Fairmount Police Department, Gordon County Police Department, Gordon County EMS, Gordon County Fire Department, and Fairmount Fire Department responded to the residential community.

Battalion Chief Zevan Gilbert later commented that the cause of the smoke was contributed to a heating and air conditioning unit at the residence. Power to the unit was disconnected and the resident’s were transported back into their homes.

Gilbert commends the staff and residents of The Oaks for their swift and and safe evacuation.

Source: Calhoun Times

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Deal: State of emergency to begin at 2 p.m., government offices close at noon

The Latest Local News from the Calhoun Times

In response to a winter storm warning declared for 50 counties in the northern portion of Georgia tomorrow — including Floyd and surrounding counties — Gov. Nathan Deal this evening ordered state government offices in the affected areas to close at noon tomorrow and declared a state of emergency for disaster preparedness starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Click here for a list of local closings.

“With forecasts showing we could see accumulation by 4 p.m., I want to make sure we get as many commuters home before then as possible,” said Deal. “While current models show that temperatures will remain above freezing, we don’t want to run the risk of having normal rush hour traffic volume if there’s snow or ice on the highways. In an effort to keep as many cars off the road as possible, I encourage people in both the public and private sector who can telecommute to please do so tomorrow.

“We have delayed the state of emergency until the time that we expect to see precipitation, but I’ve made all state resources available tonight for preparation.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation has moved 80 additional staffers into affected areas from other parts of the state. At midnight, DOT will mobilize 13 tanker trucks to apply brine to major highways. The State Patrol will deploy 174 troopers for rapid response to accidents, and it will mandate that all tractor trailers pull in to weigh stations to assure that trucks have the proper equipment for travel in snow/ice conditions. The Department of Natural Resources will place 15 strike teams across the 50 counties to aid in storm response and debris removal.

The 50 counties in the winter storm warning are Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Rockdale, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, Walton, White, Whitfield counties.

Source: Calhoun Times

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GDOL to help Field Turf hire manufacturing workers in Calhoun

The Latest Local News from the Calhoun Times

ATLANTA –The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) will help artificial-turf manufacturer Field Turf hire about 90 workers for its facility in Gordon County.

The company manufactures synthetic turf for athletic fields, such as football, baseball and soccer fields.

The recruitment will be held Friday, March 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gordon County Agricultural Service Center, 1282 Highway 53 Spur SW in Calhoun. Staff of the GDOL’s Rome Career Center will be on hand to screen the applicants prior to interviews with the company.

The company is hiring sew-on coater operators, fork-lift drivers, tufting inspectors, inventory controllers, warehouse workers, and others. Some of the jobs are temporary and will continue through September.

Due to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, applicants must be at least 18 years old. They must also have a high school diploma, or a General Education Diploma (GED), and at least six months experience. Veterans are encouraged to apply.

Salaries range from $10.50 to $13 an hour, depending on the type of job and experience of the applicant.

The company will conduct background checks and drug-screening tests on selected applicants.

Applicants may receive more information about the company and the jobs that are available by visiting the company’s web site at

For additional information about the recruitment, contact the GDOL’s Rome Career Center at (706) 295-6051.

Source: Calhoun Times

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