Now vaccinating age 12+ in Chatham/Glynn. Info on COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing, Data:
READ MORE »

×

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

Chatham 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.

COVID-19 Vaccination Service Relocating from Civic Center to Fire Station in Downtown Savannah

Today, July 29, 2021, is the final day COVID-19 vaccinations will be available at the Savannah Civic Center through the Coastal Health District’s mobile vaccination program. Beginning next Thursday, August 5th, the once-weekly vaccination clinic will be relocated to nearby Fire Station #3 at 121 East Oglethorpe Avenue in downtown Savannah.

The schedule will remain unchanged, with vaccinations available each Thursday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. There is no cost for vaccination, and anyone age 12 and older can be vaccinated. The site offers Pfizer vaccine and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required, and walk ups are welcome. You can begin the registration process at chdcovidvax.org or by calling our COVID-19 vaccine call center at 912-230-5506.

Free COVID-19 testing by public health will continue at the Savannah Civic Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and every first and third Saturday of the month from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Due to increased demand for testing, pre-registration is strongly encouraged but not required. Information is available at www.covidtestsavannah.org or by calling our COVID-19 testing call center at 912-230-9744.

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

Beach Water Advisories Lifted in Chatham, Glynn Counties

Updated July 22, 2021

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

The advisories were issued on July 20, 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 advisories have been lifted.


July 20, 2012

The Chatham County Health Department and Glynn County Health Department have issued beach water advisories for locations on Tybee, St. Simons, and Jekyll Islands.

Tybee Island

  • Polk Street Beach – from the north end of the island to the jetty
  • Tybee Strand Beach at the Pier – Eleventh St. to Eighteenth St.

St. Simons Island

  • North Beach at Goulds Inlet – Fifteenth St. to Tenth St.
  • East Beach Old Coast Guard Station – Tenth St. to Driftwood Dr.
  • Fifth Street Crossover Beach – Cedar St. to Ninth St.

Jekyll Island

  • North Beach at Dexter Lane – Tallu Fish Ln. to Brice Ln.
  • Capt. Wylly Rd Crossover Beach – Brice Ln. to Beach Pavilion
graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

The Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Resources Division tests water samples on Georgia beaches 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 beach water advisory alerts the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory area. 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 this week, and the advisory will be lifted when the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards. For more information, visit our Beach Water Testing page.

First Lady Jill Biden to Visit Vaccination Clinic in Chatham County

On Thursday, July 8th, First Lady Jill Biden will tour a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Savannah to show her support for local efforts and encourage community residents to get vaccinated.

The mobile clinic will be held at Beach High School at 3001 Hopkins Street in Savannah from 2-4:30 p.m. Anyone age 12 and older who has not yet been vaccinated is encouraged to make an appointment at chdcovidvax.org. Walk-ins will be allowed, but appointments are preferred. There is no cost for vaccination, and Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered.

“We’re honored to welcome the First Lady to Savannah,” said Chatham County Health Department Nurse Manager Tammi Brown. “Our Health Department has given more than 67,000 vaccinations, but a majority of adults in Chatham County are still unvaccinated and at risk. We aren’t at the finish line yet, so we appreciate her support.”

The First Lady will be joined by Senator Raphael Warnock and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson for the tour and to deliver remarks at Beach High School. The visit is part of the White House Administration’s nation-wide effort to increase education and outreach about COVID-19 vaccination, and to reach the millions of Americans who still need protection against the virus.

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.

Back-to-School Clinics Scheduled

The pandemic has resulted in delays in some children getting check-ups and immunizations. Health departments in the Coastal Health District will hold back-to-school clinics so students can get the following screenings and vaccinations required for school attendance:

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Effective July 1, 2021, children 16 years of age and older, who are entering the 11th grade (including new entrants), must have received one booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), unless their initial dose was administered on or after their 16th birthday.

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.

Students will be seen on a first come, first served basis and no appointment is necessary*. Most insurance accepted.

The following clinics have been scheduled:

Bryan County Health Department
Pembroke (430 Ledford St.)
8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13
Tuesday, July 27

Richmond Hill (66 Capt. Matthew Freeman Drive)
8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14
Wednesday, July 28

*Chatham County Health Department, 1395 Eisenhower Drive
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday July 15
Thursday, July 29
*Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screenings at no cost.

Effingham County Health Department, 802 Hwy. 119 South, Springfield
*Every Tuesday beginning June 22 (BY APPOINTMENT)

*Glynn County Health Department, 2747 Fourth Street, Brunswick
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Every Thursday in July beginning Thursday, July 8.
*Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screenings at no cost.

Liberty County Health Department, 1113 E. Oglethorpe Hwy., Hinesville 
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 26
Wednesday, July 21
Wednesday, July 28

Long County Health Department, 584 N. Macon Street, Ludowici
8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, June 8
Tuesday, July 13

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Friday, September 3

McIntosh County Health Department, 1335 Hwy. 57, Townsend
1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 29

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.

Civic Center COVID-19 Testing Site Closed June 11 & 22

On Friday, June 11th and Tuesday, June 22nd, the public health COVID-19 testing site at the Savannah Civic Center will be closed due to other events scheduled to take place at that location.

For more information on additional locations that offer COVID-19 testing, please go to our website, covid19.gachd.org.

Health Department Partners with CORE to Offer Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in Chatham County

If you live in Chatham County, free COVID-19 vaccine is coming to a location near you.

The Chatham County Health Department is partnering with CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) to offer pop-up vaccination clinics throughout the county. The first two mobile clinics will be held this weekend. Friday, May 14th from 10am-4 pm, vaccine will be available at Peña Barbershop at 11709 Largo Drive. Saturday, May 15th from 1-4 pm, vaccine will be available at MedBank at 836 East 65th Street in Savannah. More sites and dates are being scheduled and will be posted online at chdcovidvax.org and savannahvax.coreresponse.org .

Pre-registration is preferred but not required, and walk-ups are welcome. The site will offer Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and up, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for ages 18 and up. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the clinic. There is no cost for vaccination.

“Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic, but we recognize there are barriers to vaccination like lack of transportation or difficulty with online scheduling,” said Dr. Chris Rustin, Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department. “We’re excited to partner with CORE and bring vaccine directly to our residents, erasing many of these obstacles.”

CORE and the Health Department are working with businesses and organizations around the county to identify additional locations for mobile clinics, with a special focus on hard-to-reach populations. “We look forward to meeting individuals where they are, in their communities, to make their COVID-19 vaccination experience convenient, accessible and pleasant,” said Ashila Jiwani, CORE GA Operations Manager.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccine, visit covid19.gachd.org. For more information about CORE, visit coreresponse.org.

Beach Advisory Lifted for Tybee Island Polk Street Beach

Updated May 6, 2021

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the advisory for Polk St. Beach, which extends from the north end of beach to the north jetty on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on May 4, 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.


May 4, 2021

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Polk St. Beach, which extends from the north end of island to the north jetty 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.