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

Chatham News


Health Departments to Provide No Cost Vision, Hearing, Dental, & Nutrition Screening for School Students

Although the start of school may look a little different this year, 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.

Health departments in the Coastal Health District will offer no cost vision, hearing, dental, and nutrition screening – by appointment only – for school students. Normally a $30 fee applies when getting the screening at the health department.

Immunization services will also be available at regular cost. Most insurance is accepted and there are low-cost options for people without insurance. 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).

The HPV vaccine is also recommended for both girls and boys starting at ages 11–12 to protect against cancers and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus.

Call your local health department to schedule an appointment.

No Cost Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition Clinic Schedules

Bryan County
August 17th (Pembroke) and August 19th (Richmond Hill)
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-653-4331 (Pembroke) or 912-756-2611 (Richmond Hill).

Chatham County
August 10th – 14th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-356-2441.

Effingham County
Tuesday, August 18th, and Thursday, August 20th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-754-6484.

Glynn County
August 10th – 14th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-264-3961 and choosing option 9.

Liberty County
Monday, August 17th, and Tuesday, August 18th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-876-2173.

Long County
Monday, August 10th, and Wednesday, August 12th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-545-2107.

Coastal Health District to Suspend Operations Monday, August 3rd

The Coastal Health District will suspend operations on Monday, August 3rd due to the potential for wind and rain associated with Tropical Storm Isaias.

All district offices, county health departments, and COVID-19 specimen collection sites will be closed. Anyone with an appointment scheduled for Monday will be notified of the closure and will have the opportunity to reschedule. The COVID-19 Testing Call Center will also be closed on Monday.

All sites and the call center are expected to reopen with normal hours on Tuesday, August 4th.

Beach Advisory Lifted for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island

Update: July 29, 2020

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on July 28, 2020 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 that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.


July 28, 2020

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

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThe advisory is only for the area specified above and does 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 routinely 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 area will be re-tested, and the advisory will be lifted when tests show the bacteria level meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

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

Chatham Co. Health Dept. Expands Hours at COVID-19 Testing Site

Beginning Monday, July 27th, the Chatham County Health Department’s COVID-19 testing site at the Savannah Civic Center will be open later each weekday.

Every Monday through Friday, free COVID-19 testing will be available from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Testing will also be offered on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8:30-11:30 a.m. In August, the site will be open Saturday, August 1st and Saturday, August 15th.

“We’ve been working to hire and train more staff so we can meet the testing needs of our community,” says Tammi Brown, Nurse Manager of the Chatham County Health Department. “Also, having our drive-through testing inside the Civic Center offers us protection from the heat and weather. With our additional staff and this ideal location, we can stay open longer each weekday.”

The site will continue to accommodate up to 100 walk-up tests each day for individuals without access to a car. From 8-8:30 a.m., walkers can form a line on the Montgomery Street side of the Civic Center. Individuals MUST wear face coverings and MUST follow the markers to stay 6 feet from others in line. Walk-up testing will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Drive-through testing will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. No appointment is needed.

For more information about testing in Chatham County, visit gachd.org/covidtestsav/. For more information about testing in other areas of the Coastal Health District, please visit gachd.og/covidtest/.

Don’t Delay: Make Appointments Now for Immunizations & School Screenings

Immunizations and health screenings are an important part of keeping our children healthy. Several vaccinations are required for school-aged children, and parents are urged not to delay those immunizations. Staying up to date on vaccinations is the best way to protect children from certain diseases.

Health departments currently require appointments for service. Scheduling patients in advance allows for social distancing in waiting rooms. Face coverings are also required for anyone over age 2.

It is important to note that health department services, including vaccinations, are offered on days when there is no COVID-19 testing taking place at health departments.

“We’re doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for our patients and staff,” said Coastal Health District Immunization Coordinator, Paige Lightsey, R.N. “If your child needs immunizations, we encourage you to call the health department or your pediatrician and schedule an appointment right away.”

Students entering school for the first time need vaccinations as well as Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screenings. Also, 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 one dose of Tdap vaccine and one dose of meningococcal vaccine. 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. Appointments can be scheduled by calling your local health department. Most insurance plans are accepted, and vaccine can be supplied at no cost for those without insurance. For more information on childhood immunization schedules, go to gachd.org/immunizations.

Beach Advisory Lifted for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island

Update: July 23, 2020

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on July 21, 2020 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 that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.


July 21, 2020

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

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThe advisory is only for the area specified above and does 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 routinely 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 area will be re-tested, and the advisory will be lifted when tests show the bacteria level meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

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

Savannah Civic Center COVID-19 Testing Site Adds Limited Availability for Walk-up Testing

Beginning Monday, July 20th, the Chatham County Health Department will accommodate up to 100 walk-up tests each day at the Civic Center COVID-19 testing site for individuals without access to a car.

“Not everyone in Chatham County has access to a car, but that shouldn’t block access to a test,” said Tammi Brown, Nurse Manager of the Chatham County Health Department. “Each day that our testing site is open, we’ll offer walk-up testing to the first 100 individuals who line up between 8 and 8:30 that morning.”

Individuals are asked not to queue for walk-up testing before 8 a.m. From 8-8:30 a.m., walkers can form a line on the Montgomery Street side of the Civic Center. Individuals MUST wear face coverings and MUST follow the markers to stay 6 feet from others in line. Walk-up testing will begin at 8:30 a.m. for up to 100 individuals.

Drive-through testing will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis with a capacity to test 500 individuals each testing day. The drive through line will close when the site has reached capacity.

Testing is free, and no appointment is required. For more information about testing in Chatham County, visit gachd.org/covidtestsav/. For more information about testing in other areas of the Coastal Health District, please visit gachd.og/covidtest/.

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, July 27 – by appointment only – 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 schedule an appointment, please call 356-2946.

Beach Advisory Lifted for Tybee Strand Beach

Update: July 7, 2020

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for Tybee Strand Beach at the Pier on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on July 2, 2020 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 that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.


July 2, 2020

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.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThe advisory is only for the area specified above and does 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 routinely 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 area will be re-tested, and the advisory will be lifted when tests show the bacteria level meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

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

New Testing Site Locations, Operations in the Coastal Health District Beginning July 6

The Coastal Health District is making several changes to its COVID-19 testing program to reduce long lines and wait times at some testing sites, and to better protect staff members from the weather.

Testing in Chatham County will move to the Savannah Civic Center on July 6th. Drivers will enter from Oglethorpe Avenue and queue in the Civic Center parking lot. The drive-through line will route cars into a sheltered cargo area inside the Civic Center where Health Department staff will collect specimens for testing.

In Glynn County, the Health Department will transition to an appointment-only testing process on July 8th. You can begin calling 1-912-230-9744 to schedule an appointment for Glynn County on Monday, July 6th.

Beginning next week, all testing by the Coastal Health District in Bryan, Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties will be by appointment only. Call 1-912-230-9744 to schedule an appointment.

The district is also adding 17 contract nurses and 42 temporary administrative support personnel at specimen collection sites and testing call centers across the 8-county region.

Click the button below for a list of testing sites and operational hours, and for information about scheduling appointments:

COVID-19 Testing Information