Now vaccinating age 12+ in Chatham/Glynn. Info on COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing, Data:
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The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

Camden News


Vaccination More Urgent Than Ever; COVID-19 Cases Increase and Delta Variant Spreads in Georgia

If you were waiting for the right time to get vaccinated, that time is now! The
Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging Georgians to get vaccinated as the
number of new COVID-19 cases increases daily and the Delta variant spreads.

The COVID case rate in Georgia has increased 204% over the last 14-day period. Yesterday
new cases totaled 4,612 – the highest daily number since mid-February. Hospitalizations have
increased by about 50% in the last 14 days, and deaths have increased by about 18% in the
same period. Vaccination has stalled statewide and only 40% of Georgians are fully vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the Delta variant accounts for
78% of new COVID cases in Georgia, making vaccination more urgent than ever. The Delta
variant spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another, compared with earlier
strains. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes are happening in places with low
vaccination rates, and virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the
unvaccinated.

“Unfortunately, we can expect COVID numbers to keep growing. People who are unvaccinated
or skip their second dose of vaccine are targets for infection,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D.,
M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Getting vaccinated is the
best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant. High vaccination coverage
will reduce spread of the virus in your community and elsewhere – and help prevent new
variants from emerging.”

All Georgians aged 12 and older are urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19. If you receive
either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, you must get your second dose to ensure you are fully
protected. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of
vaccine.

COVID vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. are safe and effective against COVID-19 and the
variants that are circulating. Vaccination is the best defense at preventing severe illness,
hospitalizations and death. The delta variant is causing some “vaccine breakthrough infections,”
meaning infections in fully vaccinated people, but even so, most breakthrough infections are
mild. In areas with substantial and high transmission, the CDC recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

Free COVID-19 Testing on Tuesdays & Thursdays in St. Marys Beginning Aug. 3

Beginning August 3rd, free COVID-19 testing will be available by appointment each Tuesday and Thursday morning at the Camden County Health Department in St. Marys. You must have an appointment for testing. COVID-19 testing appointments can be scheduled online at https://covid19.dph.ga.gov/ or by calling the COVID-19 testing call center at 912-230-9744.

“Testing is an important public health tool during an outbreak, and unfortunately, we’re seeing a huge surge of COVID-19 cases in the Camden County area,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “Identifying cases can help us slow the spread of illness. We want to make it easier for residents in Camden County to get tested, whether they’re sick and want to know if it’s COVID, or because they’ve been exposed and are in quarantine.”

The expanded schedule begins August 3rd and will be reevaluated frequently. There is no cost to the client for testing through public health regardless of insurance status. Test results are typically available in 24-36 hours.

Free COVID-19 testing is also available by appointment at the Glynn County Health Department every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. COVID-19 testing appointments for the Glynn and Camden County locations can be scheduled online at https://covid19.dph.ga.gov/ or by calling the COVID-19 testing call center at 912-230-9744, Monday through Thursday from 8 am-5pm and Friday from 8am-2pm.

For more information about COVID-19 in the Coastal Health District, please visit covid19.gachd.org.

Public Urged to Get Vaccinated as COVID-19 Rates Rise in Camden County

COVID-19 transmission and hospitalization rates have risen sharply in Camden County, and vaccination rates remain low. The Camden County Health Department and Southeast Georgia Health System are urging unvaccinated residents to take precautions against COVID-19 and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We are very concerned about the increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases and the number of hospitalized patients,” said Michael D. Scherneck, president and CEO of the Southeast Georgia Health System. “We had hoped when the vaccine became available to everyone over age 12 we’d see a dramatic reduction in the number of positive cases. Our numbers did decline for a few weeks, but now our COVID-19 volumes have risen again.”

In the last three weeks, the COVID-19 transmission rate and test positivity rate in Camden County have tripled. “People are gathering and traveling more, there are fewer restrictions in place, and the more contagious delta variant is circulating,” said Angela Hartley, Clinical Director for the Coastal Health District. “When you combine these factors and our low vaccination rate, it’s not surprising to see this jump in cases. We really need more people to get vaccinated.”

Only 28% of eligible residents in Camden County are fully vaccinated, and only 39% in Glynn County. “For those of the ‘wait and see’ mindset, we urge you to get the vaccine now,” said Scherneck. “Even if you believe you’re healthy enough to withstand the illness, get the vaccine to protect your loved ones and your community.”

Free COVID-19 vaccine is also available at the Glynn and Camden County Health Departments. Camden County offers the Moderna vaccine for ages 18+ each Thursday, and the Glynn County Health Department offers Pfizer vaccine for ages 12+ every weekday. There is no cost for vaccination through CORE or the Health Department. Appointments are encouraged, but not required, and can be made by clicking the appointment link at chdcovidvax.org or by calling 912-230-5506.

Pfizer vaccines are available on the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus each Monday from 8 am-1 pm, and on the Brunswick Campus each Tuesday from 8 am-1 pm. Appointments can be scheduled online at sghs.org/covid19-vaccine.

If individuals need no-cost transportation to any of these vaccine locations, a ride can be scheduled by calling 866-543-6744.

Apply Now for the Coastal Health District Hurricane Registry

Every coastal resident should plan ahead for a possible hurricane evacuation, but this planning is critical for individuals with physical or medical challenges. If you or a loved one has medical issues and no way to evacuate before a storm, now is the time to apply for the Coastal Health District’s Hurricane Registry.

The Hurricane Registry is a list of adults or children who live at home under the care of family or trained medical professionals, but who would require special assistance in a shelter or healthcare facility during an evacuation. Additionally, individuals on the registry must have no other way to evacuate safely.

“The Hurricane Registry is truly a safety net,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “If our area is ordered to evacuate, we don’t want these individuals trapped at home because they didn’t have the resources to leave and a medically appropriate place to go. But we can’t prepare if we don’t know their situation, which is why they need to apply in advance.”

The Hurricane Registry is managed by the local health department in each of the 8 counties of the Coastal Health District, including Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh. You must apply to be on the registry in advance. You can begin the process by calling the Hurricane Registry hotline toll-free at 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344) or downloading an application at gachd.org/registry.

All coastal residents are also urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. These vaccines would be especially important for protecting you and those around you in a shelter environment. Some vaccines require two doses several weeks apart, and it takes time for the body to build immunity after vaccination, so don’t delay.

For more information about the hurricane registry, visit gachd.org/registry.

National HIV Testing Day Events Scheduled

The Coastal Health District HIV Prevention Program will hold several free HIV testing events (no appointment necessary) around the Coastal Health District throughout the month of June to bring awareness to National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) and the importance of knowing your status.

Scheduled Events

  • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday, June 21
    Richmond Hill Public Library, 9607 Ford Ave., Richmond Hill

  • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tuesday, June 22
    Coastal Community Health Services, 106 Shoppers Way, Brunswick

  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 23
    Diversity Health Center, 303 Fraser Dr., Hinesville

  • 7 – 11 p.m., Thursday, June 24
    Star Castle, 550 Mall Blvd., Savannah

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, June 26
    Chatham County Health Department, 1395 Eisenhower Dr., Savannah*
    *(Drive-through event)

All testing is free and confidential and results will be available in about one minute. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals.

This year’s theme, “My Test, My Way,” highlights different ways and places to get tested, including at home with a self-test. Swag bags, gift cards, and other giveaways will be available at all events.

Around 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one in seven people do not know they have it and need to be tested. National HIV Testing Day 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 always 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.

For more information on Coastal Health District HIV services, please visit our website at gachd.org/hiv.

Health Departments to Offer Pfizer Clinics for Teen Vaccinations

The Coastal Health District is now scheduling appointments for special Pfizer vaccine clinics at 7 county health department locations. Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized for individuals as young as 12 years of age.

“Several of our clinics typically offer Moderna vaccine for anyone 18 and older, but we want to be sure our younger residents have the opportunity for vaccination, too,” said Paige Lightsey, Immunization Coordinator for the Coastal Health District. “That’s why we’re offering special Pfizer clinics, so everyone 12 and older will have access to the vaccine.”

The Pfizer clinics will be offered in Bryan, Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties. Glynn and Chatham Counties already offer Pfizer during normal clinic hours.

These special Pfizer clinics are not limited to teens; adults who would like to receive Pfizer can also schedule appointments. There is no cost for the vaccine. Appointments are preferred and can be scheduled online at chdcovidvax.org or by calling 912-230-5506. Walk-ins are welcome, but subject to vaccine availability at the time of the clinic.

“Now is a great time to get your child vaccinated,” said Lightsey. “By starting the two-dose vaccine series now, your child will be fully vaccinated and protected when school begins in the fall.”

Pfizer vaccine requires two doses. You’ll be scheduled for your second dose of vaccine three weeks after receiving your first dose at the clinic.

Pfizer/Teen Clinics for Ages 12+

Bryan County Health Department – Pembroke

  • 430 Ledford Street in Pembroke
  • Wednesday, June 2, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Bryan County Health Department – Richmond Hill

  • 66 Captain Matthew Freeman Drive in Richmond Hill
  • Tuesday, May 25, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Camden County Health Department – St. Marys

  • 905 Dilworth Street in St. Marys
  • Wednesday, May 26, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Effingham County Health Department

  • 802 Hwy. 199 South in Springfield
  • Friday, May 28, 8 am – 12 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Liberty County Health Department

  • 1113 East Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville
  • Tuesday, May 25, 8:30-11:30 am
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Long County Health Department

  • 584 North Macon Street in Ludowici
  • Tuesday, May 25, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

McIntosh County Health Department

  • 1335 Georgia Hwy. 57 in Townsend
  • Wednesday, May 26, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Walk-in Johnson and Johnson Clinics Offered in Camden County

The St. Marys clinic of the Camden County Health Department is offering several walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics with the single-dose Janssen vaccine by Johnson & Johnson. No appointment is needed, and there is no cost for vaccination.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine – Walk-in Clinic
Camden County Health Department
905 Dilworth Street, St. Marys

  • May 19th, 8:30-11 a.m.
  • May 21st, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • May 24th, 8:30-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
  • May 26th, 8:30-11:30 a.m.

The Janssen vaccine is authorized for adults age 18 and older.

Grant Funding to Help with Vaccination Transportation in Camden, Glynn, & McIntosh Counties

The Brunswick (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, announced today that $4,500 in grant funding will be used to provide transportation for residents in Camden, Glynn, and McIntosh counties to get to COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

President of the Brunswick, GA, chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Jackie Bryant, presented a check to the Coastal Regional Commission, which includes Coastal Regional Coaches, a branch of the Commission that provides transit service.

“The Brunswick (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is excited for the Coastal Regional Commission community partnership,” said Bryant. It is our vision that providing transportation at no cost to the citizens of Camden, Glynn, and McIntosh counties will assist in reducing yet another barrier in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Beginning Monday, May 17th, residents in Camden, Glynn, or McIntosh counties who have made an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine but do not have access to transportation can call (toll-free) 1-866-543-6744 to request a free ride to and from the appointment.

Funds for this initiative were provided by the Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated, Mask to Protect, Unmask to Inform Response to the Pandemic Grant.

The Brunswick (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, is one of 292 chapters of The Links, Incorporated, in 41 states. Made up of professional women of African descent, The Links, Incorporated, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations.

For more information to arrange transportation call (toll-free) 1-866-543-6744.

Health Departments Offer Walk-In Hours for COVID-19 Vaccination

As vaccine supply and demand have stabilized, the health departments of the Coastal Health District can now offer COVID-19 vaccinations without an appointment during specific clinic hours. Appointments are still recommended, but not required.

“Now that vaccine is in good supply, we want to remove as many barriers to vaccination as possible,” said Paige Lightsey, Immunization Coordinator for the Coastal Health District. “The vaccine is free, plentiful, safe, and effective, and it’s our best tool to stop the pandemic. And now it’s easier than ever to get your shot.”

Walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccination are only allowed during specific clinic hours which vary by county. A schedule for walk-in vaccine availability is posted at chdcovidvax.org.

Anyone age 18 and older can receive Moderna vaccine and anyone 16 and older can receive Pfizer vaccine. When you receive your first dose in the two-dose series, an appointment will be made for your second dose of vaccine.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be available for walk-ins, but specific J&J clinics will be offered at various locations. Check chdcovidvax.org for more details.

Additional information about COVID-19 vaccination can be found at covid19.gachd.org/vaccine.

DPH Will Resume J&J Vaccinations in Georgia

Following a thorough safety review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC
and ACIP have determined that the recommended pause regarding the use of the J&J COVID
vaccine in the U.S. should be lifted.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will again offer J&J vaccine to Georgians aged
18 and older. Details on when administration of the vaccine will begin again in Georgia will be
forthcoming, pending communication with providers.

The federal agencies advised that a warning should be added to the vaccine about the potential
for very rare, but severe blood clots associated with the J&J vaccine. In particular, women under
the age of 50 should be made of aware of the increased risk of thrombosis and
thrombocytopenia syndrome and may choose to receive another vaccine.

At the time J&J vaccine administration was paused, more than 124,000 doses of J&J vaccine
had been safely administered in Georgia. Approximately 211,000 doses are currently in
inventory statewide.

Vaccination remains one of our best tools for stopping the spread of COVID-19, along with basic
prevention measures – wearing a mask, distancing from others, avoiding large gatherings, and
washing your hands frequently