Ninety Six residents want more answers in TB outbreak - WNEM TV 5

Ninety Six residents want more answers in TB outbreak

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NINETY SIX, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Ever since news of the tuberculosis outbreak at Ninety Six Primary School broke, many townspeople say answers have been hard to come by.

Mayor Arvest Turner has heard the concerns and questions from the town.

Among the sampling of questions, he said people are asking, "Who has been affected? Who has been touched? Where has this individual been? Has he been to the banks? Has he been to the local grocery store, anywhere in the community? Could someone have been in the same vicinity he was in?"

But there's an even bigger question that many have asked lately - who dropped the ball in the TB outbreak?

"Somebody dropped the ball," said state Sen. Floyd Nicholson. "Somebody didn't carry out the right protocol to prevent the spread of this disease."

Nicholson said despite the information and misinformation that is out in the public about the outbreak, he wants to know what happened.

He's called for a bipartisan committee hearing Aug. 8 in Columbia that could go a long way towards answering the lingering questions surrounding the outbreak.

"The outbreak occurred, but the process that they employed to get the word out to the parents and to get those kids tested - why wasn't that in a more timely manner?" asked Nicholson.

State DHEC Director Catherine Templeton said that the investigation into the outbreak was botched and blamed staff that was eventually fired.

"Policies were breached, protocols breached, things sat for a month that should not have," said Templeton.

Those fired nurses said it was the state DHEC office that dropped the ball and made them scapegoats. Those nurses - Malinda Martin, Latrinia Richard and Anne Ashley - are all suing DHEC for wrongful termination.

And while questions surrounding the firings will likely be answered in court, the questions about the outbreak remain.

Residents are hoping answers come soon.

"Everything is kind of hearsay at this point - he said, she said and so forth," said Turner. "Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it and find out exactly what happened and why it happened."

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