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

Effingham News


Drive-Through HIV Testing Events Scheduled

To raise awareness about the importance of HIV Testing and knowing your HIV status, the Coastal Health District will hold free drive-thru HIV testing events from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 15th, in the parking lot of Diversity Health Center in Hinesville and on Saturday, August 22nd in the parking lot of Brunswick High School in Brunswick. Testing is free and confidential and no appointment is necessary.

Testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life and reducing the spread of HIV. Results will be available in one minute. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals.

Those getting tested will receive free giveaways, including gift cards. Staff will also be available to discuss HIV prevention options such as PrEP, the daily pill to prevent HIV.

Around 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one in eight people do not know they have it.  This 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 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. Anyone with questions about testing can call Diane DeVore at (912) 644-5828 or e-mail Diane.Devore@dph.ga.gov.

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.

McIntosh County
Thursday, August 13th, and Monday, August 17th
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 912-832-5473.

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.

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.

Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Long, & McIntosh Counties Join Glynn Co. in Offering Online Scheduling for COVID-19 Tests

Online scheduling for COVID-19 testing is now available in 6 counties of the Coastal Health District. You can schedule an appointment using an online self-service portal for testing in Camden, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties.

Click here for information and a link to the self-service portal.

You still have the option to schedule an appointment by phone through the Coastal Health District’s COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 1-912-230-9744. The Call Center can also be used for scheduling appointments in Bryan County, for information about testing in Chatham County, or for test results.

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

COVID-19 Testing Schedule Expanded

The Health Departments in Bryan, Camden, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties have expanded their testing schedules to offer more COVID-19 testing appointments each week.

The Glynn County Health Department will now offer testing by appointment Monday through Friday and alternating Saturdays. The Health Departments in Bryan, Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh are expanding from one day of testing per week to two days each week.

COVID-19 testing in Richmond Hill is still available 7 days per week. Testing by the Chatham County Health Department is available Monday through Friday and alternating Saturdays.

For a full schedule and more details, visit our COVID-19 Testing 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

Independence Day Schedule for Public Health Offices

Health Department clinics, Environmental Health offices, and Coastal Health District offices will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 2nd and remain closed Friday, July 3rd in observance of Independence Day. Clinics and offices will resume normal operations on Monday, July 6th. There will be no COVID-19 testing events operated by the Coastal Health District July 3-5.

Saharan Dust Cloud Moves Over Georgia; DPH Urges Precautions to Protect Health

The Georgia Department of Public Health is urging people, especially individuals with chronic lung conditions, to protect themselves from dust from the Saharan dust cloud as it moves over Georgia. The dust cloud is expected to be around for the next few days.

The dust can cause eye, nose and throat irritation for anyone who comes in contact with it, and may cause wheezing in people with allergies or asthma.

The best advice is to limit exposure to the dust and take precautions to protect your health:

  • If it appears hazy or dusty outside, limit outdoor activities such as yard work, exercise, children playing.
  • Wear a face mask outside to keep dust particles out of the nose and mouth, and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports and news coverage related to the dust plume.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed.

Follow the advice of your doctor or other health care provider about medicines and condition management if you have asthma or another lung condition.

If you experience a medical emergency, call 911.

Strong, warm winds over the Sahara desert typically kick up sand at this time of year and carry it thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. This year, the dust is more dense than it’s been in 50-60 years.

Georgia DPH Asks Residents to ‘Answer the Call’ in New Contact Tracing Video

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is releasing a new video explaining the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing efforts, asking residents to ‘answer the call’ if DPH reaches out.

This video is part of a larger campaign rolling out across the state promoting the Healthy Georgia Collaborative, DPH’s expanded contact tracing program to combat the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing is an important public health tool used to monitor the spread of infection and identify outbreaks of COVID-19 before they become widespread community transmission.

Since May, the Healthy Georgia Collaborative has deployed about 1,300 contact tracers and case investigators statewide to interview individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, and then alert, quarantine and test contacts who may have been exposed. To date, 16,590 cases have been interviewed and 40,082 contacts identified.

“For contact tracing to be successful, education is critical,” said DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H. “We need residents to understand what contact tracing is, why it’s important, and how they can participate in helping Georgia stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Beyond explaining the contact tracing process, DPH’s new video also urges residents to “Answer the Call!” When contacts of COVID-19 cases are identified, the first and fastest way that DPH can notify them of their exposure is by calling. “If you don’t pick up the phone,” explains Dr. Toomey, “Then we can’t alert you and get you the support you need. This puts yourself and others at risk of getting sick.”

To encourage participation and reduce scams, when DPH calls, the caller ID will say, “GA COVID Team.” Contact tracers will provide resources and information on testing, symptom monitoring and protection for family members. Any information provided to DPH staff members is kept confidential per HIPAA, which is the law that protects an individual’s personal health information. Georgia’s contact tracing program does not use GPS or Bluetooth technology to track movements of residents.

Contact tracers will never ask for personal information like Social Security numbers, credit card information or citizenship status. If you suspect fraudulent activity or know of someone else who has experienced this, please contact the DPH COVID-19 hotline immediately to report: 1-844-442-2681.

For more information about COVID-19 visit covid19.gachd.org, or the GDPH site at https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus.