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FHC closed until April 6; two employees test positive for coronavirus
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FHC closed until April 6; two employees test positive for coronavirus

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Family Health Centers

Family Health Centers Inc. has closed its doors until April 6 after two employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

Family Health Centers Inc. has temporarily closed all of its facilities after two employees tested positive for coronavirus.

“Family Health Centers, Inc. confirmed the first cases of 2020 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in two employees. Testing confirmed this diagnosis. The individuals are in good condition and are isolated to prevent spread of infection to others. We are hopeful the individuals will have a rapid and full recovery,” Family Health Centers said in a release.

All facilities were closed March 30 and will remain closed until April 6.

Family Health Center’s statement says that the individuals who tested positive for the virus took appropriate action and stayed home. The health center will not share particular information regarding the cases to maintain the privacy of the individuals.

“The health and safety of our workforce and patients are top priorities for Family Health Centers, Inc. Therefore, the organization is considering and taking all necessary actions to further protect the health and safety of both our workforce and patients. As front-line responders to the COVID-19 response, we want to make sure each of our staff, along with our patients, are kept safe at all times,” the statement said.

The health center’s voice message recording offers instructions for patients or others who may need to contact the facility.

Those calling for emergency prescription refills are told to hold the line for further assistance. Callers with matters related to non-emergency prescription refills, appointments or billing are instructed to call the facility after April 6.

According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, there are 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Orangeburg County.

Laura Renwick of DHEC said the agency has not been notified of the facility's closure.

Fenwick said that a health care provider determines if an individual should be tested for COVID-19 and, if so, the health care provider collects a sample from the patient and submits the sample to either DHEC's Public Health Laboratory or a private lab for testing.

The results from the lab, whether positive or negative, are relayed back to the health care provider, Fenwick said.

“While the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) performs investigations on cases of COVID-19, health care workers are not separately tracked at this time,” Fenwick said.

DHEC also works with health care facilities to follow extensive and evolving Centers for Disease Control guidance regarding how to identify and treat exposed employees.

Family Health Centers Inc. is a federally funded community health center serving the medically underserved residents of Orangeburg, Bamberg, Calhoun and upper Dorchester counties. It can be reached at 803-531-6900.

Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-596-6530.

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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