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 Chatham & Glynn Counties

Updated January 16, 2020:

The beach water advisories in Chatham & Glynn Counties have been lifted.

Recent water samples show that bacteria levels have dropped below EPA limits, and therefore the advisories have been lifted on Tybee, St. Simons Island & Jekyll Island.


January 14, 2020:

The health departments in Chatham and Glynn Counties have issued water quality advisories for beach locations on Tybee, St. Simons, and Jekyll Islands.

The advisory locations are:

  • Tybee Island: Polk Street Beach (from the end of the beach on the north side of the island to the jetty)
  • St. Simons Island: Fifth Street Crossover Beach (from Cedar Street to 9th Street)
  • Jekyll Island: Driftwood Beach (Beach KM Marker 1 to Tallu Fish Lane)

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThese advisories are only for the areas specified above and do not impact the other beach areas on these islands. There is no way of knowing if going into water that is under advisory will result in illness. However, these 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 weekly on these islands except in winter, when samples are collected every two weeks. 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 Drive-Through Flu Shot Clinic in Ludowici January 15

This new year, make a resolution to protect your health by getting a flu shot. The Long County Health Department is hosting a drive-through flu vaccination clinic on January 15th from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the IGA parking lot off Highway 84 in Ludowici. Just drive up, complete some paperwork and get vaccinated – you don’t even have to get out of the car.

“Our lives are so busy sometimes it’s hard to fit in a trip to the doctor for your flu shot,” says Betty Dixon, Clinical Coordinator for the Coastal Health District. “If you haven’t had your flu shot yet, we hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity for a quick, convenient, and no-cost immunization.”

During the drive-through clinic, if you don’t have insurance, the flu vaccination will be provided for free. If you do have insurance, we’ll bill your insurance company, but you’ll pay no out-of-pocket cost. Vaccinations will be available for children, adults and senior citizens.

To save even more time, you can click the button below to download and print the vaccine consent form. Bring the completed form with you to the drive-through clinic on January 15th.

It’s not too late to get a flu shot. The flu season in our area typically peaks around February, so there are still several months when the virus may be circulating in our community. A flu shot is your best protection against getting the flu.

Visit our flu web page for more information about flu vaccination and preventing the spread of influenza.

Cervical Cancer Awareness

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the Coastal Health District wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.

The good news?

  • The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV.
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow-up care.

In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties encourage:

  • Women to start getting regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21
  • Parents to make sure pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12

HPV Vaccine

Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. The HPV vaccine is recommended for everyone through age 26. There are additional recommendations for those over the age of 26.

For more information, check out gachd.org/hpv.

Here are some more great resources:

How to Talk to Your Pre-Teen about HPV Vaccine

HPV Vaccine Information

HPV Safety Fact Sheet for Parents

HPV & Cancer


Cervical Cancer Screening

The Georgia Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) provides access to breast and cervical cancer screening for women who have no insurance (or very limited insurance) and meet certain annual income guidelines. The program provides breast examinations and mammogram referrals to uninsured, low income women between the ages of 40-64 and pap smear testing and pelvic examinations to screen for cervical cancer in women 21-64 years of age.

Get more information on BCCP here.

Invitation to Bid

The Chatham County Health Department Savannah is soliciting competitive sealed bids from firms that are interested in and capable of providing Housekeeping and Janitorial Services.
Proposals are due on February 21, 2020, at 2 p.m. 
Additional details and information can be found here:
Housekeeping ITB, 2020

Beach Advisories Lifted in Chatham & Glynn Counties

Updated Friday, January 3, 2020:

The beach water advisories in Chatham & Glynn Counties have been lifted.

Recent water samples show that bacteria levels have dropped below EPA limits, and therefore the advisories have been lifted.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019:

The health departments in Chatham and Glynn Counties have issued water quality advisories for beach locations on Tybee, St. Simons, and Jekyll Islands.

The advisory locations are:

Tybee Island

From Lovell Street to Inlet Avenue, which includes:

  • Middle Beach at Center Terrace
  • Strand Beach at the Pier
  • South Beach at Chatham Street

St. Simons Island

  • North Beach at Goulds Inlet (Fifteenth Street to Tenth Street)
  • South Beach at the Lighthouse (Ninth Street to the Pier)

Jekyll Island

  • Driftwood Beach (Beach KM Marker 1 to Tallu Fish Lane)
  • South Dunes Picnic Area Beach (Corsair Beach Park to South Water Tower)

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThese advisories are only for the areas specified above and do not impact the other beach areas on these islands. There is no way of knowing if going into water that is under advisory will result in illness. However, these 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 weekly on these islands, and 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.

Five Minutes for Better Health in 2020

A new year is a great time for a fresh start but it’s not always easy to keep resolutions. Why? Oftentimes, we set lofty goals and become overwhelmed at the thought of trying to accomplish them. What if taking some healthy steps to improve your life only took five minutes – or less? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come up with tips that do just that.

Here are six basic steps we can all take to make sure good health stays on the forefront in 2020.

Get more Five Minutes (or Less) Healthy Tips here.

County Health Departments Host No-Cost Flu Vaccine Clinic Dec. 12

Haven’t had your flu shot yet? Now you’ve got another good reason to get vaccinated: the Coastal Health District is hosting a one-day flu shot clinic on December 12th, offering vaccinations at no cost to you.

“A flu shot is your best protection against getting the flu,” says Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “No one wants to spend the holidays feeling miserable and spreading the flu to family members and friends. If you haven’t had your flu shot yet, we’re hoping this clinic will motivate you to get vaccinated.”

On Thursday, December 12th, all 8 counties in the Coastal Health District will offer flu shots from 8 am – 6 pm (some clinics close for lunch from noon-1 each day, so check the hours for your county).

If you don’t have insurance, the flu vaccination will be provided for free. If you do have insurance, we’ll bill your insurance company, but you’ll pay no out-of-pocket cost.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Flu is already circulating in the state, so it is important to take preventive measures now.

Keep Germs Away This Winter

Germs are everywhere and we can’t avoid them all but some can make you sicker than others. Protecting ourselves from certain viruses starts with good hygiene.

“Stomach Bugs”

Viruses such norovirus – or what many refer to as “stomach bugs” – can be spread in different ways, including eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated or touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth. The best way to prevent the spread of gastrointestinal viruses is to practice good hygiene on a consistent basis. That includes:

  • Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and changing diapers, and always before eating, preparing, or handling food. (Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing but they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water).
  • When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others who are sick. You should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 days after symptoms stop.
  • After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly. Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or feces. You should handle soiled items carefully without agitating them. Wear rubber gloves while handling soiled items. Wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length.
  • And as always, if you are sick – whether with a stomach bug, the flu, or something else – stay home for at least 24 hours after symptoms have gone – and try to limit contact with others as much as possible.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables, and cook seafood thoroughly. Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them. Norovirus can survive temperatures as high as 140°F, and quick steaming processes are often used for cooking shellfish. Food that might be contaminated with norovirus should be thrown out.


Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning,” makes about 48 million Americans sick ever year. Safe food handling practices are key when it comes to preventing foodborne illness. Do you clean, separate, cook, and chill? Doing those four things will go a long way toward keeping potentially harmful bacteria away from the food you eat. And what about those leftovers? Here’s the lowdown from the Partnership for Food Safety and Education:

  • Throw away all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs and casseroles, left at room temperature longer than two hours; one hour in air temperatures above 90 °F. This also includes leftovers taken home from a restaurant. Some exceptions to this rule are foods such as cookies, crackers, bread and whole fruits.
  • Whole roasts, hams and turkeys should be sliced or cut into smaller pieces or portions before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in shallow containers. Wrap or cover the food. Leftovers stored in the refrigerator should be consumed within 3-4 days, and leftovers should be heated to 165°F prior to consumption.
  • Foods stored longer may become unsafe to eat and cause foodborne illness. Do not taste leftovers that appear to be safe, bacteria that cause illness does not affect the taste, smell, or appearance of food.
  • Frozen storage times are much longer, but some items such as salads made with mayonnaise do not freeze well. Foods kept frozen longer than recommended storage times are safe to eat, but may be drier and not taste as good.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!

Cooking at proper temperatures is also very important:
Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures


The Flu

Don’t let the flu take the fun out of your holidays. The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated.  All Coastal Health District health departments have flu shots available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months of age and older receive a yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu and getting vaccinated is the first and best line of defense against the flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to fully respond to the vaccine and provide the body protection.

On average, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections and it is estimated that more than 36,000 Americans die each year from influenza-related illness.

The flu virus is easily spread through coughs and sneezes and by touching something with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. That’s why good health habits are also important including:

• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you get sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Try to cough or sneeze into the corner of your elbow and not your hand or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Want to know some other ways to prevent the flu? Click HERE.

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 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, December 9, 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.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins will be accepted. To make an appointment, please
call 356-2946.

Beach Advisories Lifted for Tybee Island

Updated November 15, 2019:

The Chatham County Health Department has lifted the bacteria-related beach water advisories for Tybee Island beaches.

Advisories have been lifted for:

  • Polk Street Beach (end of beach to jetty)
  • North Beach at Gulick Street (jetty to Lovell Street)
  • Middle Beach at Center Terrace (Lovell Street to 11th Street)

Recent water samples show that bacteria levels have dropped below EPA limits, and therefore the advisories have been lifted.


November 13, 2019:

The Chatham County Health Department has issued water quality advisories for 3 beach locations on Tybee Island. The advisory locations are:

  • Polk Street Beach (end of beach to jetty)
  • North Beach at Gulick Street (jetty to Lovell Street)
  • Middle Beach at Center Terrace (Lovell Street to 11th Street)

graphic showing the beach water advisory signsThese advisories are only for the areas specified above and do 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, these 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 weekly on Tybee Island, and 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 Chatham County 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.