Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
A nurse at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC), who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 6, is now home recovering after a brief hospital stay , her family says.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old ABAC nursing student , who is a certified nursing assistant at TRMC , is said to be in critical condition with the coronavirus and has been moved to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.

Registered nurse Leigh Luke , an Ocilla native who works at Tift Regional Medical Center , is now home recovering from the novel coronavirus after a short hospital stay .

Her brother Jared Luke , a teacher and coach at Irwin County High School , told the Tifton Grapevine on Tuesday that Leigh "was able to come home yesterday ( Monday ). She's still weak and fatigued but, hopefully , back on the mend . God is good !"

Jared Luke said his sister "has been helping in this fight with this Covid outbreak since Day One . ...She tested positive for the virus . She has been at home since then, going through the symptoms ." But last Friday morning "her oxygen levels dropped , and she had to go to the hospital ."

Last fall , Tift Regional Health System honored Leigh Luke with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses . The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize the care and compassion provided by nurses .

Luke has been the nurse manager on the heart and vascular unit at TRMC , where she has worked for more than a decade .

“When you think about words defining an extraordinary nurse , words like compassionate, professional, educator, honest, committed, comforter , and integrity often come to mind,” said Carol Smith , TRHS senior vice president, acute care, and chief nursing executive.

Leigh Luke is the epitome of all these words . She is an extraordinary nurse who goes above and beyond for her patients, their families, guests and co-workers on a daily basis,” Smith said at the time of the DAISY Award .

As Luke is now home recovering , a young colleague is fighting for her life on a ventilator. Chelsie Turrubiartez , 22, of Adel , had been looking forward to graduating in May as a registered nurse , a dream she had worked tirelessly toward for years .

As March began, Turrubiartez was a " healthy, typical 22-year-old nursing school student who was worried about upcoming tests , completing clinical hours , and working night shifts as a CNA (certified nursing assistant)," wrote her friend and colleague Savannah Matthews .

"Little did she know that in a month’s time , the novel coronavirus that caused her last semester of nursing school to be upended would be the very virus causing her to fight for her life ," Matthews wrote on an online "GoFundMe" page she created to raise money for Turrubiartez's medical care .

According to Matthews , Turrubiartez went to the emergency room on March 31 after fighting a fever and  illness for days . She was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit because of extremely low oxygen levels and was in respiratory failure caused by pneumonia .

She was later determined to be positive for COVID-19 .

"Despite excellent round-the-clock care from all the ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, doctors and care provider s, her condition continued to deteriorate . She required intubation and is now on a ventilator " and was moved to Shands Hospital .

On Tuesday , Shands Hospital in Gainesville confirmed that Turrubiartez was still being treated there but could not release her condition .

"A massive thanks to the countless  Tift Regional medical heroes who worked tirelessly to keep our dear friend and their fellow teammate alive ," Matthews said.
" Chelsie is a young, healthy 22-year-old . It's hit her so hard , and I think people need to realize they need to take all the precautions that they can. Stay at home , only going out if absolutely necessary , and making sure you're washing your hands because we never know who it's going to hit the hardest ."
A beloved front office staffer at Tift County High School and her husband were both killed Monday night in a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 75 in Jasper, Fla.

Jane Ledlow , 64, and her husband Joseph , 54, were both pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred at 9:22 p.m. Monday at Mile Marker 454 on I-75 northbound , according to the Florida Highway Patrol .

"It is with a broken heart that we announce the passing of our dear Mrs. Jane Ledlow from the front office of TCHS ," the school posted Tuesday on social media .

" She and her husband , Joe , were killed in a car accident . Mrs. Ledlow was loved by many and will be deeply missed at TCHS and throughout the county. She has touched so many lives . Please be in prayer for her family and her TCHS family/students . We love you Mrs. Ledlow !"

Authorities said that Joseph Ledlow was driving a 2001 Ford F-150 with his wife in the passenger seat when the vehicle was struck from behind by a 2013 Kia Sorrento . Ledlow then lost control of his truck , which overturned in a ditch . Neither of the Ledlows were wearing seatbelts , the Highway Patrol said.
The Kia then left the scene but was located at a gas station on State Road 6. Korey Farley , 28, of Sanford, Fla. , was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death , authorities said.

Farley sustained minor injuries and faces possible additional charges .
Photo by Walter Goff
Trees down near Five Bridges Road in Irwin County.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed that a tornado briefly touched down early Monday in Irwin County.

At 6:01 a.m. , the tornado was confirmed moving about 50 mph along Five Bridges Road near Palm Road southwest of Ocilla , the NWS reported.

The NWS initially said that a possible tornado also touched down along western Tift County , but that has yet to be confirmed . There were several trees down along North Carpenter Road as well as trees and power lines down along parts of Brighton Road and near Old Ocilla Road .
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), South Health District , has confirmed the first COVID-19-related death of a resident in Turner County . The individual was an 83-year-old male with underlying medical conditions.
“We continue to be saddened to hear of the death of residents in our district,” said Dr. William R. Grow , district health director, on Wednesday . “Our hearts go out to the loved ones of this individual during this time of loss .”

As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14 , there were 41 COVID-19 cases confirmed among residents of Turner County . The majority of those cases have been from a local nursing-home outbreak which includes staff and residents of the long-term care facility, the DPH reported.

According to the DPH , there has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in a senior-care facility in Tifton . The DPH lists Legacy Village on Whiddon Mill Road as having a positive case . But Janie Whitley , executive director of Legacy Village of Tifton , said there are currently no cases of the coronavirus at the facility .

Whitley said the facility had received a negative test result on an individual , but " less than 24 hours later it was listed as positive because the CDC changed the test threshold levels ." However, she said the time frame was greater than 14 days from the test and the individual had no symptoms .

As of the DPH's report Tuesday evening , there were 14,578 positive cases in Georgia with 524 deaths. Dougherty County had 1,297 cases and 78 deaths – more than any county in the state.

Tift County had 71 cases and one death; Lowndes had 70 cases and three deaths; Worth , 99 cases, four deaths. Irwin had 12 positive cases; Ben Hill , 10 ; and Berrien , eight , with none of those three counties reporting deaths from COVID-19.

The Southwell health system, which includes Tift Regional Medical Center , has had a total of 188 positive cases, nine deaths and 21 recoveries.
Free starter tomato plants are being offered at Keep Tift Beautiful’s (KTB) community garden on Central Avenue just past the 14th Street intersection.

Cherry , beefsteak , San Marzano and jubilee are among varieties available. The tomato plants are located inside the greenhouse on site.

Email the KTB garden coordinator at KTBcommunitygarden@gmail.com  for questions about the garden or about how to grow your own food
As the state and nation face critical blood supply shortages during the pandemic, the American Red Cross is hosting two blood drives in Tifton in the coming weeks.

On  Friday, April 17 , a blood drive will be held from  12:30-5:30 p.m. at  Tift Regional Medical Center's Events Center  at  1657 S. Carpenter Road. 

On  Monday, April 20 , a drive will be held from  3-7 p.m. at  Northside Baptist Church,   4605 Murray Ave.  

Click here  to make an appointment at either blood drive .
The  dog   pictured here is among several animals recently  rescued   by  Tift County Animal Control . If this is your pet, please call the  animal shelter   to claim,  229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
– APRIL 14, 1900
Local businessmen met Saturday night, April 14, 1900 , in the offices of Fulwood & Murray "for the purpose of forming a Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce) ." L.G. Manard was elected president; H.H. Tift , first vice president; C.W. Fulwood , second vice president; W.W. Banks , secretary; and Briggs Carson , treasurer. The first order of business was to " make preparations for an effective fight for better freight rates for Tifton ."
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Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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