MILLEDGEVILLE – Central State Hospital is taking measures to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus among its patients and staff after one consumer was confirmed to be infected with the virus Tuesday night. The consumer was taken to a local medical center where doctors there identified the virus and admitted the patient for further treatment and observation. Following long-standing protocols to deal with just such a case, Central State administrators isolated the unit at the mental hospital where the patient had been cared for and have reinforced staff training to prevent the spread of the disease.

“It’s our responsibility to provide a safe environment for clients, staff, and visitors,” said Marvin Bailey, Regional Hospital Administrator for Central State Hospital. “We have a protocol in place to address incidents like the H1N1 virus and other pandemic outbreaks. Our main focus now is making sure our staff knows what to do and is taking the necessary precautions.”

The unit of the state mental hospital where the patient was being treated houses 25 consumers. As part of the isolation protocol, those consumers are receiving treatment in the unit instead of travelling to other places on the hospital campus. They’re also eating meals there, using disposable utensils to limit the exposure of other patients and staff to the virus.

Central State Hospital (CSH) and the other six state-run behavioral health facilities have documented protocols in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza. Those plans are revised annually to address health concerns and new threats as they arise. CSH has provided protocol and preventive methods to all staff members as a standard precaution. The hospital has also taken additional safety measures by emphasizing proper covering when coughing and sneezing, keeping surfaces clean and reinforcing hand washing. CSH staff members are encouraged to remain at home if they show symptoms of illness.

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