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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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New Data Supports Social Distancing Now More Than Ever

Atlanta – As Governor Brian Kemp and DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., finalize the details of the Executive Order requiring Georgians to shelter in place, it is important to emphasize why these measures are needed now to keep all Georgians healthy and safe and to stop the spread of COVID-19.

For weeks it has been known that people who were positive for COVID-19 but did not have symptoms likely were able to transmit the virus. However, on March 30, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, M.D., confirmed that new data indicates that as many as 25% of individuals infected with COVID-19 remain asymptomatic. Additionally, science also now informs us that individuals who are symptomatic, are infectious up to 48 hours before symptoms appear. This new information tells the health care community, medical researchers, public health and governments why COVID-19 is spreading so rapidly.

“Until now, containing the spread of COVID-19 has been based on early detection and isolation of people with symptoms of the virus,” said Toomey. “Social distancing and keeping people apart from each other are now more than just recommendations; they are the best weapons we have to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

In addition to social distancing, all Georgians are reminded to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% alcohol) when soap and water aren’t available. Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and throw the used tissue in the trash.

To read more about presymptomatic transmission of COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6914e1.htm?s_cid=mm6914e1_w

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

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.

COVID-19 Death in Bryan County Resident

The Coastal Health District has confirmed the first death of a Bryan County resident from COVID-19. The individual was a 65-year-old male with underlying medical conditions.

This is the third COVID-19 related death in the Coastal Health District; two residents of neighboring Chatham County have also died from complications of COVID-19.

Statewide, at least 125 people have died from COVID-19, and more than 4,000 people have tested positive for the illness. There is community-wide transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, and it’s possible a person can be contagious without even having symptoms. Georgians of all ages should practice social distancing as much as possible. Avoid unnecessary contact with people outside your household, wash your hands often, and isolate yourself from others if you become sick.

Local COVID-19 Information & Hotline

Updated Guidance from Gov. Brian Kemp:

New restrictions from March 24 at noon through April 6:

  • The following people must isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place: people who have lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, those who are sick and likely to have COVID-19, close contacts of known cases, people in long-term care settings, and also people at high risk of illness such as anyone undergoing cancer treatment, with certain chronic conditions, or medically fragile.
  • All bars and nightclubs will be closed.
  • All dining areas should be closed until further notice. Take out, drive-thru, delivery, or third-party delivery options should be the only means by which consumers can obtain food.
  • No more than 10 customers are allowed inside a dining establishment at one time.
  • Restaurants must provide clearly marked waiting areas that allow customers to remain at least 6 feet from each other while waiting to pick up their food.
  • All gatherings of 10 people or more are banned unless the people can always maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.

More Information:


Updated April 2, 2020 at 12 p.m.

Note: Some cases may appear on the state’s website before we have the lab report for verification. Be assured, all positive labs must be reported to public health and we will maintain an accurate case count, but our agency may not be the first source to announce new cases.

Click here for a chart showing all confirmed cases in Georgia. The chart is updated daily at noon and 7 p.m.

COVID-19 Apple App
The new Apple app and website asks a series of questions about health and exposure to determine if you should seek care for COVID-19 symptoms.  The tool provides CDC recommendations on next steps including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, recommendations on testing, and when to contact a medical provider.

Users can download the free app from Apple’s App Store or on Google Play or access the tool online at www.apple.com/covid19


COVID-19 Public Hotline: (844) 442-2681

The State of Georgia has a COVID-19 hotline for questions from the public.
If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your primary care doctor, an urgent care clinic, or your local federally qualified healthcare center. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.


Healthcare providers who suspect COVID-19 in a patient should immediately contact the Georgia Department of Public Health by calling 1-866- PUB-HLTH (782-4584).
Providers: Click here for more info

We know you have a lot of questions and we want you to have factual information. We have created a web page with answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 in our area. Please note: this is a rapidly evolving situation and information is subject to change. Click the link below to view the FAQs.

View Local COVID-19 FAQs


As a precautionary measure to limit the number of people congregating in waiting rooms, our health departments are not accepting walk-in clients at this time. Effective immediately and until further notice, anyone in need of clinical services should ahead call to make an appointment. Currently all county Environmental Health offices are operating as usual, but there may be delays and limited service delivery in some areas. Please call your Environmental Health office to confirm availability. If you have additional questions, please contact your local health department or the specific program with which you need to connect. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


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COVID-19 News from the Coastal Health District:


Resources for Specific Groups


State and Federal Response Websites

CDC

Georgia Dept. of Public Health

Coastal Health District Announces First COVID-19 Deaths

The first two deaths associated with COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Coastal Health District.  The 83-year-old male and 84-year-old female were both residents of Chatham County and both had existing medical conditions.

As of 12 p.m. today, there were more than 2,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia and more than 700 people hospitalized. Cases have appeared in areas all across Georgia, and more confirmed cases are expected as testing increases and the virus spreads.

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. Younger adults can also suffer serious medical difficulties.

All Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, and sick people should self-isolate if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Update by Health Director Dr. Lawton Davis

On Monday, March 30, 2020, the Coastal Health District participated in a joint press conference held by Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott and the mayors of all the municipalities in Chatham County.

The following video features the comments of Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. A transcript of his comments are below.

Comments by Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director, Coastal Health District:

Good afternoon. As of noon today, there have been 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 8-county Coastal Health District. This represents a 283% percent increase in the past week. In Chatham County there are 16 confirmed cases, which represents a 300% increase in the past week.

Here in Chatham County some who focus only on the “numbers” seem to believe that we’ve been relatively lucky thus far; maybe we have. But in no way should we be complacent. One need look no further than Dougherty County / Albany, Georgia to get an inkling of how serious the situation truly is.  Dougherty County is in the top 4 counties in the nation in cases per capita and has had more COVID-19 related deaths than any other county in Georgia.  The last time I checked it is much more rural and isolated than is Chatham County, and it is also quite a bit smaller in population.

Using the retro-spectoscope, we know that it generally takes at least 3, and usually 4-6 weeks from the time of the first documented cases in a community before the situation in that community potentially explodes. Our first cases in Chatham County were confirmed about  1 ½ weeks ago. I fully expect our numbers to increase very rapidly over the next several weeks. And please remember that these numbers only represent the positive tests that were collected here locally where testing has here-to-fore been very limited. We have no way to know how many people may have entered our communities from other parts of the state or country who are confirmed positive, and no way to know the number of local folks who have had very mild symptoms and who have not been tested.   

This is truly a very serious situation. We should all focus on social distancing and “good public health hygiene” to the extreme rather than just focusing on the “numbers.” The “numbers” we’re seeing now are really a retrospective glimpse of what was happening 7 – 10 days ago and is not indicative of the current situation. Unfortunately, it will remain like this until we have the ability to perform “real time” screening as we can do with influenza and HIV – a simple, cheap test that provides rapid and reliable results.

To those of you who are listening and responding in a socially responsible manner, a sincere thank you. To those of you who seem to think that you’re invincible, or that this is a joke, please wake up. Even if you’re relatively young and less likely to have a serious outcome if infected, you can certainly spread COVID-19 to those around you who may be in a more compromised situation. 

In conclusion, I do believe we are fortunate that our community leaders throughout Chatham County have been proactive in instituting protocols to promote social distancing. As individuals, we can and MUST help as much as possible by being responsible and doing our part.

Thank you.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in McIntosh County

A McIntosh County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently recovering at home. This is the first confirmed case in a resident of McIntosh County.

An updated count of confirmed cases throughout the state will be available at noon today on the state Department of Public Health website. Case numbers for the 8 counties of the Coastal Health District will also be posted on our Coastal Health District COVID-19 web page.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

For additional information about proper cleaning and disinfecting, visit the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Long County

A Long County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized. This is the first confirmed case in a resident of Long County.

As of noon today, there were more than 1,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia and almost 400 people hospitalized. Cases have appeared in areas all across Georgia, and more confirmed cases are expected as testing increases and the virus spreads.

It is also possible for a person who has no symptoms to spread the virus to others. This is why social distancing is so important, because it limits the potential for the virus to spread from person to person.

The Coastal Health District recommends that everyone stay home as much as possible, remember to wash your hands thoroughly and often, and avoid any unnecessary social visits.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, which usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, isolate yourself from others if possible and call your physician, an urgent care center, or a federally qualified healthcare center for evaluation. Most people with mild and moderate illness can safely recover at home. If your symptoms are severe, particularly if you have difficulty breathing, seek medical help right away.

Volunteer for COVID-19 Response

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is receiving offers from medical professionals and other individuals looking for ways to help with the COVID-19 response. An effective response relies on volunteers who are pre-credentialed and organized. Georgia Responds is Georgia’s health and medical volunteer program which matches the skills and credentials of medical and nonmedical volunteers to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.

Medical volunteers may be used to answer medical questions coming into the COVID-19 hotline, or assist at test specimen collection sites. Nonmedical volunteers may be used in administrative roles at either the call-center or test collection sites, or provide interpretation or other skills as needed.

To volunteer, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/georgia-responds and click on the “Register Now” box. Registering only takes a few minutes. Prospective volunteers will be asked for their name, address, contact information and occupation type. In order to be eligible for some assignments, responders are encouraged to complete a profile summary, which includes skills and certifications, training, medical history, emergency contact and deployment preferences

Once your skills and credentials are reviewed, you will be notified by a DPH representative.

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.

Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Bryan County

Two Bryan County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. One individual is hospitalized and the other is currently isolated at home. These are the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bryan County.

As COVID-19 continues to spread in our area, it is important to note that asymptomatic transmission is possible, meaning someone who is not ill can still spread the virus to others. This is precisely why social distancing and proper handwashing are so important, whether or not you feel sick.

On March 23, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order requiring, “certain individuals with an increased risk of complications from COVID-19 to isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place. At minimum, this order for isolation, quarantine, or shelter in place covers those who live in a long-term care facility, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms and exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.”

Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District, is urging all residents to comply. “We continue to encourage residents in all Coastal Health District counties to focus on slowing the spread of the virus by heeding public health advice and staying home if at all possible,” he said. “The bottom line is that we know the virus is in our communities and we need to take every possible measure to prevent it from spreading.”

Georgia State-wide Rumors and Scams

Chatham County Emergency Management Agency– On a daily basis, distinguishing between rumors and factual information on social media can be challenging. With a public health pandemic, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, it is very easy for false information to spread quickly. There are several ads, promotions and websites that prey on vulnerable individuals in an attempt to sell them items to decrease their risk of contracting COVID-19 or offer services that do not exist. Stay on the lookout for promotions that claim their products can treat, prevent or cure the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Chatham County officials are asking everyone to be mindful of the source of the information and to only follow guidance from sites including the Centers for Disease Control, The Georgia Department of Public Health and other local, state or national government agencies.   

In a recent press release from Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr’s office, Carr said “Scammers may try to take advantage of consumers during a time when fears and health concerns are at an all-time high…At best, these fake cures are simply a waste of money, while at worst, they can have dire consequences.”

According to AG Carr, the following companies have received warning letters from the FTC and FDA for selling unapproved or misbranded products that the companies claimed could treat or prevent the Coronavirus: 

  • Vital Silver
  • Aromatherapy Ltd.
  • N-ergetics
  • GuruNanda, LLC
  • Vivify Holistic Clinic
  • Herbal Amy LLC
  • The Jim Bakker Show

AG Carr also discussed how the FDA has warned consumers against drinking a product called “Miracle Mineral Solution” or “MMS,” which has been touted as a way to prevent coronavirus and cure a myriad of other illnesses, including cancer and HIV/AIDS. The FDA warns that this product is essentially a “dangerous bleach” that could cause severe vomiting and acute liver failure. Consumers should also be wary of claims that products containing colloidal silver can prevent or cure the Coronavirus. Not only is there no medical evidence supporting these claims, the FDA and National Institutes of Health warn that colloidal silver is not safe to use and can even cause argyria, a bluish-gray skin discoloration that’s typically permanent. If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with uncertain claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first.

Locally, there have been several rumors and scams circulating. Please see below for the rumor reported as well as the truth regarding the rumor.

Local Rumors

** For an ongoing list of rumors and myths on a national level, please visit: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control

Rumor: The Georgia Port Authority is closing.

Truth: The Georgia Authority is operating normally with no delays or closures at this time.

Rumor: Gas stations are closing pumps around the area due to COVID-19 concerns.

Truth: This rumor is not true and gas stations are open and operational.

Rumor: There is a National lockdown and the entire country will be quarantined for two weeks.

Truth: There is no national lockdown. Be mindful of sources of information. For the most up to date information regarding COVID-19, visit: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

Rumor: I need to stockpile as many groceries and supplies as I can because they are going to run out.

Truth: Please only buy the items that you need for your family for one week. If everyone stockpiles, there will not be enough for everyone to get what they need. Demand has been high for grocery items, cleaning products and healthcare products- give stores time to restock.

Rumor: The government is handing out $1,000 checks to everyone.

Truth: According to FEMA.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control, The U.S. Government is not mailing checks in response to COVID-19 at this time. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer. It’s important that you only trust information coming from official sources. The Federal Trade Commission recently provided more information about this scam and other common COVID-19 related scams on their website

Local Scams

***Please note, the Department of Public Health clinical services will never ask for payment information or personal information over the phone. They will not offer to come to your home to offer tests or withhold information regarding your health for lack of payment over the phone

Reported Scam: There has been a report of an individual calling residents pretending to be the Georgia Department of Public Health informing residents that there is a COVID-19 testing kit that can be mailed to senior citizens for a small fee.

Truth: At this time, there are no mail-in tests available for COVID-19

Reported Scam: There are reports that an individual from the Department of Public Health will come to your home to perform a COVID-19 test.

Truth: At this time, there are no home tests available for COVID-19 nor will a Department of Public Health employee come to your home to perform a test.

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032320 Georgia wide Scams and Local Rumors Espanol