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


First Shipments of COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive in Georgia; 5,850 Initial Doses in Coastal Health District

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) today received the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine for administration in Georgia. Shipments of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Coastal Georgia at two public health locations with ultracold freezers required for storage and temperature control of the vaccine. Additional shipments of vaccine are expected later this week at facilities in other parts of the state, including metro Atlanta.

Today’s shipments contain 5,850 doses of vaccine for individuals to receive their first dose of the two dose series. The Coastal Health District is fine-tuning the logistics of thawing, preparing and administering the vaccine, and will begin vaccinating front line public health staff this afternoon. A broader vaccination program for high priority individuals in Chatham, Glynn, and surrounding counties will begin tomorrow. The district will also make vaccine available to local hospitals as those facilities await their own deliveries.

Because initial COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited, DPH is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and prioritizing healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities for vaccination. Vaccine will be given through closed points of dispensing or PODs. These sites include public health clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, etc., and are only accessible to individuals in defined priority groups.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to give Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization (EAU) later this week. Assuming the vaccine is authorized for use by FDA, shipments of the Moderna vaccine should begin arriving in Georgia next week.

Video of today’s arrival of vaccine and a brief interview with Lawton Davis, M.D., Coastal Health District health director, is available to all media outlets for use at

Additional information about distribution and first administration of vaccine will be coming soon.

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

For information about COVID-19, visit or

Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely; Stay Home to Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing families to make difficult decisions about their 2020 Thanksgiving celebrations. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges all Georgians to plan ahead and take steps to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the flu as they celebrate.

COVID-19 spreads easily whether gatherings are large or small, putting families and friends at risk – especially individuals who are elderly or have underlying medical conditions. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to stay home and celebrate with people in your own household. Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

“The surge of COVID-19 infections in Georgia and across the country mean we must rethink our idea of a traditional Thanksgiving this year,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. “Each family must assess the risk of exposure to COVID-19, especially among elderly or medically fragile individuals, as they weigh the decision to host or attend a holiday gathering. Everyone needs to follow the guidance of wearing a face mask, social distancing and washing your hands frequently. And get a flu shot.” 

If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people you don’t live with, take steps to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals who have not lived in the household during the two weeks ahead of the holiday (members of the military or college students home for the holiday) stay in a separate area of the house with a designated bathroom, if possible. Other recommendations include:

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you

Wash your hands

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Attending a Gathering

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates and utensils.

Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Thanksgiving Travel

  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

For more information about safely celebrating Thanksgiving log on to

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

COVID-19 Testing in Chatham County Transitions to Appointments

The Chatham County Health Department is transitioning to an appointment-only process for COVID-19 testing beginning Monday, November 16, 2020. The testing criteria has not changed, and anyone can be tested for free. Appointments are easy to schedule through an online self-scheduling portal or through our COVID-19 testing hotline.

The change will help the Chatham County Health Department maximize internal resources during this long-term emergency response. “We need to position ourselves to sustain testing operations for many more months,” said Chris Rustin, Ph.D., Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department. “With appointments, we can reduce the number of staff members onsite for traffic flow and patient registration while still meeting the needs of our community.”

There will be more than 1,600 available appointments each week in Chatham County, which exceeds the current weekly average of 1,350 tests. The testing schedule has not changed.

Appointments can be made online at or by calling the Coastal Health District COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 912-230-9744. The Call Center is operational Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For a list of all the free COVID-19 testing options through the Coastal Health District, visit our website at

Changes to COVID-19 Testing Schedule

The Coastal Health District is adjusting the COVID-19 testing schedule in Bryan, Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties as demand increases for other public health services, including flu vaccinations.

“We’ve seen a decline in COVID-19 testing numbers in our district, and the same is true statewide,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “Even with a reduced schedule, we can meet the current demand. And if testing demand increases in the future, we’ll adjust accordingly.”

Beginning October 12, the following counties will offer this revised schedule for COVID-19 testing by appointment:

  • Bryan County: Tuesdays in Richmond Hill; Fridays in Pembroke from 8 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Camden County: Tuesdays 8 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Effingham County: Fridays 8 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Liberty County: Wednesdays 8 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Long County: Tuesdays 8 a.m. – 12 noon
  • McIntosh County: Tuesdays 8 a.m. – 12 noon

You have two options for scheduling an appointment for free COVID-19 testing through public health. To schedule an appointment online, go to, or to schedule by phone call our COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 912-230-9744. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon.

Click here for more details about testing locations, and for a list of free COVID-19 testing options in other counties of the Coastal Health District.

Chatham Co. Health Dept. to Offer COVID-19 Testing at Additional Locations by Appointment; New Hours at Civic Center Testing Site

Changes are coming to the Chatham County Health Department’s COVID-19 testing program next week. The specimen collection site at the Savannah Civic Center will have new operational hours beginning Monday, October 5th. Every Wednesday, the Civic Center site will close, and testing will instead be offered at varying locations by appointment.

“Each Wednesday, we’ll target a specific area of Chatham County where case numbers are highest, or where more of our at-risk residents live,” said Tammi Brown, Nurse Manager of the Chatham County Health Department. “We want to be sure the people who need testing the most will have easy access to this service.”

On Wednesday, October 7th, free testing will be offered from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Midtown Clinic of the Chatham County Health Department at 1602 Drayton St. Due to space limitations, appointments will be REQUIRED for testing on Wednesdays. Please arrive no more than 5 minutes early for your scheduled appointment. You have 2 options for appointment scheduling:

  • Schedule Online: You cannot schedule a test more than two weeks in advance.
  • Schedule by Phone: Call the COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 1-912-230-9744 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.         

The new operational hours for the Civic Center specimen collection site are listed below. For more information about testing in Chatham County, visit For more information about testing in other areas of the Coastal Health District, please visit gachd.og/covidtest/.

COVID-19 Testing at the Savannah Civic Center

No appointment is needed for testing at the Savannah Civic Center at 301 West Oglethorpe Ave.

  • Monday: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Closed. Staff conducts testing at varying community locations by appointment
  • Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Every 1st and 3rd Saturday from 8:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday schedule for October: 10/3 and 10/17

Walk-up testing begins at 8:30 a.m. for the first 100 people in line. The walk-up line forms on the Montgomery Street side of the Civic Center – please do not line up earlier than 8 a.m. Face coverings must be worn, and individuals must keep 6 feet from others in line.

Drive-through testing begins when walk-up testing is complete.

Revised Schedule for COVID-19 Testing at Glynn County Health Department

Beginning Monday, October 5th, the Glynn County Health Department’s COVID-19 testing hours will change.

The new schedule for testing will be:

  • Mondays – Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Thursdays from 12-6 p.m.
  • Fridays from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Every 2nd and 4th Saturday from 8-11 a.m.

All testing is by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled online at or by phone at 1-912-230-9744.

“We’ve refined and streamlined our specimen collection process over the past several months, and we can move people quickly through the testing site,” said Adam Sanchez, Nurse Manager of the Glynn County Health Department. “Reducing our testing site hours will allow staff to focus on other health department services while still meeting the demand for COVID-19 testing. Even with this new schedule, we can accommodate more than 2,000 appointments for testing each week.”

Anyone can be tested, and there is no fee. If you believe you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please remember to quarantine at home for 14 days, and schedule an appointment for testing around the 10th day. Testing cannot be scheduled more than 2 weeks in advance.

For a list of free COVID-19 testing options through the Coastal Health District, visit our COVID-19 testing page.

Bryan Co. Health Dept. Expands COVID-19 Testing Schedule in Richmond Hill

COVID-19 testing at the Bryan County Health Department’s Richmond Hill location will now be available each Tuesday and Thursday between 8-11 a.m. by appointment.

Previously, testing at the Richmond Hill location was only available on Tuesdays. Now residents will have two opportunities each week for free testing in Richmond Hill.

The drive-through site is located at Henderson Park, 500 Veterans Memorial Parkway, behind the County Administration Building off Highway 144. The Bryan County Health Department will continue to offer drive-up testing at the Health Department’s Pembroke location at 430 Ledford Street each Friday between 8-11 a.m. by appointment.

Testing appointments can be made online or over the phone. Click here to schedule an appointment online. To schedule an appointment by phone, call 912-230-9744. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon.

Anyone can be tested, and there is no fee. If you believe you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please remember to quarantine at home for 14 days, and schedule an appointment for testing around the 10th day. Testing cannot be scheduled more than 2 weeks in advance.

For a list of free COVID-19 testing options through the Coastal Health District, visit our COVID-19 testing page.

COVID-19 Testing, Health Dept. Operational Schedule for Labor Day, Sept. 7

Health Department clinics, Environmental Health offices, and Coastal Health District offices will be closed on Monday, September 7th in observance of Labor Day.

The COVID-19 testing sites in Brunswick and Savannah will be operational on Labor Day with reduced hours.

Drive-through COVID-19 Testing in Brunswick is by appointment only, and will be available Monday, September 7 from 8-10:30 a.m. To make an appointment for testing, call 1-912-230-9744 and choose option #3, or click here to schedule an appointment online.

Drive-through COVID-19 Testing in Savannah is available without an appointment at the Civic Center at 301 West Oglethorpe Ave. The site will be operational Saturday, September 5 from 8:30-11:30 a.m., and Monday, September 7 from 8-10:30 a.m.

The Coastal Health District’s COVID-19 Testing Call Center will be operational with normal hours, Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., closed Sundays, and open Monday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The call center number is 1-912-230-9744.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 testing in the Coastal Health District.

Chlorine Dioxide Should NOT be used to Treat COVID-19

The Department of Public Health has received reports that people are using diluted chlorine dioxide to “treat” COVID-19.  Chlorine dioxide is a bleach-like cleaning agent and, if ingested, can have severe, adverse health effects, including death.

Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including treatment of COVID-19.

Products are being marketed online under various names: MSS, Miracle Mineral Solution, Master Mineral Solution, Water Purification Solution, CDS, Aqueous Chlorine Dioxide, and others.

Ingesting chlorine dioxide products are not meant to be swallowed by people, and can lead to:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms
  • Life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration
  • Acute liver failure
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea

The Georgia Poison Center advises that chlorine dioxide not be swallowed, and not be used outside of industrial settings where appropriate precautions against injury from this chemical can be used.

For more information or if you or someone you know has ingested chlorine dioxide, call the Georgia Poison Center Hotline: 1-800-222-1222

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Warning:

The FDA reminds consumers to be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to prevent, mitigate, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Fraudulent COVID-19 products may come in many varieties, including dietary supplements and other foods, as well as products purporting to be drugs, medical devices or vaccines. Products that claim to cure, mitigate, treat, diagnose or prevent disease, but are not proven safe and effective for those purposes, defraud consumers of money and can place consumers at risk for serious harm. Using these products may lead to delays in getting proper diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 and other potentially serious diseases and conditions.

DPH Provides Update on COVID-19 Trends in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is providing the following information regarding the fight against COVID-19 in Georgia:

Positive Indicators

COVID-19 Cases

  • During 8/3-8/9, Georgia’s weekly statewide case numbers decreased by 7%.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that Georgia has experienced a 22% decrease in case numbers over the past two weeks relative to the two weeks prior to that, and that we have seen a downward trajectory of cases for two weeks now.
  • The highest % of case numbers still come from the high population counties in metro Atlanta (Fulton, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Cobb have the highest case numbers) but these counties are actually experiencing decreases now.


  • As of Aug. 13, the state reported over 1.9 million COVID-19 tests.
  • Eight of the last nine days reporting more than 25,000 tests per day.
  • Average of nearly 31,000 per day over the last nine days.
  • DPH is operating 180 SPOCs, including mobile and pop-up locations statewide.
  • The number of specimens collected at DPH SPOCs has now passed 750,000.

Positivity Rate

Positivity rates are decreasing from 11.86% on 7/27 to 10.98% on 8/3 to 9.5% on 8/9/20.


Daily hospitalizations have decreased 6.62% in the past seven days.

  • 8/06: 3,006
  • 8/07: 2,981
  • 8/08: 2,878
  • 8/09: 2,878
  • 8/10: 2,871
  • 8/11: 2,881
  • 8/12: 2,865
  • 8/13: 2,807

Emergency Department Visits

  • Emergency Department (ED) visits related to COVID-19 are slightly decreasing and influenza- like illness (ILI) visits are slightly decreasing.

Areas of Concern

Emerging Hotspots

  • We are seeing decreases in many other areas, but we see growth and/or high transmission in rural middle GA (Bleckley, Appling, Wayne, Taylor, Crawford, etc.), NW GA (driven partially by many outbreaks in manufacturing facilities), east central GA and areas of south Georgia. These increases are driven by ongoing community transmission as well as outbreaks.

Increasing Outbreaks

  • Aug. 6-12: 110 outbreaks

These outbreaks are occurring in settings where people are physically congregating and underscore the need for distancing and source control.

  • Long-term care facilities 23
  • Schools/school athletic teams 14
  • Offices/workplaces 14
  • Manufacturing facilities 13
  • Prisons/jails 13
  • Churches 8
  • Restaurants 4

Outbreaks were also documented in hospitals/outpatient facilities, daycares and grocery stores.

For more state-level data, visit the DPH website:

For more Coastal Health District data, visit our COVID-19 data page: