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

Long News


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.

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.

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.

Beach Water Advisory Lifted for Tybee Island

Updated September 19, 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 September 17, 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.


September 17, 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.

Beach Advisory Updated for Jekyll & St. Simons

If you’re planning to swim or wade at the beach on St. Simons or Jekyll Islands, the Coastal Health District has some precautionary advice: check the water for any signs of oil, and use your best judgement before swimming.

The Coastal Health District issued a general swimming advisory Sunday, asking visitors to stay out of the water after a cargo ship capsized in the St. Simons Sound. Today, the swimming advisory has been modified, and swimmers are asked to be aware and use discretion. Although oil has not been seen on the ocean-facing beaches of St. Simons or Jekyll Islands, beach visitors are urged to visually check the water before deciding to swim. A similar advisory also applies to fish consumption.

  • If you see a sheen of oil on the water’s surface, don’t swim. Contact with oil could cause skin and eye irritation.
  • If there is no visible oil on the water, then swim or wade at your discretion. Stay alert for changing conditions.
  • If a fish smells or tastes like oil, or you can see oil on the fish, do not eat it.

Officials at the incident command center are working to plug the ship’s vent stacks to prevent any additional release of oil, and absorbent booms are soaking up most of the oil immediately around the vessel. Booms have also been placed at the entrance of nearby creeks to protect local oyster beds. Agencies will continue to monitor the beaches and marshes for signs of oil contamination.

Some of the agencies involved in monitoring any ongoing environmental impacts are the Coastal Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and private contractors. If you see oil on the beach, contact the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 to make a report.

Human Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Chatham County Resident

First lab-confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in the Coastal Health District in 2019

graphic of mosquito and words west nile virusAn adult living in Chatham County has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus (WNV), a potentially serious illness transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. This is the first human case in the 8-county Coastal Health District in 2019, and the 4th human case of WNV in Georgia this year.

Chatham County Mosquito Control first detected and reported WNV in a sample of local mosquitoes in July, and the virus quickly spread throughout the mosquito population across the county. Already, 2019 is the second most active year for WNV in Chatham County mosquitoes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of people who get WNV won’t have any symptoms. Those who do become sick typically develop a fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. However, about 1 in 150 will develop severe symptoms affecting the central nervous system, which could be fatal. Last year, there were 36 lab-confirmed cases of WNV in humans in Georgia, and 2 deaths.

graphic linking to insect repellent search toolThere is no vaccine to prevent WNV, and no treatment other than supportive care for the symptoms. That’s why the Coastal Health District is urging everyone to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes that carry WNV are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning. Wearing insect repellent containing the chemical DEET will help keep mosquitoes away. Eliminating standing water around the home and yard to keep mosquitoes from breeding.

Tip containers such as children’s toys, flowerpots, and planters after every rain or at least once a week and toss out anything that holds water, such as old tires or cans. Also clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves, and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes.

The Coastal Health District encourages everyone to follow the 5 Ds of mosquito bite prevention:

Dusk/Dawn

Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. If you can, avoid going outside at dusk and dawn to reduce your chance of being bitten.


Dress

Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin. If the mosquitoes can’t get to your skin, they can’t bite you.


DEET

Any skin that is exposed should be covered with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label regarding how to apply and how often to reapply.


Drain

Mosquitoes need standing water for breeding, so be sure to empty any containers holding stagnant water, such as buckets, barrels, flowerpots, and tarps. Be especially mindful after a rain, and toss any standing water to discourage mosquito breeding around your home.


Doors

Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly. If you have screens on your windows and doors, be sure to fix any rips or tears so mosquitoes can’t get through the screens and into your home.

Long Co. Health Dept. & Co. Extension Service Offer Free Cooking Class

The Long County Health Department and the Long County University of Georgia Extension Service is partnering to offer a free cooking course to residents who prepare meals for children (moms/dads; grandparents; teens; and foster parents). The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) cooking classes will take place at the health department from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on September 26 and October 3, 10, and 17.

EFNEP teaches recipes, cooking on a budget, and food safety tips. A cooking utensil or cooking-related item is given to attendees each week at the end of the class.

Children may be brought to class. For more information, please call the Long County Health Department at 912-545-2107 or the Long County Extension office at 912-545-9549.

Food Safety After a Power Outage

If your home lost power during recent storms, you may be concerned about the food in your refrigerator – and with good reason. Without electricity, perishable food in refrigerators and freezers may spoil, and eating spoiled food could make you sick.

When In Doubt, Throw It Out

graphic of an open refrigeratorOur post-storm safety mantra for refrigerated/frozen food is: when in doubt, throw it out. But you can also follow these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to determine if your food is safe to eat.

  • Throw out perishable food (such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 4 hours or more.

  • Thawed frozen food that still contains ice crystals can be refrozen or cooked. If not, throw it away.

Always remember: while the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. This will help prevent cold air from escaping.


This video has additional information and advice from the US Department of Agriculture:

All County Health Departments Resume Normal Operations Monday, Sept. 9

On Monday, September 9th, all health departments in all 8 counties of the Coastal Health District will be back to normal operational hours.

District and county offices and clinics were closed for several days because of Hurricane Dorian. As the storm approached the Georgia coast, all county operations were suspended because of mandatory evacuations and concerns about severe weather. After the storm, some counties remained closed as employees assisted with reentry for evacuees.

But beginning at 8 a.m. on September 9th, all county health departments, environmental health offices, CARE Centers, and district offices will be back open with normal hours.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the closures, and we thank you for your understanding.

Now Is the Time to Apply for the Coastal Health District Hurricane Registry

The Hurricane Registry is a crucial safety net for coastal residents with medical or functional needs who have no other way to evacuate before a storm


Hurricane evacuations save lives. But for coastal residents with certain medical concerns or physical challenges and no transportation, evacuation is nearly impossible.

That’s why the community needs to know about the Coastal Health District Hurricane Registry.

The Hurricane Registry is a list of people with specific healthcare conditions who would need help evacuating from the 8 Georgia counties nearest the coast. Those counties include Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh. The Hurricane Registry is managed by the local county health department in each of these counties.

“The Hurricane Registry is an important safety net for people with healthcare issues and no way to leave,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “If we know about your individual situation in advance, we can work with emergency managers to develop an evacuation plan for you.”

The registry is not intended for residents with transportation who can evacuate themselves, or residents with friends or family members who can take them to safety. Likewise, nursing home and assisted living residents should not apply, but should follow their facility’s evacuation plan.

Residents must apply to be on the Registry and can do so by calling toll-free, 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344) and following the phone prompts which will connect them directly with their county health department.

The application can also be downloaded using one of the following links: 

For more information on the Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs, visit our Hurricane Registry page.