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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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Beach Advisory Lifted for Tybee Island Polk Street Beach

Updated May 6, 2021

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the advisory for Polk St. Beach, which extends from the north end of beach to the north jetty on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on May 4, 2021 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.


May 4, 2021

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Polk St. Beach, which extends from the north end of island to the north jetty on Tybee Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

When an advisory is issued, it is only for the area specified and does not impact 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 Georgia’s 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.

Beach Advisory Update for Glynn County

Updated May 4, 2021:

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for Massengale Park Beach on St. Simons Island. The advisory was issued on April 27, 2021, but subsequent water samples show the bacteria levels have dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.

Updated April 29, 2021:

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for Capt. Wylly Rd. Crossover Beach on Jekyll Island. The advisory was issued on April 27, 2021, but subsequent water samples show the bacteria levels have dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.

A beach water advisory remains in place for Massengale Park Beach on St. Simons Island, which extends from Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street. The bacteria levels at this beach location still exceed recommended limits. The water will be re-sampled and re-tested next week.


Published April 27, 2021:

The Glynn County Health Department has issued water quality advisories for beach locations on St. Simons and Jekyll Islands. 

The areas under advisory are:

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs
  • Massengale Park Beach – Driftwood Dr. to Cedar St. on St. Simons Island
  • Capt. Wylly Rd Crossover Beach – Brice Ln. to Beach Pavilion on Jekyll Island

The advisory is only for the area specified above and does not impact 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 Georgia’s 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 areas will be re-tested, and the advisories 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.

Free Mammograms in Chatham County

The Chatham County Health Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) is partnering with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Mobile Mammography Program to offer free mammograms – by appointment only – from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25th, at the Chatham County Health Department located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive in Savannah. Women who meet certain annual income guidelines and are 40-64 years of age without insurance will be eligible to receive a screening mammogram at no cost.

Face coverings required. To make an appointment, please call 356-2946.

For more information on the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, go to GaCHD.org/bccp.

Health Departments Offer Walk-In Hours for COVID-19 Vaccination

As vaccine supply and demand have stabilized, the health departments of the Coastal Health District can now offer COVID-19 vaccinations without an appointment during specific clinic hours. Appointments are still recommended, but not required.

“Now that vaccine is in good supply, we want to remove as many barriers to vaccination as possible,” said Paige Lightsey, Immunization Coordinator for the Coastal Health District. “The vaccine is free, plentiful, safe, and effective, and it’s our best tool to stop the pandemic. And now it’s easier than ever to get your shot.”

Walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccination are only allowed during specific clinic hours which vary by county. A schedule for walk-in vaccine availability is posted below and also available at chdcovidvax.org.

Anyone age 18 and older can receive Moderna vaccine and anyone 16 and older can receive Pfizer vaccine. When you receive your first dose in the two-dose series, an appointment will be made for your second dose of vaccine.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be available for walk-ins, but specific J&J clinics will be offered at various locations. Check chdcovidvax.org for more details.

Additional information about COVID-19 vaccination can be found at covid19.gachd.org/vaccine.


COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics with No Appointment Required

Bryan County Health Department

430 Ledford Street in Pembroke

  • Monday, 8:30am-12pm and 1-3pm
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

66 Captain Matthew Freeman Drive in Richmond Hill

  • Monday, 8:30am-12pm and 1-3pm
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

Camden County Health Department

905 Dilworth Street in St. Marys

  • Monday, 9-11:30am
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

1501 Georgia Avenue in Woodbine

  • Tuesday, 9-11:30am
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

Chatham County Health Department

*Vaccination without an appointment is not guaranteed and is based on availability.

1249 Eisenhower Drive (Vaccination Annex near the County Tag Office) in Savannah

  • Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-2pm
  • Friday, 8:30am-12pm
  • Pfizer vaccine for age 16+

Effingham County Health Department

802 Hwy. 199 South in Springfield

  • Tuesday, 8:30-11:30am and 1-3pm
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

Glynn County Health Department

2747 Fourth Street in Brunswick

  • Monday-Wednesday, 8am-12pm
  • Thursday, 8am-12pm and 1pm-6pm
  • Friday, 8am-12pm
  • Pfizer vaccine for age 16+

Liberty County Health Department

1113 East Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville

  • Monday, 8:30-11:30am
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

Long County Health Department

584 North Macon Street in Ludowici

  • Tuesday, 8:30-11:30am
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

McIntosh County Health Department

1335 Georgia Hwy. 57 in Townsend

  • Monday, 8:30-11:30am
  • Moderna vaccine for age 18+

Bat Tests Positive for Rabies on Skidaway Island

A bat that was discovered outside a home on Skidaway Island in Chatham County has tested positive for rabies. There was no known human exposure to the sick bat, but the animal had contact with a family dog on the property. Fortunately, the dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination and received a booster shot.

The Chatham County Health Department’s Environmental Health office reminds all residents to avoid contact with wild animals and ensure pets are properly vaccinated.

Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Following these tips can protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.

Tybee Island Beach Advisory Lifted

Updated April 28, 2021

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the advisory for Polk St. Beach, which extends from the north end of beach to the north jetty on Tybee Island.

The advisory was issued on April 27, 2021 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.


April 27, 2021

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Polk St. Beach, which extends from the north end of beach to the north jetty on Tybee Island..

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

When an advisory is issued, it is only for the area specified and does not impact 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 Georgia’s 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.

Keep Immunizations Up to Date

As a parent, you want to protect your little one from harm. Vaccinating your child according to the recommended immunization schedule gives him or her the best protection against 14 serious childhood illnesses — like measles and whooping cough — before the age of 2.

As warmer weather brings more opportunities for in-person, physically distanced activities, the Coastal Health District encourages you to make sure your child is up to date on vaccines by ensuring that they haven’t missed any check-ups. Well-child visits are essential even during the pandemic.

You can also review the 2021 easy-to-read immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  If you’re pregnant, now is a great time to find a doctor for your baby and schedule a visit to discuss any questions you have about vaccines.

Have questions? Call your healthcare provider or contact your local health department.

For more information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent, visit these resources:

DPH Will Resume J&J Vaccinations in Georgia

Following a thorough safety review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC
and ACIP have determined that the recommended pause regarding the use of the J&J COVID
vaccine in the U.S. should be lifted.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will again offer J&J vaccine to Georgians aged
18 and older. Details on when administration of the vaccine will begin again in Georgia will be
forthcoming, pending communication with providers.

The federal agencies advised that a warning should be added to the vaccine about the potential
for very rare, but severe blood clots associated with the J&J vaccine. In particular, women under
the age of 50 should be made of aware of the increased risk of thrombosis and
thrombocytopenia syndrome and may choose to receive another vaccine.

At the time J&J vaccine administration was paused, more than 124,000 doses of J&J vaccine
had been safely administered in Georgia. Approximately 211,000 doses are currently in
inventory statewide.

Vaccination remains one of our best tools for stopping the spread of COVID-19, along with basic
prevention measures – wearing a mask, distancing from others, avoiding large gatherings, and
washing your hands frequently

Vaccination Bracelets Arrive at Glynn County Health Department

GLYNN COUNTY, GA – Retired Glynn County physician, Dr. Steve Pappas, and his wife, Cheri, recently donated blue silicone bracelets to the Glynn County Health Department. The bracelets are imprinted with the word “vaccinated” and will be given to residents upon receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents who were fully vaccinated before the bracelets were available are invited to come by the health department to pick one up.

Glynn County Health Department Nurse Manager, Adam Sanchez, R.N., and Cheri Pappas show off the blue silicone vaccination bracelets.

“Despite a marked decrease in COVID-related illness and death, people continue to fear – justifiably – that the person behind them in the grocery store line might be contagious,” said Dr. Pappas. “We are distributing proof of vaccination bracelets in the hopes that a glance at a neighbor’s wrist might calm tensions and improve social interaction.”

The Pappas’ have ordered thousands of additional bracelets and will donate them to various entities to distribute, including the Glynn County Health Department, Southeast Georgia Health System, and various businesses throughout Glynn County.

“The purpose of the blue wrist bands is not to convince anyone whether to have the vaccine, but simply to decrease social anxiety by wearing them in public places,” said Cheri Pappas. “We hope that these wristbands will help our community get back to our normal way of life sooner.”

Beach Advisory Issued on Tybee Island

Updated April 22, 2021

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 April 20, 2021 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.

April 20, 2021

The Chatham County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for Tybee Strand Beach at the Pier, which includes the beach area from Eleventh Street to Eighteenth Street on Tybee Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

When an advisory is issued, it is only for the area specified and does not impact 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 Georgia’s 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.