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

News


Second Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Chatham County

A second Chatham County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently hospitalized, and the source of the exposure is unknown.

Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual. This is the fifth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Coastal Health District which includes Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties.

We understand that people want to be tested but the reality is that we do not yet have the capacity for widespread community testing or screening. Fortunately, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 60 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

In accordance with federal and state guidelines, we strongly encourage the continuation of social distancing. The less contact people have with one another means the less opportunity for the virus to spread. Slowing the spread of the virus means we can keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Chatham County

A Chatham County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently isolated at home, and the source of the exposure is unknown. Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual.

This is the fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Coastal Health District; there are 2 confirmed cases of Glynn County residents, 1 of an Effingham County resident, and now 1 in Chatham County. The Coastal Health District includes Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties.

We understand that people want to be tested but the reality is that we do not yet have the capacity for widespread community testing or screening. Fortunately, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 60 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions,
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

In accordance with federal and state guidelines, we strongly encourage the continuation of social distancing. The less contact people have with one another means the less opportunity for the virus to spread. Slowing the spread of the virus means we can keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

Coastal Health District Opens Second Specimen Collection Site

The Coastal Health District is opening a second specimen collection site this week to increase access to COVID-19 testing in our area. The first facility opened today in Glynn County, and this second location will open March 20th in Chatham County.

These collection sites are only for individuals who meet the criteria for priority testing and have a doctor referral. The drive-through facilities are by appointment only and are NOT open to the general public.

These specimen collection centers are part of a state-wide effort to increase testing for mildly ill people who do not require medical care or hospitalization, but who DO fall into one of the other prioritized groups.

The people who should be prioritized for testing at these remote specimen collection centers include:

  • Healthcare workers and other first responders who are critical for caring for our communities during this epidemic, and who frequently interact with vulnerable populations.
  • People working with and caring for vulnerable populations, such as long-term care facility staff.
  • People living in congregate settings where the disease can spread rapidly.

Because testing supplies and protective equipment is limited, current testing should be reserved for people whose laboratory diagnosis would have the biggest impact on healthcare infrastructure and the spread of disease. Only individuals who have been evaluated by a healthcare provider and assigned a Person Under Investigation (PUI) number will be referred to these drive-through sites.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Effingham County

An Effingham County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently hospitalized, and the source of exposure is unknown. Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual. This is the third resident of the Coastal Health District to test positive for COVID-19 .

We understand that people want to be tested but the reality is that we do not yet have the capacity for widespread community testing or screening. Fortunately, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 65 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions,
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

Please continue to remain vigilant and practice good health hygiene including washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water (if you don’t have soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol), staying home and away from others if you are sick, regularly cleaning common surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, computer keyboards, and light switches, and covering your cough with a tissue and throw the tissue away or cough into the crook of your elbow. For accurate information about COVID-19 in our area, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at dph.ga.gov, or the Coastal Health District at GaCHD.org.

Second Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Glynn County

A second person in Glynn County has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently recovering at home and self-isolating, and the source of exposure is unknown. Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual. The individual has no known contact to a confirmed case.

Although public demand for testing around the state is high, particularly when new cases are discovered, most people do not need to be tested. Also, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 65 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions,
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home,
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

In a joint statement released yesterday, Governor Brian P. Kemp, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) offered this perspective. “It is our responsibility to keep the elderly and chronically ill safe, back our law enforcement and first responders, and protect the doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers working around the clock.”

Coastal Health District Expands Access to COVID-19 Testing for High-Risk Individuals

Mobile Specimen Collection Site Begins Operation for Pre-Approved Individuals

The Coastal Health District, in partnership with the Southeast Georgia Health System, is operating a drive-through specimen collection site which will expand access to COVID-19 testing for pre-approved high-risk individuals. The Health System is providing personnel and planning support.

The specimen collection site is at an undisclosed location in Glynn County and is NOT open to the general public or the media.

Drive-through collection centers are being established in health districts around the state to collect specimens from mildly ill people who do not require medical care or hospitalization, but who DO fall into one of the other prioritized groups.

The people who should be prioritized for testing at these remote specimen collection centers include:

  • Healthcare workers and other first responders who are critical for caring for our communities during this epidemic, and who frequently interact with vulnerable populations.
  • People working with and caring for vulnerable populations, such as long-term care facility staff.
  • People living in congregate settings where the disease can spread rapidly.

Only individuals who have been evaluated by a healthcare provider and assigned a Person Under Investigation (PUI) number will be referred to these drive-through sites.

Laboratory testing is important, but not everyone with respiratory symptoms needs to be tested. Most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms can safely recover at home with self-isolation and symptomatic treatment. Diagnosis through laboratory testing does not change the care they would receive.

Because testing supplies and protective equipment is limited, current testing should be reserved for people whose laboratory diagnosis would have the biggest impact on healthcare infrastructure and the spread of disease.

Beach Advisory Lifted for St. Simons Island

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the advisory for North Beach at Goulds Inlet, which is from 15th Street to 10th Street on St. Simons Island.

The advisory was issued on March 17, 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 taken showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.

The testing is part of an ongoing water monitoring program through the Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division. Water samples are screened every week for bacteria found in humans and some wildlife. This testing program is not related to the capsized cargo carrier in St. Simons Sound.

For more information about beach water advisories, visit our Beach Water Testing Program page.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Glynn County

A person in Glynn County has tested positive for COVID-19, the first confirmed case in a resident of the Coastal Health District. The individual is currently isolated at home, and the source of the exposure is unknown.

“This is not the news we wanted to hear, but it is not unexpected,” says Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District which includes the Glynn County Health Department. “We have been preparing for this. Our hospitals and healthcare providers have been preparing for this.”

All Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

People who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to be tested. Additionally, most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms do not need testing and can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms. Because testing equipment and medical supplies are limited, testing must be prioritized for people at highest risk of severe illness,  or those most likely to spread the illness to other high-risk individuals, such as healthcare workers, emergency responders, or people living in a congregate setting like a nursing home. For accurate information about COVID-19 in our area, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at dph.ga.gov, or the Coastal Health District at GaCHD.org/COVID19.

COVID-19 Update from GA Dept. of Public Health

March 18, 2020

Prioritize COVID-19 Tests for Most Vulnerable, First Responders, Health Workers

ATLANTA – After conversations with hospital and healthcare facility officials, and as COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe and throughout communities in Georgia, Governor Brian P. Kemp, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) issued the following joint statement:

“Many Georgians are eager to be tested right now, but we need to be mindful of our resources. We have to be in this fight together.

“According to federal and state health officials, we must start prioritizing COVID-19 tests for our most vulnerable populations and the people responsible for their care and safety. This will conserve precious medical supplies – like masks, shoe covers and gowns – which are becoming increasingly difficult to find for healthcare facilities due to overuse, export bans and hoarding.

“Georgia’s elderly, those with chronic, underlying health conditions, those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home, and those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement need tests. The best way to serve the public is to protect the people who are protecting us in this battle.

“It is our responsibility to keep the elderly and chronically ill safe, back our law enforcement and first responders, and protect the doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers working around the clock. We ask everyone to continue to pray for our nation in the weeks ahead.”

According to federal and state health officials, people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to be tested. Additionally, most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms do not need to be tested. The majority of people with COVID-19 can safely recover at home with self-isolation and symptomatic treatment. Diagnosis through laboratory testing does not change the care that they would receive. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 and should always consult their healthcare provider if they are sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued revised guidance on COVID-19 recovery. The most important step in containing COVID-19 is that people who are sick with mild respiratory symptoms – fever and cough – should stay home and isolate themselves from others for at least seven days after their symptoms began or 72 hours after their fever has resolved and symptoms have improved. If you have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, you must self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

Correctly washing your hands and maintaining social distance by avoiding large gatherings and close contact with people who are sick are two of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the following guidance:

  • Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

DPH Announces Additional Deaths from COVID-19
Individuals Were Hospitalized in Albany

ATLANTA –  The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is confirming two additional deaths from COVID-19 in Georgia. The individuals, a 42-year-old woman and a 69-year-old-woman, both died in an Albany hospital. In addition to testing positive for COVID-19, each had existing medical conditions.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 and should always consult their healthcare provider if they are sick. Long-term care facilities, nursing homes and congregate living settings for older people must strictly follow COVID-19 prevention measures to stop rapid spread of the virus.

All Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the following guidance:

  • Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

 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.

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


Glynn County Beach Advisory Update

The Glynn County Health Department is lifting a previous beach advisory on Jekyll Island, and issuing a new beach advisory on St. Simons Island.

Jekyll Island Advisory Lifted:

  • The previous beach water advisory for the South Dunes Picnic Area Beach (Corsair Beach Park to South Water Tower) has been lifted. The advisory was issued on March 10, 2020. Water samples taken on March 16th showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, that advisory has been lifted.

St. Simons Island Advisory Issued

  • A beach water advisory has been issued for North Beach at Goulds Inlet (Fifteenth Street to Tenth Street).

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, 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 Jekyll and St. Simons Islands throughout the year. The samples 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 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.

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