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

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Free Flu Shots Offered on December 8th in Liberty County

Getting vaccinated against the flu this year is more important than ever. To make it as convenient as possible for residents to get the flu vaccine, the Liberty County Health Department will offer free flu shots at a drive-through flu vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8th, at the James Brown Park located at 800 Tupelo Trail in Hinesville. No appointment is necessary.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age. Vaccination is particularly important for those at high risk of complications from flu, including adults 65 and older, children younger than five, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes. It takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot for the vaccine to provide the body protection against the flu.

­­­­“I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a flu shot this year,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, District Health Director for the Coastal Health District. “Getting the flu vaccine and good public health hygiene practices are the best tools we have to stop influenza.”

The same everyday preventive actions that are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19  are also recommended for preventing the flu: Stay home and away from others when you’re sick, cover coughs and sneezes, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wear a mask when out in public.

Flu vaccinations are also available at the health department by appointment during regular operating hours, Monday through Friday. Call 912-876-2173 to schedule an appointment.

To get more information on the flu or to download the vaccine consent form ahead of time, please visit gachd.org/flu.

Beach Advisory Lifted on Jekyll Island

Update: November 25, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the advisory for North Beach at Dexter Lane, which is from Tallu Fish Lane to Brice Lane on Jekyll Island.

The advisory was issued on November 24, 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.


November 24, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for North Beach at Dexter Lane, which is from Tallu Fish Lane to Brice Lane on Jekyll Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

The Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Resources Division tests water samples on Glynn County beaches throughout the year. The tests screen for enterococcus (pronounced: en·ter·o·coc·cus) bacteria, which are found in humans and some wildlife. The testing program is not related to the capsized motor vehicle carrier in St. Simons Sound.

When a beach is under advisory, it means the level of bacteria found in the water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended standards. This does NOT mean the beach is closed.

The beach water advisory alerts the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory area. 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 this week, and the advisory will be lifted when the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards. For more information, visit our Beach Water Testing page.

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 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

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

Free, Confidential HIV Testing and Giveaway Events Scheduled

Free, confidential HIV testing events have been scheduled in observance of World AIDS Day. There will be giveaways at all events, while supplies last.

Upcoming Events

Free HIV Testing & Turkey Giveaway
Thursday, November 19
1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Chatham County Health Department
1395 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah

Get tested and get a free frozen turkey, face mask, and hand sanitizer while supplies last. (One turkey per household. Must be 16 years of age or older to get tested).

Free HIV Testing & Gift Card Giveaway
Chatham County Health Department
1602 Drayton Street, Savannah
Monday, November 30
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Free testing and giveaways including gift cards, swag bags, and self-protection kits while supplies last.

Free HIV Testing & Gift Card Giveaway
Glynn County Health Department
Tuesday, December 1
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
2747 Fourth Street, Brunswick
Free testing and giveaways including gift cards, swag bags, and self-protection kits while supplies last.

Launched in 1988, World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1. The Coastal Health District, along with organizations all over the world, holds events on and around that day to promote awareness of HIV, decrease stigma surrounding HIV, and advocate for an end to the HIV epidemic. As a reminder, HIV testing is always free 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.

Masks required and social distancing observed at all events.

Beach Advisory Lifted on St. Simons Island

Update: November 13, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the advisory for Massengale Park Beach, which is from Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street on St. Simons Island.

The advisory was issued on November 10th, 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.


November 10, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Massengale Park Beach, which is from Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street on St. Simons Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

The Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Resources Division tests water samples on Glynn County beaches throughout the year. The tests screen for enterococcus (pronounced: en·ter·o·coc·cus) bacteria, which are found in humans and some wildlife. The testing program is not related to the capsized motor vehicle carrier in St. Simons Sound.

When a beach is under advisory, it means the level of bacteria found in the water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended standards. This does NOT mean the beach is closed.

The beach water advisory alerts the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory area. 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 this week, and the advisory will be lifted when the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards. For more information, visit our Beach Water Testing page.

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 covid19.dph.ga.gov 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 covid19.gachd.org.

Free Flu Shots Offered at November Drive-Through Flu Vaccination Clinics

Health departments in the Coastal Health District will offer free flu shots at drive-through vaccination clinics in November. The following clinics have been scheduled:

Long County
Wednesday, November 4th
8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Long County Health Department, 584 N. Macon Street in Ludowici

Camden County
Saturday, November 7th
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. o
Georgia Power, 135 Gross Road in Kingsland

Glynn County
Saturday, November 7th
8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Glynn County Health Department, 2747 4th Street in Brunswick

Chatham County
Thursday, November 12th
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Savannah Civic Center (enter from Barnard St. at Orleans Square)

Effingham County
Thursday, November 12th
2 – 5 p.m.
Effingham County Annex, 768 Hwy. 119 South in Springfield

McIntosh County
Thursday, November 12th
2-6 p.m.
McIntosh County Health Department
1335 GA Hwy. 57 in Townsend

No appointment is necessary at the drive-through vaccination clinics. Flu vaccinations are also available at health departments by appointment during regular operating hours, Monday through Friday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza caused at least 410,000 hospitalizations last year. Getting vaccinated helps lower the chances of severe illness and hospitalizations.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a flu shot this year,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, District Health Director for the Coastal Health District. “Getting the flu vaccine and good public health hygiene practices are the best tools we have to stop influenza.”The same everyday preventive actions that are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19  are also recommended for preventing the flu: Stay home and away from others when you’re sick, cover coughs and sneezes, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wear a mask when out in public.

To get more information on the flu or to download the vaccine consent form ahead of time, please visit gachd.org/flu.

Public Health Precautions Encouraged on Halloween

Halloween is full of longstanding traditions like trick-or-treating and haunted houses, but some of those customs can put you at higher risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. Communities are encouraged to think outside of the box when considering Halloween activities this year.

“There are plenty of alternatives that will allow children and adults to enjoy the holiday safely,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, District Health Director for the Coastal Health District. “The key is to plan ahead and come up with ways to celebrate that will lessen the risk of getting COVID-19.”

Some ideas for lower-risk Halloween activities include:

  • Plan a movie night and connect with friends online while watching the movie “together.”
  • Have a socially distanced costume parade down your street or in your neighborhood.
  • Have a Halloween party for those living in your household.
  • Coordinate an outdoor, socially distanced Halloween scavenger hunt.

    If you make the decision participate in trick-or-treating, consider the following:
  • Put individually wrapped goody bags on a table in the front yard so children can grab and go.
  • Use duct tape to mark spaces 6 feet apart leading to the table.
  • Place a bottle of hand sanitizer on the table.
  • Make sure to wash hands before and after handling treats.

Large in-person group gatherings are discouraged. Also, typical costume masks should not be substituted for cloth facemasks that are recommended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Consider making a Halloween-themed cloth mask part of the costume.

If you or anyone in your household has tested positive, has symptoms, is waiting for test results, may have been exposed within the past 14 days, or is at high risk for complications from COVID-19, do not take part in any in-person festivities.

Additional information can be found at cdc.gov.

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Free Flu Shots Offered at Long Co. Nov. 4th Drive-Through Flu Vaccination Clinic

Getting vaccinated against the flu this year is more important than ever. To make it as convenient as possible for residents to get the flu vaccine, the Long County Health Department will offer free flu shots at a drive-through flu vaccination clinic from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4th. The flu clinic will take place at the health department located at 584 N. Macon Street in Ludowici. No appointment is necessary.

Flu vaccinations are also available at the health department by appointment during regular operating hours. Call 912-545-2107 to schedule an appointment. Everyone entering the health department over age 2 will be screened for COVID-19 and must wear a face mask.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age. Vaccination is particularly important for those at high risk of complications from flu, including adults 65 and older, children younger than five, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes. It takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot for the vaccine to provide the body protection against the flu.

 “Getting the flu vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu and that, in turn, helps protect all of us,” said Health Director for the Coastal Health District, Lawton Davis, M.D. Everyday preventive actions to prevent flu spread are also recommended, like staying home if you’re sick, sneezing and coughing into your elbow, washing hands frequently, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

To get more information on the flu or to download the vaccine consent form ahead of time, please visit gachd.org/flu.

Chatham County Health Dept. Offers Free Lead Screening Through Oct. 30

Are you concerned your child may have been exposed to lead? Lead exposure is dangerous during early childhood development, but fortunately it’s easy to detect. A simple blood test can reveal elevated lead levels, and your child can be tested for free in Chatham County through October 30th.

Next week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which is a nationwide effort to raise awareness of this preventable but dangerous environmental threat. Last year in Chatham County, more than 3,600 children under age six were tested for lead in the blood, and 86 of them had blood lead levels that were too high.

Even low levels of lead in blood can affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The effects of lead exposure cannot be reversed if damage has occurred, so it’s very important to detect elevated blood lead levels early so you can stop further exposure.

“The most common source of lead exposure is from lead-based paint, which you often find in homes built before 1978,” said Dr. Chris Rustin, Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department. “Savannah is well known for its historic architecture, but our older housing supply means many children could be exposed to lead in paint or the soil.”

When lead paint gets old, it can start peeling and become a hazard. Adults and children can get lead into their bodies by breathing in the lead or by swallowing lead dust that settles in food, food preparation surfaces, floors, window sills, and other places, or eating paint chips or soil that contain lead. A child can be exposed to lead through other means including toys, jewelry, fishing lures, glazed pottery, and other products.

If you would like to have your child tested, contact the Chatham County Health Department at 912-356-2441 to make an appointment for a free screening between now and October 30.

More information about lead poisoning is available at cdc.gov/nceh/lead/.