Newsletter from the Coastal Health District (December 3, 2021)

The following information is courtesy of the Georgia Department of Public Health Coastal Health District


Weekly Update for 12.3.21
Omicron - What We Know, What We Don't Know, and What You Can Do

Well, here we are again, talking about a new COVID-19 variant, and just in time for the holiday season.

If you're as exhausted by COVID as we are, this is not what you want to hear. But don't despair - while you should stay informed and cautious, we've been coping with this virus for almost two years now and we have a lot of tools to help in the fight.

So let's talk about Omicron, the latest COVID variant of concern.

What We Know

  • Omicron is a new strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is not derived directly from the Delta variant, but is a completely separate strain with many mutations from the original.
  • New variants of the virus are expected to occur. While the emergence of this variant may be unwelcome, it is not unexpected.
  • The variant has been detected in several states across the U.S., so it's likely already in Georgia as well.
  • Based on preliminary information from South Africa, no unusual symptoms have been reported following infection with the Omicron variant.
  • This is a respiratory virus, so the same strategies are still helpful. Ventilate spaces. Use masks. Test if you have symptoms. Isolate if positive. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.

What We Don't Know

  • Because this variant is so new, there is a lot we don't know. Scientists are working to determine how easily Omicron spreads compared to the Delta variant and whether this variant causes milder or more severe illness.
  • Scientists are also working to determine if the mutations in Omicron will impact the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
  • We don't yet know what impact Omicron may have on local transmission of the virus.

What You Can Do

  • If you haven't been vaccinated yet, now is the time. Anyone age 5 and older is eligible for free vaccination, and vaccine supply is plentiful. Click here to schedule an appointment.
  • If you've been vaccinated and are eligible for a booster, get boosted. Click here for booster eligibility information.
  • While we don't yet know the full impact of Omicron's mutations on vaccine effectiveness, the antibodies we develop from vaccination give us some degree of cross-protection, particularly against severe illness.
  • If you are sick, get a COVID test. If you test positive for COVID-19, self-isolate so you don't spread the illness to others.
  • The best way to prevent the spread of this new variant or any other variant is to get vaccinated, get a booster if you are eligible, and to wear a mask in indoor public settings or in a crowded environment.

COVID Testing and Vaccination Options

Free COVID-19 testing is available at six locations in the Coastal Health District. The sample for PCR testing is taken with a nasal swab. Results are typically available in 24-48 hours.

Public health testing sites are located in Savannah, West Chatham, Brunswick, St. Marys, Hinesville, and Springfield.

Appointments are not required, but it's very helpful if you pre-register online.

Click here for more information and to pre-register for a free COVID test.

Free COVID-19 vaccination is available for anyone age 5 and older. Different brands of vaccines are given at different clinics, so take a moment to look through all our COVID-19 vaccination options at There is no cost for vaccination regardless of health insurance status.

In addition to our health department clinics, we also offer mobile vaccination clinics throughout the district.

Click here for more information and to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 vaccine.


$50 Incentive for Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations in McIntosh Co. Dec. 7

The first 85 McIntosh Co. residents to get the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine during the Tuesday, Dec. 7, vaccination event at the health department in Townsend will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Booster doses do not qualify. Schedule an appt. at (choose the McIntosh Co. Health Dept. link under “Special Events"). For scheduling assistance, call our COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 912-230-5506 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. or Friday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

CAT giving away 10 free rides to vaccinated customers in December

Chatham Area Transit wants to encourage more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and reward those who already have. With this goal in mind, CAT will offer a temporary vaccine incentive for customers during the month of December.

From Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, customers will be able to receive a free 10-ride card allowing for 10 rides anytime on CAT’s fixed-route buses or a 10-ride ticket book for CAT’s paratransit service, CAT Mobility. Recipients of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccination are eligible for the free card or CAT Mobility ticket book. Customers must be fully vaccinated and they can only receive one free 10-ride card or CAT Mobility ticket book under the program.

Click here for more details.


Voices of Long COVID

Long COVID survivors are sharing their stories so that others won’t have one to share. Many people, including young adults, have been infected with COVID-19 and continue to suffer from persistent health problems months later. Anyone can get Long COVID, but the best way to prevent it is to get vaccinated. 
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This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

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