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

Chatham News


Free Mammograms in Chatham County

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 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, December 9, 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.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins will be accepted. To make an appointment, please
call 356-2946.

Beach Advisories Lifted for Tybee Island

Updated November 15, 2019:

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the bacteria-related beach water advisories for Tybee Island beaches.

Advisories have been lifted for:

  • Polk Street Beach (end of beach to jetty)
  • North Beach at Gulick Street (jetty to Lovell Street)
  • Middle Beach at Center Terrace (Lovell Street to 11th Street)

Recent water samples show that bacteria levels have dropped below EPA limits, and therefore the advisories have been lifted.


November 13, 2019:

The Chatham County Health Department has issued water quality advisories for 3 beach locations on Tybee Island. The advisory locations are:

  • Polk Street Beach (end of beach to jetty)
  • North Beach at Gulick Street (jetty to Lovell Street)
  • Middle Beach at Center Terrace (Lovell Street to 11th Street)

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThese advisories are only for the areas specified above and do 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 weekly 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 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.

Raccoon in Georgetown Area Tests Positive for Rabies

A raccoon on Westminister Road in the Georgetown area of Chatham County has tested positive for rabies. A family dog had contact with the raccoon. The dog is up to date on rabies vaccinations and will undergo observation for 45 days as a precaution.

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.

World AIDS Day Observance Events Scheduled in Chatham County

The Coastal Health District HIV Prevention Program will  hold several “community conversations” along with free and confidential HIV testing events in observance of World AIDS Day.

Launched in 1988, World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1. The Coastal Health District, along with organizations all over the world, holds events on and around that day to promote awareness of HIV, decrease stigma surrounding HIV, and advocate for an end to the HIV epidemic.

According to the World Health Organization, of the 37.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2018, 79% received testing, 62% received treatment, and 53% had achieved suppression of the HIV virus with no risk of infecting others.

The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community,” reflects the important role that communities play in all aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic – from breaking down barriers related to delivery of care, to ensuring that the epidemic remains on the forefront of both the political and human landscape.

Scheduled Events

“A Community Conversation in Observance of World AIDS Day”
West Broad Seventh-day Adventist Church
2501 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.
Saturday, November 30
10:45 a.m.


“A Community Conversation in Observance of World AIDS Day”
Impact Church en Español
5975 Ogeechee Road
Sunday, December 1
2 p.m.


*Walgreens
2109 E. Victory Drive
Monday, December 2
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
*(Gift cards to the first 50 people tested)


Star Castle*
550 Mall Blvd.
Thursday, December 5
8 p.m. – 1 a.m.
*(Free entry with HIV test. Gift cards to first 50 people tested. Must be 21+ or present valid college ID after 10 p.m.)

HIV testing is always free 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.

Flu Vaccine Available at Health Departments

It may still feel like summer outside, but this year’s flu season has already begun. Getting vaccinated is the best protection against flu and the health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties now have flu vaccine available. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age, including pregnant women.

“Flu seasons can vary in length and severity. The one thing that remains constant is the fact that influenza can be dangerous,” said Coastal Health District Health Director, Lawton Davis, M.D. “That’s why it is so important to get a flu shot every year.”

It takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot for the vaccine to provide the body with protection against the flu. While getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, there are other things we can all do every day to prevent getting or spreading the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Try to cough or sneeze into the corner of your elbow and not your hand or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

For more information or to download the vaccine consent form ahead of time, go to www.gachd.org/flu.

The following drive-through flu vaccination clinics have been scheduled:

Glynn County
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday, October 24
Glynn County Health Department (2747 Fourth St.)
Cash, checks, credit/debit cards, most major insurances, Medicaid, and Medicare will be accepted.

Camden County
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, November 2
Lowe’s in Kingsland (1410 East Boone Avenue)
Cash, checks, most major insurances, Medicaid, and Medicare will be accepted.

McIntosh County
1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday, November 7
McIntosh County Health Department (Hwy. 57 in Townsend)
Cash, checks, credit/debit cards, most major insurances, Medicaid, and Medicare will be accepted.

Raccoon on Isle of Hope Tests Positive for Rabies

A raccoon on Smith Drive on Isle of Hope has tested positive for rabies. A family dog had contact with the raccoon. The dog is up to date on rabies vaccinations and will undergo observation for 45 days as a precaution.

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.

Beach Advisory Lifted for Tybee Strand Beach on Tybee Island

Updated on October 8, 2019
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 October 1, 2019 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. For more information about beach water advisories, go to www.gachd.org and click on the Environmental Health tab at the top of the page.


October 1, 2019

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a water quality advisory for Tybee Strand Beach at the Pier, which stretches from 11th Street to 18th Street on Tybee Island. This advisory is only for the area specified above and does not impact any other beaches on the island. There is no way of knowing if going into water that is under advisory will result in illness; however, this beach water advisory is 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 weekly on Tybee Island, and 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 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 levels meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards. For more information about beach water testing, click here.

DPH Identifies First Death From Vaping-Associated Illness

September 25, 2019

Atlanta -The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has identified the state’s first death from a vaping-associated illness. The patient had a history of heavy nicotine vaping, but no reported history of vaping THC. DPH has identified nine cases, including the death, of vaping-associated illness in Georgia, and other possible cases are being reviewed. All patients were hospitalized and developed pneumonia with no known infectious cause. Cases range in age from 18 to 68 years (median age 26 years), 78% are male.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with states to investigate more than 500 cases of vaping-associated illness. No specific e-cigarette device or substance has been linked to all cases. Most patients have reported a history of using vaping products containing THC. Many patients have reported using THC and nicotine. Some have reported the use of e-cigarette products containing only nicotine.

Governor Brian P. Kemp and DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H. urge individuals to follow the CDC recommendation that individuals not use e-cigarettes or other vaping devices while this investigation is ongoing. Without knowing the specific cause of the vaping-associated illness, discontinuing use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices is the best prevention against becoming ill.

E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products. People who use e-cigarette products should not buy vaping products off the street and should not modify or add any substances to e-cigarette products.

Symptoms of vaping-associated illness, which worsen over time, include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. People with a history of vaping who are experiencing breathing problems or any of these symptoms should seek medical care.

For more information about e-cigarettes and vaping, visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html#latest-outbreak-information.

Diabetes Prevention Program Meeting Sept. 26

Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Program will hold a National Diabetes Prevention Program kickoff meeting (including blood glucose screening) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 26, at the Coastal Health District administrative office located at 400 Mall Blvd., Suite G, in Savannah (second floor of the Progressive building).

There are more than 79 million Americans who have prediabetes and many do not know it. In Georgia alone, more than one million people have diabetes and about 44,000 Georgians are diagnosed with diabetes every year. People with prediabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels higher than normal. The levels are not yet high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis; however, people with prediabetes are more likely to get type 2 diabetes than others. Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of toes, feet, or legs. Even though prediabetes puts you at high risk, there are ways you can lower your chance of getting type 2 diabetes.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is focused on helping prediabetics avoid type 2 diabetes by making modest lifestyle changes. The Program is free and is designed so that participants receive support not only through a Lifestyle Coach but also from each other by sharing ideas, celebrating successes, and working to overcome obstacles. Participants at high risk for type 2 diabetes will learn how take steps to make positive, sustainable lifestyle changes.

Anyone seeking additional information about the Diabetes Prevention Program can contact Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson at 912-644-5818 or email cristina.gibson@dph.ga.gov.

Free Mammograms for Women Who Meet Eligibility Criteria

In observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, several health departments in the Coastal Health District will host free mammogram screening events in October in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mammograms will be offered at no cost to women who meet certain annual income guidelines and are 40-64 years of age without insurance.

Events will take place in the following counties:

Camden County
Wednesday, October 9
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Lowe’s 1410 Boone Ave., Kingsland
For more information, call the Camden County Health Department at 912-576-3040 (Woodbine) or 912-882-8515 (St. Marys)

Long County
Tuesday, October 15
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
IGA, U.S. Hwy. 84, Ludowici
For more information, call the Long County Health Department at  912-545-2107.

Glynn County
Monday, October 28
9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sparrow’s Nest, 2911 Altama Avenue, Brunswick
For more information, call the Glynn County Health Department at 912-264-3961.

McIntosh County
Tuesday, October 29
8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Piggly Wiggly, 15759 U.S. 17, Eulonia
For more information, call the McIntosh County Health Department at 912-832-5473.

Chatham County
Tuesday, October 29
8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Chatham County Health Department, 1602 Drayton St., Savannah
For more information, call  356-2946.

Although these events are taking place during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, mammography services are available through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program all year long for women who meet eligibility criteria.