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The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

News


Beach Advisories Lifted for St. Simons Island Beaches

Update: August 7, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisories for St. Simons Island beaches.

The advisories were issued on August 5, 2020 after routine water quality tests showed a high level of enterococci bacteria which increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness in swimmers.

Subsequent water samples showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisories have been lifted.


August 5, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has issued beach water advisories for all 5 public beach areas on St. Simons Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

The Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Resources Division tests water samples on St. Simons and Jekyll Islands throughout the year. The tests screen for enterococcus (pronounced: en·ter·o·coc·cus) bacteria, which are found in humans and some wildlife. The testing program is not related to the capsized motor vehicle carrier in St. Simons Sound.

When a beach is under advisory, it means the level of bacteria found in the water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended standards. This does NOT mean the beach is closed.

The affected areas include:

  • North Beach at Goulds Inlet (Fifteenth Street to Tenth Street)
  • East Beach at the Old Coast Guard Station (Tenth Street to Driftwood Drive)
  • Massengale Park Beach (Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street)
  • 5th Street Crossover Beach (Cedar Street to Ninth Street)
  • South Beach at the Lighthouse (Ninth Street to the Pier)

These beach water advisories alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory areas. The Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the areas under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from these areas should be thoroughly washed with fresh water and thoroughly cooked before eating, as should fish or seafood caught from any waters.

The areas will be re-tested this week, and the advisories will be lifted when the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards. For more information about beach water testing, visit our Beach Water Testing Program page.

Drive-Through HIV Testing Events Scheduled

To raise awareness about the importance of HIV Testing and knowing your HIV status, the Coastal Health District will hold free drive-thru HIV testing events from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 15th, in the parking lot of Diversity Health Center in Hinesville and on Saturday, August 22nd in the parking lot of Brunswick High School in Brunswick. Testing is free and confidential and no appointment is necessary.

Testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life and reducing the spread of HIV. Results will be available in one minute. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals.

Those getting tested will receive free giveaways, including gift cards. Staff will also be available to discuss HIV prevention options such as PrEP, the daily pill to prevent HIV.

Around 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one in eight people do not know they have it.  This is an opportunity to raise awareness, encourage people to get the facts, tested, get involved, and get linked to care and treatment services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People at higher risk should get tested more often.

As a reminder, HIV testing is free by appointment at all health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties and available Monday through Friday during regular health department hours of operation. Anyone with questions about testing can call Diane DeVore at (912) 644-5828 or e-mail Diane.Devore@dph.ga.gov.

Health Departments to Provide No Cost Vision, Hearing, Dental, & Nutrition Screening for School Students

Although the start of school may look a little different this year, students entering a Georgia school for the first time – no matter what the grade level – must have a completed Certificate of Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screening form. “First time” means never enrolled in a Georgia school before at any time in their lives.

Health departments in the Coastal Health District will offer no cost vision, hearing, dental, and nutrition screening – by appointment only – for school students. Normally a $30 fee applies when getting the screening at the health department.

Immunization services will also be available at regular cost. Most insurance is accepted and there are low-cost options for people without insurance. Children born on or after January 1, 2002 who are attending seventh grade and new entrants into Georgia schools in grades 8 through 12 must have received one dose of Tdap vaccine and one dose of meningococcal vaccine. (“New entrant” means any child entering any school in Georgia for the first time or entering after having been absent from a Georgia school for more than 12 months or one school year).

The HPV vaccine is also recommended for both girls and boys starting at ages 11–12 to protect against cancers and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus.

Call your local health department to schedule an appointment.

No Cost Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition Clinic Schedules

Bryan County
August 17th (Pembroke) and August 19th (Richmond Hill)
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-653-4331 (Pembroke) or 912-756-2611 (Richmond Hill).

Chatham County
August 10th – 14th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-356-2441.

Effingham County
Tuesday, August 18th, and Thursday, August 20th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-754-6484.

Glynn County
August 10th – 14th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-264-3961 and choosing option 9.

Liberty County
Monday, August 17th, and Tuesday, August 18th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-876-2173.

Long County
Monday, August 10th, and Wednesday, August 12th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-545-2107.

McIntosh County
Thursday, August 13th, and Monday, August 17th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-832-5473.

Coastal Health District to Suspend Operations Monday, August 3rd

The Coastal Health District will suspend operations on Monday, August 3rd due to the potential for wind and rain associated with Tropical Storm Isaias.

All district offices, county health departments, and COVID-19 specimen collection sites will be closed. Anyone with an appointment scheduled for Monday will be notified of the closure and will have the opportunity to reschedule. The COVID-19 Testing Call Center will also be closed on Monday.

All sites and the call center are expected to reopen with normal hours on Tuesday, August 4th.

Online Self-Scheduling Now Available for COVID-19 Testing in Bryan County

You can now go online to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 testing by the Bryan County Health Department. Simply access an online self-service portal, take a brief screening questionnaire, and book your appointment for testing. The self-service portal can be accessed through a link at gachd.org/covidtest.

Individuals still have the option to call if they prefer to make an appointment over the phone. To schedule an appointment by telephone or to get testing information for any Coastal Health District county, call our COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 1-912-230-9744.

Testing is offered three times each week in Bryan County. In Richmond Hill, testing is available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings by appointment at Henderson Park, 500 Veterans Memorial Parkway, behind the County Administration Building off Highway 144. On Friday mornings, testing is available by appointment at the Health Department’s Pembroke location at 430 Ledford Street.

Please do not show up more than 10 minutes before your appointment time. Arriving early can create long lines at the drive-through testing site, and the process will go more smoothly if individuals arrive at their designated appointment time. If you cannot keep your appointment, please go online or call to cancel so the appointment time will be available to someone else.

If you believe you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please remember to quarantine at home for 14 days, and schedule an appointment for testing around the 10th day. Testing cannot be scheduled more than 2 weeks in advance.

For more information about COVID-19 in our area, visit covid19.gachd.org.

Glynn County Health Department Expands Hours for COVID-19 Testing

Beginning Monday, August 3rd, the Glynn County Health Department’s COVID-19 testing site will offer more hours for appointments, including some evening hours.

The new schedule for testing will be:

  • Mondays – Wednesdays from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Thursdays from 12-7 p.m.
  • Fridays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Every 2nd and 4th Saturday from 8-11 a.m. (August 8 & 22)

All testing is by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled online at covid19.dph.ga.gov or by phone at 1-912-230-9744. If you cannot make your appointment, please cancel the appointment so the slot will be available for someone else needing a test.

Anyone can be tested, and there is no fee. If you believe you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please remember to quarantine at home for 14 days, and schedule an appointment for testing around the 10th day. Testing cannot be scheduled more than 2 weeks in advance.

For a list of free COVID-19 testing options through the Coastal Health District, visit our testing web page.

Beach Advisory Lifted for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island

Update: July 29, 2020

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on July 28, 2020 after routine water quality tests showed a high level of enterococci bacteria which increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness in swimmers.

Subsequent water samples showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.


July 28, 2020

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island. Polk Street Beach is located on the north side of Tybee Island, from the end of the beach to the jetty.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThe advisory is only for the area specified above and does not impact the other beach areas on the island. There is no way of knowing if going into water that is under advisory will result in illness. However, these beach water advisories are to alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact. An area under advisory does not mean the beach is closed.

Water samples are collected routinely on Tybee Island, and tested for enterococcus (pronounced: en·ter·o·coc·cus) bacteria which is found in warm blooded animals including humans but also birds, raccoons, deer, dolphins and other wildlife. It is difficult to determine exactly where the bacteria come from, but some sources could include animal waste, storm water runoff, or boating waste. When a beach is under advisory, it means that the level of bacteria found in the water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

The Chatham County Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the area under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from this area should be thoroughly washed with fresh water and thoroughly cooked before eating, as should fish or seafood caught from any waters.

The area will be re-tested, and the advisory will be lifted when tests show the bacteria level meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

For more information, visit our Beach Water Testing Program page.

Chatham Co. Health Dept. Expands Hours at COVID-19 Testing Site

Beginning Monday, July 27th, the Chatham County Health Department’s COVID-19 testing site at the Savannah Civic Center will be open later each weekday.

Every Monday through Friday, free COVID-19 testing will be available from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Testing will also be offered on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8:30-11:30 a.m. In August, the site will be open Saturday, August 1st and Saturday, August 15th.

“We’ve been working to hire and train more staff so we can meet the testing needs of our community,” says Tammi Brown, Nurse Manager of the Chatham County Health Department. “Also, having our drive-through testing inside the Civic Center offers us protection from the heat and weather. With our additional staff and this ideal location, we can stay open longer each weekday.”

The site will continue to accommodate up to 100 walk-up tests each day for individuals without access to a car. From 8-8:30 a.m., walkers can form a line on the Montgomery Street side of the Civic Center. Individuals MUST wear face coverings and MUST follow the markers to stay 6 feet from others in line. Walk-up testing will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Drive-through testing will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. No appointment is needed.

For more information about testing in Chatham County, visit gachd.org/covidtestsav/. For more information about testing in other areas of the Coastal Health District, please visit gachd.og/covidtest/.

Don’t Delay: Make Appointments Now for Immunizations & School Screenings

Immunizations and health screenings are an important part of keeping our children healthy. Several vaccinations are required for school-aged children, and parents are urged not to delay those immunizations. Staying up to date on vaccinations is the best way to protect children from certain diseases.

Health departments currently require appointments for service. Scheduling patients in advance allows for social distancing in waiting rooms. Face coverings are also required for anyone over age 2.

It is important to note that health department services, including vaccinations, are offered on days when there is no COVID-19 testing taking place at health departments.

“We’re doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for our patients and staff,” said Coastal Health District Immunization Coordinator, Paige Lightsey, R.N. “If your child needs immunizations, we encourage you to call the health department or your pediatrician and schedule an appointment right away.”

Students entering school for the first time need vaccinations as well as Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screenings. Also, children born on or after January 1, 2002 who are attending seventh grade, and new entrants into Georgia schools in grades 8 through 12, must have one dose of Tdap vaccine and one dose of meningococcal vaccine. The HPV vaccine is also recommended for both girls and boys ages 11–12 to protect against cancers and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus. Appointments can be scheduled by calling your local health department. Most insurance plans are accepted, and vaccine can be supplied at no cost for those without insurance. For more information on childhood immunization schedules, go to gachd.org/immunizations.

Beach Advisory Lifted for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island

Update: July 23, 2020

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on July 21, 2020 after routine water quality tests showed a high level of enterococci bacteria which increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness in swimmers.

Subsequent water samples showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.


July 21, 2020

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island. Polk Street Beach is located on the north side of Tybee Island, from the end of the beach to the jetty.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThe advisory is only for the area specified above and does not impact the other beach areas on the island. There is no way of knowing if going into water that is under advisory will result in illness. However, these beach water advisories are to alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact. An area under advisory does not mean the beach is closed.

Water samples are collected routinely on Tybee Island, and tested for enterococcus (pronounced: en·ter·o·coc·cus) bacteria which is found in warm blooded animals including humans but also birds, raccoons, deer, dolphins and other wildlife. It is difficult to determine exactly where the bacteria come from, but some sources could include animal waste, storm water runoff, or boating waste. When a beach is under advisory, it means that the level of bacteria found in the water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

The Chatham County Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the area under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from this area should be thoroughly washed with fresh water and thoroughly cooked before eating, as should fish or seafood caught from any waters.

The area will be re-tested, and the advisory will be lifted when tests show the bacteria level meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

For more information, visit our Beach Water Testing Program page.