Vaccine Scheduling for New Requests is Temporarily Paused. Get Local COVID-19 Information:
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The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

News


Volunteer for COVID-19 Vaccination Response

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is receiving offers from medical professionals and other individuals looking for ways to help with the COVID-19 vaccination response. An effective response relies on volunteers who are pre-credentialed and organized. Georgia Responds is Georgia’s health and medical volunteer program which matches the skills and credentials of medical and nonmedical volunteers to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.

Licensed medical volunteers including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and advanced EMS personnel (EMT Intermediate and above) may be used to administer vaccination. Nonmedical volunteers may be used in administrative roles such as registering individuals for vaccination, data input, language interpretation, other administrative areas as needed, and providing guidance and assistance at vaccination administration sites.

To volunteer, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/georgia-responds and click on the “Register Now” box. Registering only takes a few minutes and will connect you with . Prospective volunteers will be asked for their name, address, contact information and occupation type. In order to be eligible for some assignments, responders are encouraged to complete a profile summary, which includes skills and certifications, training, medical history, emergency contact and deployment preferences.

Once your skills and credentials are reviewed, you will be notified by a DPH representative.

Even as the COVID vaccine becomes available, all Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the following guidance:

  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and others
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Follow the guidance of Public Health and the guidelines in the Governor’s Executive Order

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

For information about COVID-19, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Changes Coming to COVID-19 Civic Center Testing Site

As the Chatham County Health Department works to expand its COVID-19 response, changes are coming to the COVID-19 testing site at the Savannah Civic Center.

Beginning Monday, January 18th, operation of the Civic Center site will be managed by Mako Medical, a North Carolina-based company that has contracted with the Georgia Department of Health to provide testing services. The change only affects testing operations in Chatham County; the testing process in all other Coastal Health District counties is unchanged.

This shift at the Civic Center site will free up health department staff and resources to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations. There will be no reduction in testing availability, no out-of-pocket costs, and no appointment required.

Anyone requesting a test through public health in Chatham County must pre-register through Mako Medical but will not be assigned a specific appointment day or time. Individuals with a registration can come to the Civic Center site any time during operational hours for testing.

Health insurance will be billed for those with insurance, but no one will be charged a fee or turned away.

To register for testing at the Savannah Civic Center site beginning January 18th, you can schedule a test online at covidtestsavannah.com. For all other public health testing locations, visit covid19.dph.ga.gov.

For telephone scheduling assistance, call the COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 1-912-230-9744 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Beach Advisories Issued in Glynn County

The Glynn County Health Department has issued water quality advisories for beach locations on Jekyll and St. Simons Islands.

The advisory locations are:

  • East Beach Old Coast Guard Station (10th Street to Driftwood Drive) on St. Simons Island,
  • Fifth Street Crossover Beach (Cedar Street to 9th Street) on St. Simons Island,
  • Driftwood Beach (Beach KM Marker 1 to Tallu Fish Lane) on Jekyll Island, and
  • North Beach at Dexter Lane (Tallu Fish Lane to Brice Lane) on Jekyll Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThese advisories are only for the areas specified above and do not impact the other beach areas on these islands. 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 these islands throughout the year. The samples are 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 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 areas will be re-tested, and the advisories will be lifted when tests show the bacteria levels meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

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

Health District Temporarily Pauses Scheduling for COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments; Public is Asked for Continued Patience as Vaccine Program Expands

Health Departments in all Coastal Health District counties have received an overwhelming response from residents ages 65 and older interested in COVID-19 vaccination. Based on the number of calls taken to date, health departments in all eight counties have enough requests to schedule appointments through February and, in some cases, into March. To ensure we have adequate vaccine to fulfill appointment requests, including second doses, the Coastal Health District has temporarily paused appointment scheduling for new requests. Individuals who are already on the list and awaiting call-back will still be given an appointment.

“Our health department staff is working hard to get thousands of people scheduled for vaccination, but we need to hit the pause button – at least for a little while – so we can manage the current volume of requests,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director for the Coastal Health District. “It is also my sincere hope that in the very near future, more providers will have the vaccine so there are more places for folks to get vaccinated.”

Residents can go to covid19.gachd.org and register to be notified when appointments open back up. Registering online does not guarantee a vaccination appointment; it simply gives us a way to notify residents when the appointment process is back underway.

“We know people are frustrated because the process is moving more slowly than they would like, and if we could vaccinate everyone today, we’d do that. But your health departments are stretched thin and doing what they can to move forward,” said Davis. “We’re exploring ways to expand capacity, and we know more help will arrive when other local healthcare providers have vaccine to offer, too. In the meantime, please be patient and keep practicing the public health hygiene recommendations we know help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

DPH Launches COVID Vaccine Locator Ahead Of Phase 1A+ of Vaccine Administration

Jan. 10, 2021, Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is launching a COVID vaccine locator on the DPH website at https://dph.georgia.gov. The tool allows users to search by county for a vaccine provider in their community, and provides location and contact information for the provider. This is not a centralized scheduling tool.

County health departments and private providers are included in the locator. Additional locations statewide will be added when providers are ready to safely administer vaccine, and as vaccine supply allows. All health departments and most other providers require appointments for vaccine administration. Because vaccine supply is limited, providers may not have immediate appointments available.

Effective tomorrow, Jan. 11, Georgia will be in phase 1A+ of vaccine administration. That phase includes: healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, EMS personnel, laboratory technicians, environmental services, etc.); residents and staff of long-term care facilities; adults aged 65+ and their caregivers, as applicable; and law enforcement, firefighters, 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders.

The process of administering COVID-19 vaccine is more complicated than other common vaccines, such as flu vaccine, and requires providers to have more resources available, including an area where individuals can be monitored for 15 minutes after being vaccinated. Many providers with vaccine are still vaccinating their own staffs and patients and are not open to the public for vaccination yet.

As both Pfizer and Moderna are able to ramp up production of vaccine in the coming weeks, supply should better meet demand for each phase of allocation and administration. Until that time, providers and the public are urged to be patient as we work together to get vaccine distributed in the most efficient and equitable way possible.

All Georgians, including those who are vaccinated, are urged to continue to follow basic COVID-19 prevention measures: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and follow the guidance of Public Health and the guidelines in the Governor’s Executive Order.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

COVID-19 Vaccination Expands to Adults 65+ and First Responders on Jan. 11

Update on 1/11/21:

To ensure we have adequate vaccine to fulfill appointment requests, including second doses, the Coastal Health District has temporarily paused appointment scheduling for new requests.

Individuals who are already in our system and awaiting call-back will still be given an appointment.

Click here for the latest vaccine information.


Beginning January 11th, COVID-19 vaccination in the Coastal Health District will be available to adults age 65 and older, their caregivers, and emergency first responders. Vaccination of healthcare workers is already underway and will continue. There is no cost for COVID-19 vaccination through public health.

All health departments in the 8-county district will begin scheduling vaccination appointments by phone on Thursday, January 7th. “We are very excited to start this next phase, and we expect a lot of phone calls,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “Supply is not going to meet demand right away, so we’re asking our communities for patience during this rollout.”

Hundreds of other healthcare providers across the state are also enrolling as vaccine providers. “This is a monumental effort, and one that can’t be accomplished through public health alone,” said Dr. Davis. “If you are in this expanded phase 1a group, you may also want to check with your pharmacy or doctor’s office to see if they’re offering vaccine as well.”

A list of telephone numbers for scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments in the Coastal Health District is available at gachd.org/covidvaccine/.

View our Frequently Asked Questions page for more details.

Free Mammograms for Women Who Meet Eligibility

The Chatham County Health Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) is partnering with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Mobile Mammography Program to offer free mammograms – by appointment only – from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26th, at the Chatham County Health Department located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive in Savannah. Women who meet certain annual income guidelines and are 40-64 years of age without insurance will be eligible to receive a screening mammogram at no cost.

Face coverings required. To make an appointment, please call 356-2946.

For more information on the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, go to GaCHD.org/bccp.

More Georgians to Become Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

Governor Brian Kemp and Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., tonight announced plans to add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

Healthcare workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities are already in this highest priority group. The expanded administration of vaccine is expected to begin within the next two weeks provided there is adequate vaccine supply available.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritizing vaccination. States have the flexibility to tailor these recommendations based on their specific needs and available vaccine.

“Following the expert guidance of Dr. Toomey, the CDC, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Georgia will move to expand Phase 1a vaccination criteria within the next two weeks to include the elderly, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders – provided the state continues to receive adequate vaccine supplies,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to monitor the administration efforts of our public health workers and partners in the private sector, and the supply chain of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to ensure eligible Georgians are vaccinated without delay.”

“Different areas of the state are completing Phase 1a at different times based on the number of healthcare workers and LTCF residents and staff they have to vaccinate,” said Commissioner Toomey. “This expansion of 1a eligible vaccination criteria will allow vaccine to be administered as quickly as possible to our most at-risk populations in terms of exposure, transmission and severity. It also gives healthcare providers and public health staff time to plan and work with local communities across the state to ensure safe and sufficient deployment of limited vaccine supplies.”

It is critical that even as vaccine becomes available to more people, all Georgians must continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. While the COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective in preventing illness in the individual being vaccinated, it is not yet known if the vaccine fully prevents person to person transmission or asymptomatic infections.

Bat Tests Positive for Rabies in Dutch Island Area

A bat that was captured inside a home on Dutch Island in Chatham County has tested positive for rabies. The Chatham County Health Department is advising the resident about possible post-exposure rabies treatment.

Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. The Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health office offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.

Public Health Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccination

Appointments Limited to Essential Services

As COVID-19 vaccine supplies increase in the Coastal Health District, the Chatham County Health Department is working to administer vaccines to eligible individuals as quickly as possible. To allow our staff to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, our health departments will shift to essential services only. Essential services include:

  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Childhood immunizations required for school attendance
  • Infectious Disease Services (STD/TB/HIV)
  • Contraception services
  • Child dental services (Chatham County only)

Appointments are required for all services, and many existing appointments will be rescheduled. “All of the services we provide are important to people in our community, and we understand this is inconvenient,” says Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “But with limited staffing and resources, our focus must be on administration of this potentially life-saving vaccine.”

This change does not affect Environmental Health services or Vital Records. To make an appointment for essential services, contact your county health department.

COVID-19 vaccination is currently available only for phase 1a individuals, which includes frontline healthcare workers and the staff and residents of long-term care facilities. If you are a healthcare provider in need of vaccination, please fill out our provider survey at gachd.org/providersurvey/.