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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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First Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Liberty and Camden Counties

The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Camden and Liberty Counties today. Both counties now have 1 confirmed case each, and both residents are recovering at home.

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.

The Coastal Health District encourages everyone to be both personally and socially responsible. Right now, federal authorities:

  • Encourage those who can work from home to do so,
  • Encourage everyone to avoid unnecessarily gathering in groups of 10 or more people,
  • Encourage everyone to avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
  • Encourage the use of drive-through, pick-up, or delivery options when considering food from sources outside the home.

These social distancing measures are critical for slowing the spread of illness and decreasing the likelihood that healthcare systems become overwhelmed.

New Process for Announcing Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Coastal Health District

With multiple cases of novel coronavirus now appearing in the Coastal Health District and more cases expected, we have modified our protocol for releasing case updates. Our goal is to keep the information flowing, but the process manageable.

  • When we are notified of the first confirmed case in one of our counties, we will issue a press release. If we receive that confirmation after 7 p.m. the press release will be issued the following morning before 8 a.m. Currently, no cases have been confirmed in Bryan, Camden, Liberty, Long, or McIntosh County residents.
  • For counties that already have cases, we will issue updates twice daily if there are new cases to report. The updates will be sent to our media distribution lists via email at 12 noon and 7 p.m. and will be posted to our website at GaCHD.org/covid19/.

Just so you are aware – now that commercial laboratories are also reporting test results, healthcare providers may be the first to receive notification of a lab positive case. Also, 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.

Second Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Chatham County

A second Chatham County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently hospitalized, and the source of the exposure is unknown.

Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual. This is the fifth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Coastal Health District which includes Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties.

We understand that people want to be tested but the reality is that we do not yet have the capacity for widespread community testing or screening. Fortunately, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 60 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

In accordance with federal and state guidelines, we strongly encourage the continuation of social distancing. The less contact people have with one another means the less opportunity for the virus to spread. Slowing the spread of the virus means we can keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Chatham County

A Chatham County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently isolated at home, and the source of the exposure is unknown. Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual.

This is the fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Coastal Health District; there are 2 confirmed cases of Glynn County residents, 1 of an Effingham County resident, and now 1 in Chatham County. The Coastal Health District includes Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties.

We understand that people want to be tested but the reality is that we do not yet have the capacity for widespread community testing or screening. Fortunately, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 60 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions,
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

In accordance with federal and state guidelines, we strongly encourage the continuation of social distancing. The less contact people have with one another means the less opportunity for the virus to spread. Slowing the spread of the virus means we can keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

Coastal Health District Opens Second Specimen Collection Site

The Coastal Health District is opening a second specimen collection site this week to increase access to COVID-19 testing in our area. The first facility opened today in Glynn County, and this second location will open March 20th in Chatham County.

These collection sites are only for individuals who meet the criteria for priority testing and have a doctor referral. The drive-through facilities are by appointment only and are NOT open to the general public.

These specimen collection centers are part of a state-wide effort to increase testing for mildly ill people who do not require medical care or hospitalization, but who DO fall into one of the other prioritized groups.

The people who should be prioritized for testing at these remote specimen collection centers include:

  • Healthcare workers and other first responders who are critical for caring for our communities during this epidemic, and who frequently interact with vulnerable populations.
  • People working with and caring for vulnerable populations, such as long-term care facility staff.
  • People living in congregate settings where the disease can spread rapidly.

Because testing supplies and protective equipment is limited, current testing should be reserved for people whose laboratory diagnosis would have the biggest impact on healthcare infrastructure and the spread of disease. Only individuals who have been evaluated by a healthcare provider and assigned a Person Under Investigation (PUI) number will be referred to these drive-through sites.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Effingham County

An Effingham County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently hospitalized, and the source of exposure is unknown. Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual. This is the third resident of the Coastal Health District to test positive for COVID-19 .

We understand that people want to be tested but the reality is that we do not yet have the capacity for widespread community testing or screening. Fortunately, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 65 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions,
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

Please continue to remain vigilant and practice good health hygiene including washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water (if you don’t have soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol), staying home and away from others if you are sick, regularly cleaning common surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, computer keyboards, and light switches, and covering your cough with a tissue and throw the tissue away or cough into the crook of your elbow. For accurate information about COVID-19 in our area, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at dph.ga.gov, or the Coastal Health District at GaCHD.org.

Second Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Glynn County

A second person in Glynn County has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently recovering at home and self-isolating, and the source of exposure is unknown. Coastal Health District epidemiologists are gathering more information which can be used to notify others who may have had close contact with the individual. The individual has no known contact to a confirmed case.

Although public demand for testing around the state is high, particularly when new cases are discovered, most people do not need to be tested. Also, most people who are mildly or moderately ill can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms.

Testing must be prioritized, as testing capacity and medical supplies are limited. Priority individuals include:

  • persons 65 and older,
  • those with chronic, underlying health conditions,
  • those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home,
  • those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement officer.

In a joint statement released yesterday, Governor Brian P. Kemp, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) offered this perspective. “It is our responsibility to keep the elderly and chronically ill safe, back our law enforcement and first responders, and protect the doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers working around the clock.”

Coastal Health District Expands Access to COVID-19 Testing for High-Risk Individuals

Mobile Specimen Collection Site Begins Operation for Pre-Approved Individuals

The Coastal Health District, in partnership with the Southeast Georgia Health System, is operating a drive-through specimen collection site which will expand access to COVID-19 testing for pre-approved high-risk individuals. The Health System is providing personnel and planning support.

The specimen collection site is at an undisclosed location in Glynn County and is NOT open to the general public or the media.

Drive-through collection centers are being established in health districts around the state to collect specimens from mildly ill people who do not require medical care or hospitalization, but who DO fall into one of the other prioritized groups.

The people who should be prioritized for testing at these remote specimen collection centers include:

  • Healthcare workers and other first responders who are critical for caring for our communities during this epidemic, and who frequently interact with vulnerable populations.
  • People working with and caring for vulnerable populations, such as long-term care facility staff.
  • People living in congregate settings where the disease can spread rapidly.

Only individuals who have been evaluated by a healthcare provider and assigned a Person Under Investigation (PUI) number will be referred to these drive-through sites.

Laboratory testing is important, but not everyone with respiratory symptoms needs to be tested. Most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms can safely recover at home with self-isolation and symptomatic treatment. Diagnosis through laboratory testing does not change the care they would receive.

Because testing supplies and protective equipment is limited, current testing should be reserved for people whose laboratory diagnosis would have the biggest impact on healthcare infrastructure and the spread of disease.

Beach Advisory Lifted for St. Simons Island

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the advisory for North Beach at Goulds Inlet, which is from 15th Street to 10th Street on St. Simons Island.

The advisory was issued on March 17, 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.

The testing is part of an ongoing water monitoring program through the Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division. Water samples are screened every week for bacteria found in humans and some wildlife. This testing program is not related to the capsized cargo carrier in St. Simons Sound.

For more information about beach water advisories, visit our Beach Water Testing Program page.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Glynn County

A person in Glynn County has tested positive for COVID-19, the first confirmed case in a resident of the Coastal Health District. The individual is currently isolated at home, and the source of the exposure is unknown.

“This is not the news we wanted to hear, but it is not unexpected,” says Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District which includes the Glynn County Health Department. “We have been preparing for this. Our hospitals and healthcare providers have been preparing for this.”

All Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • 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.

People who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to be tested. Additionally, most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms do not need testing and can safely recover at home while self-isolating and treating symptoms. Because testing equipment and medical supplies are limited, testing must be prioritized for people at highest risk of severe illness,  or those most likely to spread the illness to other high-risk individuals, such as healthcare workers, emergency responders, or people living in a congregate setting like a nursing home. For accurate information about COVID-19 in our area, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health at dph.ga.gov, or the Coastal Health District at GaCHD.org/COVID19.