St. Mary’s Sacred Hospital-Visitor Policy ChangesPress Release January 7, 2022
COVID-19 vaccine moving off-site at some health department locationsCommunity, News September 20, 2021
GAINESVILLE – In anticipation of the upcoming flu season and to prepare for the approval of the COVID-19 booster dose for the general population, District 2 Health Departments will be re-opening some of its off-site COVID-19 mass vaccination sites.
Approval for the booster dose is still pending; however, starting Monday, September 20, Forsyth and Hall County will move to their designated off-site locations to begin administering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. The district will not administer booster doses until approval and guidance is granted by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and FDA.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will await recommendations from the CDC and ACIP before releasing a plan to administer booster doses of Pfizer COVID vaccine in Georgia. The FDA’s discussion and review of data about the need for COVID vaccine boosters is a first step in the process; the same questions will be considered by ACIP during meetings currently scheduled for Sept. 22-23. When CDC/ACIP provide recommendations and guidelines for booster shots, DPH has the inventory to quickly ramp up access to Pfizer COVID vaccine statewide.
“We anticipate an increase in traffic in our health departments with the administration of both the COVID booster dose and flu vaccine,” said Dr. Zachary Taylor, District 2 Public Health Director. “By moving our COVID-19 operation off-site, we will alleviate the influx of people inside our waiting rooms.”
Forsyth County Health Department will operate its COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Northside Forsyth Hospital, Suite 360, located at 1200 Northside Forsyth Dr. Cumming, GA 30041.
Hall County will operate its mass vaccine site from the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, located at 1855 Calvary Church Rd., Gainesville, GA 30507.
The hours of operation for both sites are Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Appointments are not required. If an individual prefers to schedule an appointment, they may do so using the VRAS scheduling system via the District 2 Public Health website. Hours of operation and locations may change due to demand. Reference the schedule of locations and hours posted on the public health website to ensure the vaccine site in your county is operational.
For more information on the COVID-19 booster dose visit the CDC website to learn more.
Ask The Doc! Breast Implant Lymphoma and Throat CancerLifestyle March 7, 2021
This morning, the doctors discuss Breast Implant Lymphoma. How common is it? Did the Surgeon make a mistake? The Doctors also touch on Throat Cancer of the Epiglottis. Is the treatment plan correct? The doctors also discuss Covid-19 and the vaccine. What’s True And What’s False? Which of the Vaccines is the most effective?
Ask The Doc! Types Of Breast Cancer And The Flu SeasonCommunity February 28, 2021
This week, the doctors discuss the different types of breast cancer. They also touch on a question from a viewer regarding the treatment of their husband’s heart tumors. Is he getting the right treatment? What happened to Flu Season? What’s the latest on Covid-19? All this and more on Ask The Doc!
Ask The Doc: Long Term Effects of Surviving CancerJust For Fun, Lifestyle February 14, 2021
This week, Dr. Whaley and Dr. Raymond Tidman discuss some questions sent in by viewers. They touch on the long term effects of Cancer and some possible complications of surviving cancer. They also discuss how to know when you’re cured of cancer. Is there anyway to prevent future complications for cancer survivors? The doctors also discuss the current numbers of cancer survivors compared to in the past.
Ask The Doc! Gastric Bypass Complications And SarcomasLifestyle January 31, 2021
This morning, the Doctors discuss Gastric Bypass Surgery and its complications. When is this surgery needed? What are its complications? They also answer a question regarding a Sarcoma. Dr. Whaley discusses why you shouldn’t google medical information. They also discuss the latest vaccine news. Who should be receiving the vaccine?
Ask the Doc! Cologuards and the Lance Armstrong ShotCommunity January 24, 2021
Dr. William Whaley has returned for the new year and is ready to answer your questions about colonoscopies vs the Cologuard test and the other about Myelodysplasia and the Lance Armstrong shot.
Hart Chamber Offers Programs to Advise Small BusinessesBusiness, Community, Education, Press Release December 28, 2020
Ask The Doc! Fighting Off Covid-19Community, Lifestyle October 2, 2020
This morning, The doctors address a comment left on one of the Ask The Doc Segments. What drugs are good for fighting off Covid-19 or do we just wait on a vaccine? The Doctors also address the President and first lady testing positive for Covid-19. What do the Doctors have to say about testing positive with no symptoms? When could he have contracted the virus? How long has he had it? All this and more on Ask The Doc!
Ask The Doc! College And Covid-19Lifestyle September 28, 2020
This morning, the doctors discuss how colleges are dealing with Covid-19. When a Student tests positive, the colleges continue classes and give the infected student their own quarantined dorm. Is this the approach we should be taking with everything? Should we worry over the numbers? Hear Doctor Whaley and Doctor Tidman’s point of view on this right here on Ask the Doc!
COVID-19 testing site changes effective June 28Community, Health June 24, 2020
GAINESVILLE, GA – District 2 Public Health announces updates to specimen collection site (testing site) schedules effective June 28. Due to the much warmer summer temperatures, all sites will now close by 1:00 pm.
For convenience, an appointment is recommended at each of the Specimen Point of Collection sites. Please call your local health department to schedule an appointment for testing.
Here is a list of our sites and times of operation.
Forsyth County (Central Forsyth HS) Wednesday 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
Franklin County (Health Department) Tuesday 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
Friday 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
Habersham County (Health Department) Wednesday 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Hall County (Allen Creek Soccer Complex) Mon., Thurs. 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Lumpkin County (Health Department) Wednesday 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
Towns County (Health Department) Friday 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
Call your local health department for an appointment. PDF of new hours
Operation changes to COVID-19 specimen collection sitesHealth, Lifestyle June 2, 2020
GAINESVILLE, GA – Nine specimen collection sites operated jointly by the Georgia National Guard and Augusta University ended operations effective May 30. As of June 1, several sites changed their operating hours. Those interested in receiving a COVID-19 test are strongly encouraged to call and make an appointment.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will continue to operate 136 specimen collection sites throughout the state, and encourages Georgians wanting to be tested for COVID-19 to contact their local health department to schedule an appointment.
During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgia National Guard and Augusta University joined DPH in its testing efforts by providing a web-based screening and scheduling platform and additional specimen collection sites. To date, more than 44,000 people have been tested at AU Health and partnered sites.
“This partnership with the Guard and Augusta University was invaluable to the COVID-19 response in Georgia,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner. “We are grateful for their service to all Georgians, and for the support and capacity they provided DPH to increase testing for COVID-19.”
The Guard will continue to provide staffing and logistical help at DPH specimen collection sites, as well as its mission of assisting DPH with testing residents and staff in long-term care facilities. Augusta University will provide ongoing specimen collections at its two sites in the Augusta area; Christenberry Fieldhouse in Augusta and Patriot’s Park in Columbia County.
COVID-19 testing is available to all Georgians, whether they have symptoms or not. Individuals wanting to be tested should contact their local health department to schedule an appointment at a location convenient to them. Contact information for local health departments and specimen collection sites can be found on the DPH website at dph.ga.gov. People can also use the AU Health ExpressCare app or call the hotline at 706-721-1852 to be scheduled at a DPH or AU Health-operated location.
For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Kemp opens bars and renews state of emergencyState & National May 28, 2020
ATLANTA, Ga – Gov. Brian Kemp decided to continue the state of emergency and stay at home order for the elderly and at-risk individuals through July 12. However, the governor also announced the reopening of bars, amusement parks, night clubs, professional sports, and overnight summer camps.
Music venues must remain closed.
Kemp issued timelines for the lifting of each restriction.
May 31 Openings
- Overnight Summer Camps
June 1 Openings
- Gatherings of 25 people will be allowed – if the area meets space requirements
- Night Clubs
- Professional Sports
- Amateur Sports
June 12 Openings
- Amusement Parks
- Water Parks
Georgia will not mandate citizens to wear masks, but Kemp highly encourages everyone to wear masks in crowded areas and public places.
66 percent of nursing home residents have been tested for COVID-19. On June 1, the Department of Public Health will move to once-daily updates of coronavirus numbers.
Georgia DPH distributes Remdesivir to hospitals for treatment of COVID-19Health, Press Release May 18, 2020
Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is distributing an initial allotment of the drug Remdesivir received from the federal government. Georgia received 30 cases, with 40 vials of the drug per case, enough to treat about 110 patients, depending on the duration of an individual’s treatment. Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine being used to treat hospitalized patients with serious symptoms caused by COVID-19 like low oxygen levels or pneumonia. It has been found to shorten the duration of disease in patients being treated in inpatient hospital settings.
Remdesivir is given intravenously (IV) and decreases the amount of coronavirus in the body, helping patients recover faster.
The distribution plan for Remdesivir in Georgia was developed by DPH leadership, including district health directors and emergency preparedness staff, in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for its use. It is based on the number of patients on ventilators, the most severely ill, and clinical best practices.
Georgia hospitals receiving Remdesivir reported 10 or more COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators, in addition to patients currently being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a machine that takes over the work of the heart and lungs. These criteria are subject to change based on the availability of Remdesivir and
the development of patient care at hospital facilities across the state.
The following hospitals are receiving Remdesivir; Tift Regional Medical Center, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Grady Health System, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, and Augusta University Medical Center.
“DPH is pleased to have the opportunity to share this promising treatment with hospitals on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. “While this drug is not a cure for COVID-19, getting it into the hospitals and improving patient outcomes is moving in the right direction.”
Georgia has received a second, much larger allotment of Remdesivir. DPH is surveying hospitals statewide over the weekend to determine need. This second allotment will be distributed next week.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. committed to supplying approximately 607,000 vials of the experimental drug over the next six weeks to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under an emergency use agreement (EUA). The donation to the United States is part of 1.5 million vials of Remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.
Remdesivir has not been approved by the FDA for widespread use because it is considered investigational, and it is still being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed for use against Ebola. Clinical trials for Remdesivir were done in Georgia at Emory University Hospital.
For more information about COVID-19 visit 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
Kemp changes restaurant and childcare restrictionsAnnouncements, State & National May 13, 2020
ATLANTA, Ga – On May 12, Gov. Brian Kemp continued to ease restrictions on certain industries – restaurants and childcare – to assist Ga businesses as the state returns to normal.
Childcare facilities now can operate with up to 20 children in a classroom instead of 10 as long as the instructor-to-child ratio is maintained. Departments of Early Care and Learning and Public Health reportedly okayed this expansion and ensured it could be accomplished safely.
Many parents in Ga are returning to work and have encountered difficulty finding childcare services.
“Childcare facilities must continue to adhere to thirteen minimum, mandatory criteria to be able to operate, including strict screening procedures and sanitation mandates for frequently touched items and surfaces. In that same vein, countless families have reached out to my office to discuss how summer camps can safely operate as we battle the spread of COVID-19,” Kemp explained.
Summer day camps have also received the okay to open on May 14 if facilities can meet the 32 requirements developed by the Department of Public Health, constituents, and summer camp operators. The CDC has yet to weigh in on the criteria, but Kemp appeared confident that their plan would move forward.
However, overnight camps are still closed, but eventually, these facilities might be able to open under a case by case basis.
As for restaurants, those who have already opened or considering opening can now allow up to 10 patrons per 300 sq. feet and seat groups of 10. Previously the maximum number at a table was six.
Kemp praised the food industry, “Throughout this pandemic, our restaurant owners and their employees have done a remarkable job in keeping local families fed. These hardworking Georgians have followed the rules, doing the right thing, even when it wasn’t easy.”
Live performance venues, bars, and nightclubs must remain closed through May 31, 2020.
The social distancing and gathering ban on more than 10 people are still in effect unless six feet of separation is possible. The ban applied to all non-critical infrastructure businesses, local governments, and organizations of all types, including social groups, informal get-togethers, and recreational sports, just to name a few. Georgians can expect these protocols to last through at least the end of the month.
“We continue to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings when out in public, and we thank everyone for their willingness to do the right thing,” Kemp added. “The shelter in place provision for medically fragile and Georgians aged 65 and older remains in effect through June 12, 2020.”
Starting on May 18, state agencies will begin transitioning back into in-office services.
As of noon today, Georgia has received its first shipment of Remdesivir from the federal government – thirty cases with forty vials of the drug per case. The Department of Public Health will determine how it will be distributed.
Nursing Home Testing
Georgia’s National Guard has tested 46% of all nursing home residents and 24% of staff at those facilities. However, an estimated 46,000 people who still need to be tested. In total, the Guard has tested 142 nursing homes. The National Guard will continue to test everyone at these facilities until they reach 100 percent.
The press conference did address the re-testing of facilities is new cases are found after the initial testing. Department of Community Health releases daily updates on the status of COVID-19 in nursing homes across Ga.
“As we aggressively test more nursing homes and long-term care facilities, we may see a sharper increase in positive test results. By doing this, it will allow medical providers to intervene earlier and try to mitigate adverse outcomes among vulnerable Georgians. Right now, nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents and staff make up 18.5% of our total positive cases, and 49% of total deaths involve nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents. We ask everyone to continue to protect the elderly and medically fragile, and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure quick, convenient testing is available for all Georgians,” Kemp explained.
Anyone in Ga can now be tested for COVID-19 either through their local health departments or by downloading the Augusta University ExpressCare app, visit augustahealth.org, or call (706) 721-1852.
“With nearly 250 staff in the field today, the Department of Public Health is making progress. Under the leadership of Dr. Toomey, DPH plans to have 1,000 staff deployed in the coming weeks. To streamline contact tracing across the state, we are rolling out a new online monitoring tool – the Healthy Georgia Collaborative – which allows Georgians to identify contacts and monitor symptoms. Health data remains completely confidential. This monitoring tool does not collect any data other than what is entered by the contact. This is how the process works: residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by trained public health staff, who will work with that individual to recall anyone that they might’ve had close contact with while infectious. Those contacts will then be interviewed by DPH to help us map and isolate the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state. If you are contacted by DPH staff, we strongly encourage you to participate in the contact tracing program,” Kemp said about contact tracing.
The governor also urged anyone who needs to visit their doctor for regular appointments or concerns outside of COVID-19 to please do so. Doctors’ offices and emergency rooms have protocols in place to prevent individuals from contracting the virus. Now is not a time to gamble with anyone’s health to avoid COVID-19.