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

Chatham News


Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations Paused

Following the guidance and recommendations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is pausing J&J (Janssen) vaccinations in Georgia until further notice.

  • The JOHNSON AND JOHNSON clinics on Tuesday, April 13 and Wednesday April 14 at the Chatham County Annex will now offer Pfizer vaccine. If you have an appointment, you may still come at your regular appointment time and will receive Pfizer instead of Johnson & Johnson. You will need to return for a second dose in three weeks.
  • The JOHNSON AND JOHNSON clinic Wednesday, April 14 at the Shuman Recreation Center in Liberty will now offer Moderna vaccine. If you have an appointment, you may still come at your regular appointment time and will receive Moderna instead of Johnson & Johnson. You will need to return for a second dose in four weeks.
  • There is a JOHNSON AND JOHNSON clinic scheduled for April 24th in Camden. At this time, we do not know what vaccine will be offered – we will wait for further instruction from FDA and CDC.

The FDA and CDC are reviewing data involving six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot occurring in women aged 18-48 about a week after vaccination. None of the six cases are in individuals vaccinated in Georgia.

DPH and District Health Departments are working to provide Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for individuals with previously scheduled appointments for the J&J vaccine. In some cases, this may require rescheduling, and we ask for patience while scheduling arrangements and adjustments are made.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare, but out of an abundance of caution DPH will temporarily stop the administration of the J&J vaccine while scientists review the data around these cases. More than 124,000 doses of J&J vaccine have been safely administered in Georgia.

Individuals who have received the J&J vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care providers. DPH urges all health care providers to be aware of the potential for these adverse events and plan for appropriate treatment required with these types of blood clots.

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 frequent hand washing.

DPH will continue to monitor the situation with J&J vaccines and provide additional information as it becomes available.

More information is also available on the website of the FDA.

Beach Advisory Lifted in Chatham County

Updated April 13, 2021:

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the advisory for Tybee Strand Beach at the Pier, which stretches from 11th Street to 18th Street on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on April 6, 2021 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 the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.


April 6, 2021:

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Tybee Strand Beach at the Pier, which includes the beach area from Eleventh Street to Eighteenth Street on Tybee Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

When an advisory is issued, it is only for the area specified and does not impact 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, 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 Georgia’s 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 area will be re-tested, and the advisory 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.

COVID-19 Testing at Savannah Civic Center Will Shift to Walk-up Service on Wednesdays and Thursdays

COVID-19 testing by public health at the Savannah Civic Center will shift from a drive-through model to walk-up testing two days per week.

Beginning March 31st, walk-up testing will be offered every Wednesday and Thursday. Individuals may come on foot or may park in the Civic Center parking lot and walk into the testing site. Drive-through testing will continue to be offered each Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, as well as two Saturdays per month.

Appointments for COVID-19 testing at the Civic Center are not required, but you can pre-register for a test at www.covidtestsavannah.com.

There is no out-of-pocket charge for COVID-19 testing at the Civic Center site. Health insurance will be billed for those with insurance, but insurance is not required, and no one will be charged a fee.

Summary of COVID-19 Testing Operations at Civic Center Site, 301 West Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah

  • COVID-19 Testing provided by Mako Medical in partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health
  • No appointment needed, but pre-registration encouraged at www.covidtestsavannah.com
  • Charge: None. Insurance will be billed if available, but insurance is not required. No out-of-pocket cost.
  • Monday: Drive-through testing 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Drive-through testing 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Walk-up testing 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Walk-up testing 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday: Drive-through testing 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Every first and third Saturday of each month: Drive-through testing

Georgians 16+ Eligible for COVID Vaccine

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Brian Kemp announced the state will expand its COVID vaccine eligibility beginning March 25, 2021, to include all Georgians aged 16 and older. Increased COVID vaccine supply and significant progress in vaccinating Georgia seniors, our most vulnerable population, allows the state to move forward and to ensure all vaccine doses are being put into arms.

Vaccination, along with strict compliance with basic prevention measures – wear a mask, stay six feet from others, avoid large gatherings, wash your hands frequently – will help Georgia stop the spread of COVID-19.

These measures are critically important as SARs-CoV-2 variants continue to circulate and increase in Georgia. Currently, there are 367 confirmed COVID cases with variants statewide; 351 cases with the UK variant (B.1.1.7), 15 cases with the South Africa variant (B.1.351), and 1 case with the Brazil variant (P.1). These variants appear to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Follow the advice of your health care provider about what you should do while you wait for your test results. COVID testing not only helps DPH control and mitigate infection, but it also provides valuable information about variants when positive test results are sequenced.

To schedule a vaccination appointment at a health department in the Coastal Health District, visit chdcovidvax.org. To schedule an appointment at a GEMA mass vaccination site, visit myvaccinegeorgia.com. Or, click here to view information and links for other vaccine providers in our area.

Important note: Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine approved for teens 16 and 17 years old. Please schedule an appointment at the Chatham County Health Department, Glynn County Health Department, CVS or Walgreens or at one of the GEMA mass vaccination sites to ensure Pfizer vaccine is available.

Beach Advisory Issued on Tybee Island

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

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

The advisory is only for the area specified above and does not impact 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, 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 Georgia’s 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.

Beach Advisories Lifted on St. Simons and Tybee Islands

Updated March 18, 2021:

The Glynn and Chatham County Health Departments have lifted the beach water advisories on St. Simons Island and Tybee Island.

The advisories were issued on March 16, 2021 after routine water quality tests showed a high level of enterococci bacteria which increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness in swimmers.

Subsequent water samples show the bacteria level dropped below the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisories have been lifted.


March 16, 2021:

The Glynn and Chatham County Health Departments have issued water quality advisories for beach locations on St. Simons and Tybee Islands. 

The areas under advisory are:

  • South Beach at the Lighthouse: from 9th Street to the Pier on St. Simons Island
  • South Beach at Chatham Street: from 18th Street to Inlet Avenue on Tybee Island
graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

The advisory is only for the area specified above and does not impact 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, 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 Georgia’s 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.

Organizations Partner to Address Vaccine Concerns during Facebook Live Event

The Brunswick (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, the Glynn County Health Department/Coastal Health District, and Southeast Georgia Health System are partnering to present “Real Talk: A Vaccination Conversation” live on Facebook at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 25. The virtual town hall will include physicians and community leaders sharing extensive knowledge and answering questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is very important that our communities are reassured that receiving the vaccine is safe,” said President of the Brunswick (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Jackie Bryant. “We want to engage the public and improve outreach and communication efforts to the citizens who are most affected by COVID-19.”

Residents will have the opportunity to submit questions during the forum as well as hear from infectious disease specialist, Steven Mosher, M.D., Southeast Georgia Physician Associates – Infectious Disease; Glynn County Health Department outreach and education specialist, Katrina Howard; and behavioral health specialist, Janel Holland, LCSW.

“I am very grateful that we now have several vaccine options to help us battle the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in order to succeed and save additional lives we need those who are eligible to get vaccinated,” said Mosher. “The data from several countries with successful vaccination programs has shown how well the vaccine can stop the spread of disease, decrease hospitalizations, and prevent death. I urge the public to get vaccinated when they become eligible.”

The event will also include testimonials from residents who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The quickest way to get back to the way things were before COVID-19 is for as many people as possible to get vaccinated,” said Glynn County Health Department outreach and education specialist, Katrina Howard. “It is completely understandable to have questions about the vaccine and we want to help answer those questions and clear up any concerns.”

Go to www.facebook.com/linksbrunswick to join the Vaccination Conversation live on Thursday, March 25th. More information on COVID-19 vaccines can also be found on the Coastal Health District website at covid19.gachd.org.

Appointments Available for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Clinics Saturday, March 13 in Chatham County

Appointments are now available for 7 different COVID-19 vaccination clinics happening throughout Chatham County on Saturday, March 13. Six of the clinics will offer the new Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, and one clinic will offer Pfizer.

First availability was given to local educators, school staff, and childcare workers. Now the remaining appointments are available to anyone who currently qualifies for vaccination. This includes all adults over the age of 65 and their caregivers, educators/school staff in pre-K through 12th grade, early childcare center employees, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers, parents of children with complex medical conditions, funeral home workers, healthcare workers, emergency first responders, and residents/staff of long-term care facilities.

Participating providers include the Chatham County Health Department, Coastal Care Partners, Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, Georgetown Drug Company, Hospice Savannah, J.C. Lewis Primary Healthcare, Memorial Health, Pooler Pharmacy, St. Josephs/Candler Health System, and the Coastal Health District.


Saturday Clinics, March 13, 2021

Notes:

  • Six clinics are offering Johnson & Johnson, and one clinic (St. Joseph’s/Candler) is offering Pfizer.
  • Please wear short sleeve clothing.
  • Do not arrive early for your appointment as this creates crowding at the event location.
  • Health insurance is not required and there is no out-of-pocket cost for vaccination. However, if you have insurance, please bring your health insurance information. Some providers may bill the health insurance company, but you will not be billed directly for vaccination.

Chatham County Health Department with J.C. Lewis Primary Healthcare:

  • Where: Health Department Clinic at 1395 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah
  • Vaccine: Johnson & Johnson

Coastal Care Partners and SCCPSS:

  • Where: Hesse K-8 School, 9116 Whitefield Ave, Savannah
  • Vaccine: Johnson & Johnson

Georgetown Drug Company

  • Where: 1080 King George Blvd, Savannah
  • Vaccine: Johnson & Johnson

Hospice Savannah

  • Where: Gulfstream at 171 Crossroads Parkway
  • Vaccine: Johnson & Johnson

Memorial Health Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah (at GenerationOne location)

  • Where: GenerationOne, 1100 Eisenhower Drive
  • Vaccine: Johnson & Johnson

Pooler Pharmacy

  • Where: Pooler Pharmacy (NEW LOCATION) 1557 Pooler Pkwy, Suite 400 in Pooler (in front of Lowe’s)
  • Vaccine: Johnson & Johnson

St. Josephs/Candler: PFIZER ONLY

  • Where: Good Samaritan Clinic at 4704 Augusta Rd., Garden City
  • Vaccine: PFIZER ONLY

Georgia Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility Beginning March 15th

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Brian Kemp today announced the state will expand its vaccine eligibility March 15, 2021, to include adults aged 55 and older, individuals with disabilities and certain medical conditions.

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are already eligible for vaccination. This expansion now includes disabilities caused by an injury (e.g., traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury), a disability due to a longstanding condition that could cause vision loss, nerve damage or loss of a limb, or a disability due to illness such as ALS or multiple sclerosis.

The medical conditions referenced are:

Asthma (moderate to severe)                         Immunocompromised

Cancer                                                            Liver disease

Cerebrovascular disease                               Neurologic conditions

Chronic kidney disease                                  Overweight and obesity

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease       Pregnancy

Cystic Fibrosis                                                Pulmonary fibrosis

Diabetes                                                          Sickle Cell Disease

Hypertension or high blood pressure             Thalassemia (blood disorder)

Heart conditions         

To find a vaccine location near you or to schedule an appointment, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine. For individuals aged 16 and 17 who are in an eligible population for vaccination, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for these ages. Please schedule an appointment at CVS or Walgreens or at one of the GEMA mass vaccination sites to ensure Pfizer vaccine is available to you.

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

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Events Scheduled

The Coastal Health District is observing National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with free, confidential HIV testing events throughout the district during March. There will also be giveaways, including gift cards, swag bags, women’s health kits, and COVID-19 self-protection kits.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) is an annual observance that sheds light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls. Every year on March 10, and throughout the month of March, federal, national, and community organizations come together to show support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS.

Women face unique HIV risks and challenges that can prevent them from getting needed care and treatment. Addressing these issues remains critical to achieving an HIV- and AIDS-free generation.

Click here for a Comprehensive event list.