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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 Advisories Lifted in Glynn County

Update: September 23, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisories on St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island.

Advisories have been lifted for:

  • Massengale Park Beach (Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street) on St. Simons Island,
  • Fifth Street Crossover Beach (Cedar Street to 9th Street) on St. Simons Island, and
  • Captain Wylly Road Crossover Beach (Brice Lane to beach pavilion) on Jekyll Island.

The advisories were issued on September 22, 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 showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits.


September 22, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has issued beach water advisories for 2 beaches on St. Simons Island and 1 beach on Jekyll Island. The affected areas are:

  • Massengale Park Beach (Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street) on St. Simons Island,
  • Fifth Street Crossover Beach (Cedar Street to 9th Street) on St. Simons Island, and
  • Captain Wylly Road Crossover Beach (Brice Lane to beach pavilion) 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.

These beach water advisories alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory areas. The Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the areas under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from these areas 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 this week, and the advisories will be lifted when the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards. For more information, visit our Beach Water Testing page.

Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Testing Event September 25

In observance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), free, confidential HIV testing will be offered from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, September 25th at the First City Pride Center at 1515 Bull Street. A rapid HIV test will provide results in one minute. The event is sponsored by Project POWER (Protecting Ourselves With Every Resource), a Coastal Health District Initiative to stop the spread of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and to encourage a more open dialogue between partners.

Launched in 2008, NGMHAAD is observed every September to direct attention to the continuing and disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on gay and bisexual men in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 6 gay and bisexual men living with HIV are still unaware of their status, underscoring a need for HIV education, testing and prevention services among that population. Last year’s theme, “The conversation about HIV is changing,” continues through 2020, and is anchored in the new tools we have to combat HIV such as PrEP, a medication that prevents HIV when taken as prescribed.  

First City Pride Center is an inclusive advocacy, social and service organization actively working to meet the needs for safety, empowerment, education, and well-being of Savannah’s LGBTQIA+ community.

In compliance with the citywide order, all event attendees are required to wear a mask or face covering. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should not attend.

For more information about testing, please contact Gregory Battle at 912-644-5826 or email Gregory.Battle@dph.ga.gov. To coordinate media interviews, please call Sally Silbermann at 912-484-4116 or email Sally.Silbermann@dph.ga.gov.

New Administrator Named for Chatham County Health Department

Chris Rustin, DrPH, MS, REHS, has been named Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department. Dr. Rustin replaces Randy McCall, PhD, who retired in April after more than 30 years in public health.

In his position as Administrator, Dr. Rustin will be responsible for supervising all Chatham County Health Department programs. He will also serve as public health liaison to various agencies and organizations throughout the community.

Dr. Rustin began his public health career more than two decades ago as an Environmental Health Specialist for the Evans County Health Department. He later managed the Environmental Health programs for the Chatham and Effingham County Health Departments. He left the Coastal Health District 2009 to serve as Deputy Director and then Director of Environmental Health for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) in Atlanta.

Most recently, Dr. Rustin served on the DPH leadership team as Director for the Division of Health Protection. In that role, he was responsible for oversight of several programs including Environmental Health, EMS and Trauma, Chronic Disease Prevention, Infectious Disease Control, Injury Prevention, Emergency and Health Care Preparedness, Pharmacy, and Immunizations. He was also tasked with coordinating the DPH operational response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After spending a decade at the State Department of Public Health in Atlanta, I am excited to return as the Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department,” said Rustin. “As public health services are profoundly local, my goal is to ensure the Chatham County Health Department provides the best public health services to the citizens and visitors of Chatham County. I want to thank the employees of the Chatham County Health Department for their tireless work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and I look forward to supporting them and collaborating with the county and city governments moving forward.”  

Dr. Rustin has a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Master of Science in Safety and Environmental Compliance, and a Doctor of Public Health with an emphasis on Community Health. He is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist with the Georgia Board of Registered Environmental Health Professionals, a Fellow of the CDC Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute, and the current President-Elect of the Georgia Public Health Association.  

Beach Advisories Lifted for St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island Beaches

Update: September 11, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisories on St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island.

Advisories have been lifted for:

  • East Beach at the Old Coast Guard Station (Tenth Street to Driftwood Drive) on St. Simons Island,
  • Massengale Park Beach (Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street) on St. Simons Island, and
  • North Beach at Dexter Lane (Tallu Fish Lane to Brice Lane) on Jekyll Island.

The advisories were issued on September 9, 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 showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits.


September 9, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has issued beach water advisories for 2 beaches on St. Simons Island and 1 beach on Jekyll Island. The affected areas are:

  • East Beach at the Old Coast Guard Station (Tenth Street to Driftwood Drive) on St. Simons Island,
  • Massengale Park Beach (Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street) on St. Simons Island, and
  • North Beach at Dexter Lane (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.

These beach water advisories alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory areas. The Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the areas under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from these areas 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 this week, and the advisories will be lifted when the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards. For more information, visit our Beach Water Testing page.

Bryan Co. Health Dept. Expands COVID-19 Testing Schedule in Richmond Hill

COVID-19 testing at the Bryan County Health Department’s Richmond Hill location will now be available each Tuesday and Thursday between 8-11 a.m. by appointment.

Previously, testing at the Richmond Hill location was only available on Tuesdays. Now residents will have two opportunities each week for free testing in Richmond Hill.

The drive-through site is located at Henderson Park, 500 Veterans Memorial Parkway, behind the County Administration Building off Highway 144. The Bryan County Health Department will continue to offer drive-up testing at the Health Department’s Pembroke location at 430 Ledford Street each Friday between 8-11 a.m. by appointment.

Testing appointments can be made online or over the phone. Click here to schedule an appointment online. To schedule an appointment by phone, call 912-230-9744. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon.

Anyone can be tested, and there is no fee. If you believe you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please remember to quarantine at home for 14 days, and schedule an appointment for testing around the 10th day. Testing cannot be scheduled more than 2 weeks in advance.

For a list of free COVID-19 testing options through the Coastal Health District, visit our COVID-19 testing page.

COVID-19 Testing, Health Dept. Operational Schedule for Labor Day, Sept. 7

Health Department clinics, Environmental Health offices, and Coastal Health District offices will be closed on Monday, September 7th in observance of Labor Day.

The COVID-19 testing sites in Brunswick and Savannah will be operational on Labor Day with reduced hours.

Drive-through COVID-19 Testing in Brunswick is by appointment only, and will be available Monday, September 7 from 8-10:30 a.m. To make an appointment for testing, call 1-912-230-9744 and choose option #3, or click here to schedule an appointment online.

Drive-through COVID-19 Testing in Savannah is available without an appointment at the Civic Center at 301 West Oglethorpe Ave. The site will be operational Saturday, September 5 from 8:30-11:30 a.m., and Monday, September 7 from 8-10:30 a.m.

The Coastal Health District’s COVID-19 Testing Call Center will be operational with normal hours, Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., closed Sundays, and open Monday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The call center number is 1-912-230-9744.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 testing in the Coastal Health District.

Beach Advisory Lifted for St. Simons Island

Update: September 3, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the beach water advisory for the Fifth Street Crossover Beach on St. Simons Island.

The advisory was issued on August 18, 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 showed that the bacteria levels had dropped below Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits. Therefore, the advisory has been lifted.


September 1, 2020

The Glynn County Health Department has issued a beach water advisory for the Fifth Street Crossover Beach, which is from Cedar Street to Ninth Street on St. Simons Island.

graphic showing the beach water advisory signs

The Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Resources Division tests water samples at Glynn County beaches throughout the year. The test screens 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. Periodic advisories are not unusual, and sources of the bacteria could include animal waste, storm water runoff, or boating waste.

The advisory does NOT mean the beach is closed. Beach water advisories alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory areas. The Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the area under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from the 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 about beach water testing, visit our Beach Water Testing Program page.

Chatham Co. Health Dept. Resumes Operations at Midtown Clinic

Health department services are available once again at the Midtown Clinic of the Chatham County Health Department. The clinic is located at 1602 Drayton Street in Savannah.

On May 1, 2020, the Health Department consolidated services from two locations into one site, and all appointments were shifted to the clinic on Eisenhower Drive. The change was needed to free up staffing resources for the COVID-19 testing site.

Since that time, additional employees have been hired, and now general clinical services and immunizations are available at both Chatham County Health Department locations again.

All health department services require appointments, and anyone over the age of two must wear a face mask. To make an appointment for services at the Midtown Clinic at 1602 Drayton Street, call 912-651-3378. For appointments at the Eisenhower Clinic at 1395 Eisenhower Drive, call 912-356-2441.

For more information on services, go to gachd.org/chatham.

Chatham Co. Health Dept. Expands Pediatric Primary Care Services

Parents in Chatham County now have an additional resource for managing common childhood health problems. The Chatham County Health Department has expanded its pediatric health program to include certain primary care services like treatment of eye and ear infections, upper respiratory infections, seasonal allergies and more.

Nurse practicioner examines child during wellness visit

Services will be offered at the Eisenhower clinic of the Chatham County Health Department by Sierra Peebles, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner.

Appointments can be made for head-to-toe wellness exams, sports physicals, and treatment of common childhood concerns, like:

  • Seasonal allergies and sinus infections
  • Ear and eye infections
  • Upper respiratory infections and sore throat
  • Dermatitis and Eczema

Peebles can also make referrals for other health department services, like immunizations, pediatric dental care, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and the Babies Can’t Wait developmental program.

“I am excited to begin offering pediatric primary care services in our community,” said Peebles. “Health monitoring, illness prevention, and education are so important for a healthy childhood and adolescence, and every family deserves access to this type of care.”

All services are by appointment only. To make an appointment for a child health visit, call the Chatham County Health Department at 912-356-2441.

Chlorine Dioxide Should NOT be used to Treat COVID-19

The Department of Public Health has received reports that people are using diluted chlorine dioxide to “treat” COVID-19.  Chlorine dioxide is a bleach-like cleaning agent and, if ingested, can have severe, adverse health effects, including death.

Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including treatment of COVID-19.

Products are being marketed online under various names: MSS, Miracle Mineral Solution, Master Mineral Solution, Water Purification Solution, CDS, Aqueous Chlorine Dioxide, and others.

Ingesting chlorine dioxide products are not meant to be swallowed by people, and can lead to:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms
  • Life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration
  • Acute liver failure
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea

The Georgia Poison Center advises that chlorine dioxide not be swallowed, and not be used outside of industrial settings where appropriate precautions against injury from this chemical can be used.

For more information or if you or someone you know has ingested chlorine dioxide, call the Georgia Poison Center Hotline: 1-800-222-1222

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Warning:

The FDA reminds consumers to be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to prevent, mitigate, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Fraudulent COVID-19 products may come in many varieties, including dietary supplements and other foods, as well as products purporting to be drugs, medical devices or vaccines. Products that claim to cure, mitigate, treat, diagnose or prevent disease, but are not proven safe and effective for those purposes, defraud consumers of money and can place consumers at risk for serious harm. Using these products may lead to delays in getting proper diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 and other potentially serious diseases and conditions.