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HCMH prepares for what they hope never happens

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Following the first meeting of emergency management, law enforcement, hospital and EMS officials along with fire department first responders to address preparedness for handling any cases of Ebola that might be diagnosed in Hopkins County, Hopkins County Memorial Hospital and Emergency Medical Services have begun taking a “disciplined and methodical approach” in addressing the crisis. Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michael McAndrew said existing policies have been reviewed and revised, based on the most up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. “We have updated our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to conform to those recommended by CDC,” McAndrew said. “As the CDC revises recommendations, Memorial Hospital and Clinic will respond accordingly. Memorial Hospital and Clinic has revised triage forms and admission documents to include a travel screening question for all emergency department and clinic patients. “We have impermeable gowns, boot covers, N95 masks, face shields, goggles, caps, hoods and gloves,” McAndrew continued. “This week, nursing staff is being educated on correct procedures for donning and removing PPE. Memorial Hospital and Clinic also has hazmat suits including hoods and powered air purifying respirators on site.” Brent Smith, EMT-P, EMS director for Memorial Hospital District, has reviewed the protocols for the ambulances. Inservice training regarding donning and removal of hazmat suits for EMS staff have been initiated. The Hospital District Environmental Service staff has been trained to clean and decontaminate a room or space where an infected person has been or is housed. HCMH is also a member of a regional group, the Regional Advisory Council, which provides almost immediate access to additional supplies within an hour from fellow RAC hospitals, St. Michael's and Wadley in Texarkana, Paris Regional, Titus Regional in Mount Pleasant and Christus St. Michael's in Atlanta, as well as additional EMS services. The CDC believes that humans contract Ebola through direct contact with the blood and body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola or objects that have been contaminated with the virus. Blood and body fluids [including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk and semen] enter through a break in the skin or via mucous membranes, such as the nose, mouth and eyes. It is not spread through the air or by water. Ebola only spreads when people are showing symptoms. Symptoms of Ebola may appear between two and 21 days after direct contact with a person infected with and showing signs and symptoms of the virus. Signs and symptoms include: n Fever greater than 101.5 degrees n Severe headache n Muscle pain n Weakness n Diarrhea n Vomiting n Abdominal pain, and n Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising) McAndrew said it is unlikely the hospital will see an Ebola patient in Hopkins County. “However, should it happen we are prepared to deal with it from a staff, equipment and process standpoint,” he said. “Staff exposure will be minimized through proper equipment, training and reducing the number of individuals who come into contact with the patient. Any suspected Ebola patient will be housed in an isolation room until it has been determined which specialty facility he/she will be transferred to.” Screening people who come in to the emergency department or clinic will be screened through the use of three questions: 1. Do you have a fever greater than 101.5 degrees and additional symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or unexplained hemorrhage? 2. Have you traveled to West Africa within 21 days of the symptom onset? 3. Have you had direct contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with Ebola? Anyone who answers yes to the questions will be masked and taken to the isolation room. To the extent possible, the hospital will limit contact to one employee and immediately notify the state and appropriate infection control staff.

Two injured in wreck

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Two Hopkins County men were airlifted from the scene of a one pickup crash in the 800 block of FM 2297 just after 10 p.m. Monday. Witnesses at the scene said a Ford pickup apparently ran off the roadway and flipped end-over-end before landing in a yard, narrowly missing a house. Both occupants of the pickup were ejected as the vehicle flipped, according to reports. Airvac and Flight For Life helicopters were called to the accident scene and flew the two men to area trauma centers. The Hopkins County Sheriff's Office identified the injured as Chadrick Marquise Gasaway, 20, and Patrick Lynn Dial III, 19. There was no report on the condition of the two men. A witness at the scene said he talked to one of the victims who said the driver had, apparently, fallen asleep at the wheel. The wreck, which occurred just after 10 p.m., kept FM 2297, Arbala Road, closed until after midnight.

Early voting begins this week

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Lines formed early at Sulphur Springs Public Library for the start of early voting for the Nov. 4 General Election. The poll opened at 7 a.m. and, just before noon, more than 100 early votes had been cast in an election that features only two contested local elections. The two local county offices at stake in the general election are county treasurer and Justice of the Peace Precinct One. In the race for Hopkins County Treasurer, Republican Jim Thompson opposes incumbent Democrat Treva Watson for the post. Democratic nominee Demetra Robinson and Republican Billy “BJ” Teer are seeking the Precinct One Justice of the Peace office. A number of other county offices on the ballot are unopposed in the general election. Early voting in trustee elections for four rural county school districts, Cumby, Miller Grove, North Hopkins and Sulphur Bluff school districts are being held in conjunction with county elections. In the Cumby ISD election, seven early ballots had been cast. Three votes were cast in the North Hopkins ISD election, one in the Miller Grove election and, by noon, no one had voted in the Sulphur Bluff school board election. Early voting will continue through Friday, Oct. 31 with voting hours this week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. In the second week of early voting, on Tuesday and Thursday, Oct. 28 and Oct. 30, the poll will be open 12 hours each day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Elections Administrator Debbie Shirley, Hopkins County Clerk, said there will be weekend voting next weekend with the voting box open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct 26. Early voting is being conducted in the Conference Room at Sulphur Springs Public Library.

Celebrating CNB

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On the 125th anniversary of CNB on Celebration Plaza Sunday State Rep. Dan Flynn of District 2 presented City National Bank President Ricky Reynolds and Marketing Director John Sellers a Texas flag that was flown over the Texas Capitol. A proclamation was also read honoring the bank’s service to Hopkins, Wood and surrounding counties since 1889. The event featured a panning for gold game, stick horse riding, musical chairs, food provided by Coffee Off the Square, fresh Dutch oven peach cobbler, and wagon rides.

Photo Courtesy of Cindy Roller

Fall Festival Tuesday includes Senior Citizens Day, Cover Girl competitions

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The Hopkins County Fall Festival continued Monday with the annual golf tournament teeing off at 1:30 p.m. at Sulphur Springs Country Club, and will resume Tuesday with Senior Citizens Day and the opening night of the Cover Girl activities.

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