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

Liberty News


Georgia DPH Distributes Remdesivir to Hospitals for Treatment of COVID-19

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health(DPH) today is distributing an initial allotment of the drug remdesivir received from the federal government. Georgia received 30 cases, with 40 vials of the drug per case, enough to treat about 110 patients, depending on the duration of an individual’s treatment.

Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine being used to treat hospitalized patients with serious symptoms caused by COVID-19 like low oxygen levels or pneumonia. It has been found to shorten the duration of disease in patients being treated in inpatient hospital settings. Remdesivir is given intravenously (IV) and decreases the amount of coronavirus in the body, helping patients recover faster.

The distribution plan for remdesivir in Georgia was developed by DPH leadership, including district health directors and emergency preparedness staff, in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for its use. It is based on the number of patients on ventilators, the most severely ill, and clinical best practices.

Georgia hospitals receiving remdesivir reported 10 or more COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators, in addition to patients currently being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a machine that takes over the work of the heart and lungs. These criteria are subject to change based on the availability of remdesivir and the development of patient care at hospital facilities across the state.

The following hospitals are receiving remdesivir; Tift Regional Medical Center, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Grady Health System, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, and Augusta University Medical Center.

“DPH is pleased to have the opportunity to share this promising treatment with hospitals on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. “While this drug is not a cure for COVID-19, getting it into the hospitals and improving patient outcomes is moving in the right direction.”

Georgia has received a second, much larger allotment of remdesivir. DPH is surveying hospitals statewide over the weekend to determine need. This second allotment will be distributed next week.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. committed to supplying approximately 607,000 vials of the experimental drug over the next six weeks to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under an emergency use agreement (EUA). The donation to the United States is part of 1.5 million vials of remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.

Remdesivir has not been approved by the FDA for widespread use because it is considered investigational and it is still being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed for use against Ebola. Clinical trials for remdesivir were done in Georgia at Emory University Hospital.

UPDATE 5.21.20
Second Allotment of Remdesivir Headed to Hospitals for Treatment of COVID-19

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health(DPH) is distributing a second allotment of the drug remdesivir received from the federal government. Twenty-nine hospitals in Georgia will receive remdesivir, enough to treat more than 300 patients, depending on the duration of an individual’s illness and treatment needs.

Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine being used to treat hospitalized patients with serious symptoms caused by COVID-19 like low oxygen levels or pneumonia. It has been found to shorten the duration of disease in patients being treated in inpatient hospital settings. Remdesivir is given intravenously (IV) and decreases the amount of coronavirus in the body, helping patients recover faster.

3,440 vials of remdesivir, able to treat approximately 310 patients, will be distributed to 29 hospitals affiliated with the following healthcare systems: Navicent, Northside, Piedmont and WellStar.

Georgia hospitals receiving remdesivir reported 10 or more COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators, in addition to patients currently being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a machine that takes over the work of the heart and lungs. These criteria are subject to change based on the availability of remdesivir and the development of patient care at hospital facilities across the state.

A third allotment of remdesivir in powder form is expected to arrive in Georgia by Friday. The liquid form of remdesivir is not recommended for pediatric use, but the powder form can be mixed for dosing based on a child’s weight, which will provide treatment for the youngest patients with COVID-19 infection.

Gilead Sciences, Inc., the maker of remdesivir, is donating approximately 607,000 vials of the experimental drug to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under an emergency use agreement (EUA). The donation to the United States is part of 1.5 million vials of remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.

Remdesivir has not been approved by the FDA for widespread use because it is considered investigational and it is still being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed for use against Ebola. Clinical trials for remdesivir were done in Georgia at Emory University Hospital.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Georgia Department of Public Health Adds Staff, Expands Contact Tracing for COVID-19

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is increasing its workforce to expand contact tracing for COVID-19 in Georgia. Contact tracing is used to identify and mitigate hotspots of infection to help prevent further spread of the virus.

Currently, about 250 contact tracers are deployed throughout the state. To date, more than 3,800 individuals testing positive for COVID-19 have been contacted and nearly 13,000 contacts identified.

In partnership with the CDC Foundation, a deployment coordinator and a training and learning coordinator have joined DPH’s COVID-19 response team. Together these individuals will oversee the training and deployment of hundreds of contact tracers being hired by the Department. They will work closely with the 18 public health districts to ensure operational issues and staffing needs are addressed, and that performance metrics established by DPH and district leadership are met.

DPH’s goal is to have over 1,000 contact tracers within weeks to strengthen its contact tracing efforts. Training is underway for 200 new contact tracers and 70 medical students and M.P.H. candidates who joined DPH in the past two weeks.

Along with the additional contact tracers, DPH is introducing a new online monitoring tool developed by Google/MTX to make contact tracing more efficient. Once a COVID-19 case is identified, public health staff work with that individual to help them recall everyone they have had close contact with and where they went while they may have been infectious. Contacts identified during this interview will be called by trained DPH staff indicating that they have been exposed to COVID-19 and asking them to enroll in DPH symptom monitoring and informing them that they must self-quarantine for 14 days after the exposure.

The web-based portal allows identified contacts to easily answer questions about their health and their symptoms related to COVID-19. If the contact reports symptoms, the system will prompt the individual to call 911 if they are in a medical emergency or to consult with their healthcare provider if they are sick and need medical care. Individuals with mild symptoms who do not need medical care will then be provided information on how to schedule COVID-19 testing.

Contacts will receive a daily text message for 14 days reminding them to report if they have symptoms through the monitoring tool, and they will also receive information about what to do if they are or become sick. Individuals who do not report daily will be contacted by DPH. For people who do not wish to use the online system or receive texts, they can call DPH directly to report their symptoms.

Confidentiality is critical to the success of contact tracing. Contact tracing in Georgia is 100% confidential – the identity of the person who tests positive and the information on those who might have been exposed will not be shared. Georgia’s contact tracing does not use GPS or Bluetooth technology to track movements. The monitoring tool does not collect any data other than what is entered by the contact.

COVID-19 Testing Now Available to all Georgians

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has reached its goal of testing 100,000 individuals in 10 days. More than 108,000 tests were processed since Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, set the DPH goal last week.

“This is an important benchmark for Georgia as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” said Toomey. “Increased testing is critical to understanding where there are hotspots of infection and how best to mitigate them.”

Effective immediately, testing is available to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not. There are more than 65 specimen point of collection sites (SPOC) throughout the state, with an additional 30 mobile SPOCs – locations and hours vary daily.

Individuals wanting to be tested can contact any Georgia public health department to schedule an appointment at a SPOC location convenient to them. For phone numbers and more testing information, visit our COVID-19 Testing Page.

More Dates Scheduled for Free COVID-19 Testing in Coastal Georgia

The Coastal Health District has scheduled additional COVID-19 testing events in several locations throughout the district. The schedule is posted after the photo below, and is subject to change based on the supply of testing kits.

The first “pop-up” testing events were held May 5th in Camden and McIntosh Counties. Each event lasted three hours, and nearly 300 specimens were collected between the two sites.

COVID-19 testing through the Coastal Health District is free and anyone who wants a test can be tested, even if they have no symptoms. No appointment is needed for these mobile testing sites.

Call the Coastal Health District’s COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 1-912-230-9744 with questions. The center takes calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The existing specimen collection sites in Savannah, Richmond Hill, and Brunswick will continue to serve clients from all areas by appointment only. Click here for more information about the Coastal Health District COVID-19 Testing Program.

photo of cars lined up at the testing site in Woodbine
Mobile testing site in Camden County on May 5, 2020

Upcoming Mobile Testing Site Events

Note: Schedule is subject to change based on the supply of testing kits.

Check here for upcoming Testing Site Events.

Gov. Kemp, Dr. Toomey Urge Georgians to Wear Face Coverings to Fight COVID-19

Atlanta – Governor Brian P. Kemp, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urge all Georgians to continue to follow safe daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to COVID-19 and keep the virus from spreading. Wear a face covering in public settings, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.

A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting where social distancing may be difficult such as in the grocery store or picking up food at a restaurant or riding public transportation, and especially in areas of widespread community transmission of COVID-19. Cloth face coverings help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may be infected and not know it from transmitting it to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has easy to follow instructions on how to make a low-cost cloth face covering.

Cloth face coverings should allow for breathing without restriction, cover the nose and mouth and be laundered and machine dried after use.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under the age of 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The use of cloth face coverings does not take the place of social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) when soap and water are not readily available. Practice good health hygiene covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Coastal Health District Expands COVID-19 Testing Hours

The Coastal Health District is expanding its COVID-19 testing program, now offering appointments on Sunday afternoons at its drive-through specimen collection sites in Savannah and Brunswick. Appointments are available 7 days a week.

You do need an appointment for testing, but the process is simple – just call the Coastal Health District COVID-19 Testing Call Center for a brief telephone screening. If you meet the criteria, you’ll be referred for a test, and can often get an appointment the same day.

The Testing Call Center number is 1-912-230-9744, and the center takes calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The criteria for COVID-19 testing was recently broadened, and now most people will qualify for a free test through the health department. Anyone with symptoms can be tested, and symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Many people without symptoms can also be tested based on where they live or work.

To adequately staff the specimen collection site in Savannah, the Health Department will shift most clinical services from two locations in Chatham County to one. The midtown clinic at 1602 Drayton Street will temporarily discontinue general clinic services and immunizations, and those appointments will be shifted to the clinic at 1395 Eisenhower Drive. The clinic on Eisenhower Drive is located on an established bus route with Chatham Area Transit for individuals without transportation.

All Health Department services are currently by appointment only. If you need an appointment for something other than COVID-19 testing call your local county health department. Click here to access contact information for all counties.

Coastal Health District Brings Free COVID-19 Testing to More Counties

The Coastal Health District will offer free COVID-19 testing closer to home for residents in some rural areas of coastal Georgia. A mobile specimen collection center will visit the following locations for one-day testing opportunities:

  • Tuesday, May 5, 8:30-11:30 am. at Cornelia Jackson Memorial Park, 201 15th Street in Woodbine
  • Tuesday, May 5, 1-4 p.m. at the McIntosh County Health Dept. at 1335 Hwy 57 in Townsend
  • Thursday, May 7, 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Shuman Gym Parking Lot at James Brown Park, 800 Tupelo Trail in Hinesville
  • Thursday, May 7, 1-4 p.m. in the Smiley Elementary School parking lot, 1530 Georgia Hwy 57 in Ludowici
  • Friday, May 8, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Effingham County Public Library parking lot at 810 Georgia Hwy 119 in Springfield

COVID-19 testing through the Coastal Health District is free and most people will qualify for a test. It takes about 5 minutes to swab your nose for the test, and results are available in a few days. No appointment is needed for these mobile testing sites.

Call the Coastal Health District’s COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 1-912-230-9744 with questions. The center takes calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The existing specimen collection sites in Savannah and Brunswick will continue to serve clients from all areas by appointment only. Click here for more information about testing for COVID-19 through the Coastal Health District.

Free COVID-19 Testing Available in the Coastal Health District

Wondering if your sore throat or headache are allergy-related or something more? Or are you a critical workforce employee, concerned you could be infected but have no symptoms? You can get tested for COVID-19 by the Coastal Health District for free. It takes about 5 minutes to swab your nose for the test, and in a few days, you’ll have your answer.

The capacity for COVID-19 testing in Georgia has greatly increased in recent days. Test kits are more plentiful, and laboratories can process more tests.

Anyone with symptoms qualifies for a test, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently expanded the list of common COVID-19 symptoms. Now in addition to fever, cough, and shortness of breath, other common symptoms include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

If you have any of these symptoms, call the Coastal Health District’s COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 1-912-230-9744 to schedule a free appointment for testing. The center takes calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

You must have an appointment for testing at one of the public health drive-through testing sites. Appointments are available every weekday and on Saturday mornings.

As of April 25, 2020, the Coastal Health District had collected nearly 1,100 specimens for testing.

COVID-19 Deaths in Residents of Glynn & Camden Counties

The Coastal Health District has confirmed that a resident of Glynn County and a resident of Camden County have died from complications of COVID-19. These are the first COVID-19 related deaths in both counties.

The Glynn County resident was a 76-year-old male. It is not currently known if he had underlying medical conditions.

The Camden County resident was a 45-year-old male with underlying medical conditions.

Statewide, more than 840 people have died from COVID-19 and more than 21,000 people have tested positive for the illness. There is community-wide transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 across the state.

Georgians of all ages should practice social distancing as much as possible. Avoid unnecessary contact with people outside your household, wash your hands often, and isolate yourself from others if you become sick.

For more information about COVID-19 in our area, visit covid19.gachd.org.

New Call Center Established for COVID-19 Testing in the Coastal Health District

The Coastal Health District has established a new call center at 1-912-230-9744 to screen individuals for COVID-19 testing. The center will take calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. This is part of a statewide expansion of COVID-19 testing by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The following people can request testing through the COVID-19 Call Center:

  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • These individuals without symptoms – healthcare workers, emergency responders, critical infrastructure workers, and people living or working in group settings like long-term care facilities.

If you meet the criteria for testing, you will be given an appointment for one of our drive-through specimen collection sites. All screening must be done over the phone – do not visit a health department clinic in person for screening. There is no cost for the test.

If you want to be tested for COVID-19 through the health department, start the process by calling 1-912-230-9744 if you live in one of the 8 counties of the Coastal Health District – Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties. Visit our website at covid19.gachd.org for a list of call centers in other Georgia counties.

Doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, and hospitals will also continue to provide testing for COVID-19 and may continue to refer patients to public health for specimen collection.

Nuevo Centro de Llamadas Establecido para la Prueba COVID-19
en el Distrito Costero de Salud

El Distrito de Salud Costero ha establecido un nuevo centro de llamadas en 1-912-230-9744 para evaluar a las personas para la prueba COVID-19. El centro se atenderán llamadas de Lunes a Viernes de 8 a.m. a 7 p.m. y los Sábados de 8:30 a.m. a 5 p.m. Esto es parte de una expansión estatal de las pruebas COVID-19 por parte del Departamento de Salud Pública de Georgia.

Las siguientes personas pueden solicitar pruebas a través de su departamento de salud local:

  • Cualquier persona con síntomas de COVID-19, que incluyen fiebre, tos y dificultad para respirar
  • Estas personas sin síntomas: trabajadores de la salud, personal de respuesta a emergencias, trabajadores de infraestructura crítica y personas que viven o trabajan en entornos grupales como centros de atención a largo plazo.

Si cumple con los criterios para la prueba, se le dará una cita para uno de nuestros sitios donde se conduce la recolección de muestras. Todas las pruebas previas de detección deben realizarse por teléfono   ̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶ por favor no visite las clínicas del departamento de salud en persona para hacerse una prueba. No hay costo para la prueba.

Si desea hacerse la prueba de COVID-19 a través del departamento de salud, comience el proceso llamando al 1-912-230-9744 si vive en uno de los ocho  condados del Distrito de Salud Costero: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Condados de Glynn, Liberty, Long y McIntosh. Visite nuestro sitio web en covid19.gachd.org para obtener una lista de los centros de llamadas en otros condados de Georgia.

Los consultorios médicos, los centros de atención urgente y los hospitales también continuarán brindando pruebas para COVID-19 y pueden continuar referiendo a sus pacientes a la Salud Pública para la recolección de muestras.