Public health staff in North Georgia recognized as Immunization Champions

Community, Health

NORTH GEORGIA – The North Georgia Health District was honored with the 2018 Walt Orenstein
Champions for Immunization Award at the Immunize Georgia Conference, recently held for the 25th
year by the Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta. The conference is an occasion to give
special recognition to public health immunization champions for their leadership and influence in
getting Georgians immunized.

Immunization is the best protection against vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza, polio,
diphtheria and pertussis, just to name a few, and the Walt Orenstein Champions for Immunization
Award honors individuals, agencies or coalitions that demonstrate excellence in providing
immunization care.

The North Georgia Health District (district 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health, based in
Dalton and comprised of Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties)
received this award due to the high level of staff commitment to reducing barriers to immunizations
through no- or low-cost vaccinations, community outreach events and flexible clinic hours to meet
the needs of the community.

“We are committed to making it possible for everyone to have access to immunizations with quality
care,” said Ashley Deverell, RN, BSN, district Immunization Coordinator. “From providing over
1200 no-cost flu vaccinations during the peak of the unusually active flu season this past winter to
being a Vaccines For Children provider so we can ensure no one is turned away from receiving
eligible vaccines based on ability to pay, our county health departments and Living Bridge
Center/Ryan White Clinic work in conjunction with public and private partners to administer all
applicable vaccines to as many people as possible.”

Immunizations have been made more accessible in North Georgia through public health in multiple
ways.

County health departments stay open until late one day a week so people who work normal business
hours can have access to services, including immunizations.

 

Health department staff go out into their communities to host vaccine clinics with businesses,
schools, churches and organizations as well as conduct annual back-to-school clinics and drive-thru
flu shot clinics.

They participate in various health fairs to promote immunizations and provide education about many
other health issues and public health services.

The health departments have also developed relationships with fellow county agencies, including
EMS offices and fire departments, to assist in updating vaccinations among personnel.
The Gilmer County Health Department’s International Travel Clinic in Ellijay administers
comprehensive health services to travelers, including vaccines for many diseases that a traveler may
encounter along the way such as polio, measles, typhoid and yellow fever. People all throughout
North Georgia, and beyond, take advantage of these travel clinic services due to the quality of service
and the ability to arrange prompt appointments.

The North Georgia Health District collaborates with local OB/GYN offices to offer low-cost prenatal
care and routinely administers vaccines as part of these services. Plus, the Whitfield County Health
Department offers many primary care services through their Medical Access Clinic, Women’s Clinic
and Children’s Access Clinic to ensure that people who may not have easy access to care can receive
health services, including all recommended vaccinations.

The health district’s commitment to reducing barriers to immunizations also includes a solid public
information campaign that utilizes media and social media along with community partners and
stakeholders inform the public of their need to maintain immunizations and how, when and where
to receive them.

Sherry Gregory, RN, district Infectious Disease Supervisor, said, “Our staff understands the critical
role immunizations play in preventing disease and I am proud of their diligent efforts to make
immunizations more accessible to everyone.”

Kenneth John Cody: Obituary

Obituaries
Kenneth John Cody

March 23, 1953 – October 23, 2018

Mr. Kenneth John Cody, Jr, age 65, passed away October 23, 2018 at his residence in Ellijay, GA

Mr. Cody is survived by his mother: Ann Cody of East Point, GA. Brothers: Cary Cody of Newnan, GA and Tim Cody of East Point.

Mr. Cody is preceded in death by his wife: Sharon Cody; Son: Keith Cody; Daughter: Leanne Cody.

A memorial service will be announced latter.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Homestead Hospice.

Cagle Funeral Home is Honored to serve the Cody family.

Roger Allen Baker: Obituary

Obituaries
Roger Allen Baker

November 25, 1948 – October 19, 2018

Mr. Roger Baker, age 69 of the Ludville Community passed away Friday, October 19, 2018 at Seasons Hospice in Cumming GA.

Mr. Baker is survived by his Wife: Linda Baker of Ludville Community. Daughter: Laura Baker of Ludville Community. Daughter and Son-in-Law: Miriam & Jonathan Pearson of Sugar Hill, GA. Brother: David Baker of Corbin, KY. Grandchildren: William Prince, Amelia Prince, Ian Prince and Suzanne Pearson. Nephew: Justin Baker and wife Brandy. Great Nieces: Whitley Baker and Paisley Baker.

The family will be receiving friends Sunday, October 21, from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM and Monday, October 22 from 8:00 AM until the funeral hour.

Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Monday, October 22, 2018 in the Cagle Funeral Home Chapel. Rev. Ben Mock, officiating.

Interment will be 2:00 PM at Crest Lawn Memorial Park, 2000 Marietta Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

The family will be receiving flowers or donate to The American Cancer Society or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Cagle Funeral Home is honored to serve the Baker family.

Joan Chastain Weaver: Obituary

Obituaries

Ms. Joan Chastain Weaver, age 76, of Jasper, passed away October 15, 2018 at her residence.

Ms. Weaver is survived by her Son and Daughter-In-Law: Scotty and Mary Weaver of Ellijay. Brothers: Leon Chastain of Nelson and Billy Chastain of Jasper. Sisters: Nora Chambers of Talking Rock and Laverne Walker also of Talking Rock. Seven Grandchildren and Four Great-Grandchildren also survive.

Ms. Weaver is preceded in death by Son: Ricky Weaver. Brother: Gary Chastain and Fred Chastain. Sister: Kathleen Mulkey.

The family will be receiving friends, Wednesday, October 17, from 1:00 PM until 10:00 PM and Thursday, October 18, from 8:00 AM until the funeral hour.

Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM at Cagle Funeral Home Chapel, with Rev. Roger Elliott officiating.

Pall Bearers: Henry Cantrell, Timmy Chastain, Shawn Chastain, Roger Mulkey, Jimmy Lee and Billy Buchanan.

Interment will be at Bethel Christian Church Cemetery immediately following the funeral service.

Flowers will be accepted or donations can be made to the American Cancer Society.

Cagle Funeral Home is honored to serve the Weaver family.

Betty Fitz Harlan: Obituary

Obituaries
Betty Fitz Harlan

February 01, 1927 – October 14, 2018

Ms. Betty Fitz Harlan, age 91, of Jasper, GA passed away October 14, 2018 at Tranquility Hospice in Kennesaw Mtn, Hospice in Marietta.

Ms. Harlan, is survived by her Son and Daughter-In-Law: Ralph Eric & Lisa Harlan of Kennesaw, GA. Daughter: Diana Harlan Walls of Rome, GA.  Six Grandchildren – Tracy Harlan, Dayna & Victor Jacobs, Lisa & Tom Masci, Brent & Melissa Harlan,  Kimberly & Matthew Dice, Mary & Cole Wallace, and Sixteen Great-Grandchildren also survive.

Ms. Harlan was preceded in death by her Parents: Ralph & Mildred Fitz: Sister: Beulah Marsh; Grandson: Ralph Eric Harlan.

Visitation will began Friday, October 19, 2018 at 4:00 PM till 9:00 PM. Saturday, October 20, 8:00 AM until the funeral hour.

Funeral service will be held 2:00 PM, Saturday October 20, in the Chapel of Cagle Funeral Home. Rev. Roger Canuel officiating.

Pall Bearer: Steve Marsh, Steven Marsh, Bret Harlan, David Cole, Nick Jacobs, and Darrell Levenwolf.

Interment will be at Jasper City Cemetery, in Jasper, GA,  immediately following the funeral service.

The family will accept flowers or donate to a charity of your choice.

Cagle Funeral Home is honored to serve the Harlan family.

DA Sosebee begins information campaign in schools

News, Videos
District Attorney Alison Sosebee speaking to GHS students about Vaping and drug use.

ELLIJAY, Ga – The Appalachian Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney, Alison Sosebee, began her campaign today in Fannin Middle School and Gilmer High School with presentations for students about the rising trend of vaping in all forms.

Speaking to the students she shared some of the responses that authorities have begun included harsher penalties for vape devices in general, not to mention the felonies possible with controlled substances. Using drugs in the vape devices like the popular Juul brand devices is only a part of growing concerns as authorities and administrations fear for students who expect non-nicotine flavored water vapor in devices they may find friends with when in reality these devices could contain anything from Heroin to Synthetic Marijuana.

Sosebee also invited Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Dustin Hamby to speak about the Bureau’s involvement. Hamby noted that almost 90% of his cases tied to drug usage in some way. He goes on to note that he’s had three murders in his career directly related to drug usage.

Sosebee recalled the story of a case she and Hamby shared about a guy who had taken drugs with a close friend. Under the influence, he grew greatly agitated at his friend and violently murdered him without full realization. He spoke further about how little it takes to blow up into major consequences in situations like vaping unknown substances.

Sosebee also noted that they are finding that many students and users of vape devices believe them safer than regular cigarettes. She noted that not only is there zero research to support his claim, but there is also no research or regulations on vaping devices right now. No one can tell you everything that is in Vape Juice, nor if people at smoke shops are adding extra ingredients. She called the students this generations guinea pigs for testing if vaping as they would be the cases that doctors study thirty years from now to determine the actual effects that Vaping can have in both short-term and long-term effects.

Only the first day, Sosebee is expected to travel to Fannin High, Pickens High, and Pickens Middle schools in the next two weeks along with possibly adding Gilmer Middle as well.

Author

Dog bit by rabid raccoon in Talking Rock

News

Talking Rock, Ga – The North Georgia Health District, district office of the Georgia Department of Public Health, is warning citizens in both Pickens and Gilmer Counties to be aware of potentially rabid animals in the Talking Rock area.

The official statement by the office only reports of a dog bite sometime on September 4. While the raccoon was found and sent for testing, a positive return has officials in an alerted state. Since the animal has already been recovered, Gilmer County Environmental Health officials are simply urging pet owners to vaccinate their animals as it saved this dog’s life. He is currently under observation at home.

According to Andrea Mathis, county environmental health manager, there was no human exposure to the raccoon. She went on to say, “It’s imperative to maintain rabies vaccinations in our pets, not only for their protection, but to protect ourselves and our families from rabies. Once our pets are exposed to rabies, they can expose us, and rabies is virtually 100 percent fatal if not treated before symptoms begin.”

Check the full release below:

Gilmer County Environmental Health officials are urging residents to ensure pets are vaccinated against rabies after a Talking Rock dog was bitten by a rabid raccoon.

The raccoon fought with the dog outside a home in the Ruby Ridge Drive/Highway 136 area of Talking Rock near the Gilmer-Pickens County Line on September 4th.

The raccoon was shipped for testing to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory and the positive rabies results have now been reported to the Gilmer County Environmental Health office.

According to Andrea Mathis, county environmental health manager, there was no human exposure to the raccoon, and since the dog was currently vaccinated against rabies, it only required a booster shot and at-home observation for 45 days.

“It’s imperative to maintain rabies vaccinations in our pets, not only for their protection, but to protect ourselves and our families from rabies,” said Mathis. “Once our pets are exposed to rabies, they can expose us, and rabies is virtually 100 percent fatal if not treated before symptoms begin.”

An opportunity to get rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats at the reduced cost of $10.00 will be at the Fall Vaccines Clinic hosted by VCA Animal Appalachian Animal Hospital on September 29th. Other vaccines will be offered, as well. Please click on the attached flyer below to view various times and locations of the clinic that are being held throughout Gilmer County.

To learn more about rabies and how to protect against the disease, call the local county environmental health office. The number for Gilmer County Environmental Health is (706) 635-6050.

Additional rabies information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/rabies.

Author

“Vaping” incident part of a larger problem

News

Ellijay, Ga. – An incident report from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed reports of a student “blacking out” and suffering seizures after inhaling a substance from a SMOK Vape device.

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

The male student was hospitalized from the incident and later released. The incident, however, did prompt officials to call in K-9 units to search for other drugs. Authorities found two additional SMOK Vapes with one testing positive for containing marijuana. While the

original vape has been tested, no official response is available identifying the substance in the original device.

However, according to the incident report, it was reported that the student was told by a fellow classmate that “there was a vape in the boy’s restroom and he should go smoke some of it.”

With the investigation in Gilmer CID’s (Criminal Investigations Division) hands, no names of the students nor additional information is available.

However, FYN spoke with Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs who confirmed the incident is part of a larger problem facing the schools today. She told FYN that last year, the school system confiscated eight vape devices over the course of the entire year. This year, they have already collected 25 devices since the beginning of school a few weeks ago.

Each instance results in disciplinary action for the student as it is a violation of the code of conduct, according to Downs, but as the rise in using other substances in the devices continues, the charges against students get far more serious as they deal with controlled substances.

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Downs went on to say that she has spoken with other Superintendents to see if Gilmer is alone in the rise of vape usage. Though she declined to name which counties she had spoken with, she did confirm that Gilmer was not alone.

Confirming the rise in popularity of these devices in several counties, the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee made a press release stating, “Within the last week, several teens in Pickens, Gilmer and Fannin counties have experienced medical emergencies as a result of “vaping,” by use of electronic cigarettes. These medical emergencies necessitated treatment by both EMS and treatment at hospitals.”

Many of the vape devices found being used are very small handheld devices easily concealed within one’s palm or bag, like a purse or book bag, or even in one’s pocket as several designs become thinner and shorter. Downs confirmed they have found Juul brand vapes and last weeks incident report confirmed the males vape was a SMOK brand. Sosebee notes, “Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.”

As the use of vapes themselves are intended to be used with nicotine for adult smokers, the rising concern is the ability to swap out the common “juice” for homemade cocktails or drugs. Downs confirmed that reports have been made of students crushing Adderall and other things to make the “juice.”

According to Juul’s website, “These alternatives contain nicotine, which has not been shown to cause cancer but can create dependency. We believe that these alternatives are not appropriate for people who do not already smoke.”

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Sosebee also commented on other substances that have been found in the devices saying, “The liquid that is inhaled, known commonly as “vape juice,” can contain any number of substances: it can contain flavoring; it can contain nicotine; it can also contain drugs and illegal substances such as THC oil, fentanyl and LSD. Of great concern, the user may or may not know what they are inhaling, what their reaction will be to the substances, what they are exposing others to and may erroneously believe that they are simply inhaling “harmless water vapor.” There is nothing harmless about what is occurring.”

Downs went on to say that some parents may have purchased vapes for their kids not knowing that they are swapping out the contents. The feeling was echoed by Sosebee as she called for parents to “be aware of the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.”

With concerns rising from parents, administration, and law enforcement alike, investigations are continuing as programs and events are attempting to educate the community about the devices and their popularity.

Downs said the Gilmer Administration is stepping up efforts in educating and building awareness in their staff about what to look for and also to educate our parents in the community saying, “I feel like there is a real lack of knowledge and lack of understanding among our community in relation to this… This has blown up overnight to the point that I feel like its almost epidemic.”

 

 

Author

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