Latest Update for Public Health Delayed Opening in North GA on Tuesday

Health

Due to the latest weather warning that Georgia counties north of I-20 may form black ice on roads due to overnight freezing Monday night, all North Georgia Health District offices in Dalton and Public Health Departments, Programs and Services in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties will DELAY Opening until 10 AM on Tuesday, December 11th. Any further updates will be posted to the North Georgia Health District website at www.nghd.org and on district social media pages at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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.”

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

Health impacts of sexually transmitted diseases highlighted during STD Awareness Month

Health, Press Release

DALTON, Ga. – Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur in the United States every year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

America’s youth shoulder a substantial burden of these infections. CDC estimates that half of all new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the country occur among young men and women aged 15 to 24.

Sherry Gregory, Infectious Disease supervisor for North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said, “April is STD Awareness Month, so we’re placing a special emphasis on how to prevent STDs and on the importance of getting tested and treated for these diseases.”

The high incidence of sexually transmitted infections in the general population suggests that many Americans are at risk of exposure to STDs, underscoring the need for prevention.

Despite this news, there are effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. STD screening and early diagnoses are essential in preventing transmission and the long-term health consequences of STDs.

“We will be conducting STD testing and awareness campaigns at our county health departments and at various community events throughout April, such as HIV and Hepatitis C testing at the Northwest Day Reporting Center in Dalton on April 3 and 17, and at Dalton State College Gilmer Campus in Ellijay on April 19,” said Gregory. “Details about these and other events will be posted to our website at www.nghd.org/pr.”

Contact information for county health departments in the North Georgia Heath District is:

Cherokee County Health Department: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, 770-345-7371 and 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, 770-928-0133;

Fannin County Health Department: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, 706-632-3023;

Gilmer County Health Department: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, 706-635-4363;

Murray County Health Department: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, 706-695-4585;

Pickens County Health Department: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, 706-253-2821; and

Whitfield County Health Department: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, 706-279-9600.

The Living Bridge Center, located at 1200 West Waugh Street in Dalton, is the provider of Ryan White Part B and C in the North Georgia Health District and will also participate in the district-wide STD Awareness Month campaign.

Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sexual partners, and consistently and correctly using condoms are all effective prevention strategies. Safe, effective vaccines are also available to prevent hepatitis B and some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause disease and cancer. And for all individuals who are sexually active – particularly young people – STI screening and prompt treatment, if infected, are critical to protect a person’s health and prevent transmission to others.

More information about STDs is available at all the above county health departments in north Georgia and on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/std.

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Several north Georgians receive no-cost-to-client flu shots

Press Release

DALTON, Ga. – Since health departments in north Georgia began providing flu shots at no cost to clients this week, 640 residents have taken advantage of the offer and others are urged to do the same while supplies last. This number contrasts favorably to the total of 190 flu shots provided by the health departments during the previous week.

Flu activity continues to be widespread in the U.S., and last week, the number of flu-related deaths in Georgia sharply increased, prompting public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties to begin providing flu shots at no cost to residents who have not yet been vaccinated. Healthcare plans are billed for clients who have coverage, and there is no charge to anyone who is not insured. No appointment is necessary – “walk-ins” are welcome.

The current flu vaccine is highly effective against most influenza strains that are now circulating, and county health departments in north Georgia also have a high-dose flu vaccine for people ages 65 and older, providing them with increased protection.

It is not too late to get a flu shot. This flu season has not yet peaked, and it could last several more weeks. Once vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full protective potential. Therefore, it is important to receive a flu shot right away.

Locations and phone numbers for the no-cost-to-client flu shots at county health departments in
north Georgia are:

  • Cherokee County Health Department: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, 770-345-7371
    and 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, 770-928-0133;
  • Fannin County Health Department: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, 706-632-3023;
  • Gilmer County Health Department: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, 706-635-4363;
  • Murray County Health Department: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, 706-695-4585;
  • Pickens County Health Department: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, 706-253-2821; and
  • Whitfield County Health Department: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, 706-226-
    2621.

Health officials also remind the public that flu is extremely contagious and can spread easily from person to person; therefore, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms – such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue or nausea – is urged to stay home during the severest symptoms and for at least 24 hours after fever is gone. Parents should keep children who are sick with the flu at home from school, and anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay away from places such as hospitals and long-term care facilities where people are more at risk for developing severe complications if sick with the flu.

More information about preventing the spread of flu, such as frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes, is on the North Georgia Health District website at http://nghd.org/pr/34-/938-widespread-flu-in-georgia.html.

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Flu shots available at county health departments

Press Release

DALTON, Ga. – Flu Shots are now available at NO COST to residents at public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. Healthcare plans will be billed on behalf of clients who have coverage, and there is no charge to anyone who is not under a healthcare plan. No appointment is necessary – “Walk-ins” are welcome. Residents are urged to take advantage of these no-cost to client flu shots while supplies last.
It is not too late to get a flu shot. In fact, the time is crucial. Georgia, along with 48 other U.S. states, is experiencing widespread influenza activity, with 37 flu-related deaths currently reported in Georgia, including four in north Georgia – and those numbers are expected to increase since the flu season has not yet peaked.

The current flu vaccine effectively protects against three of the four influenza virus strains that are circulating.

Locations and phone numbers for the participating north Georgia county health departments are:

  • Cherokee County Health Department: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, 770-345-7371 and 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, 770-928-0133;
  • Fannin County Health Department: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, 706-632-3023;
  • Gilmer County Health Department: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, 706-635-4363;
  • Murray County Health Department: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, 706-695-4585;
  • Pickens County Health Department: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, 706-253-2821; and
  • Whitfield County Health Department: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, 706-226-2621.

Health officials also remind the public that flu is extremely contagious and can spread easily from person to person; therefore, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms – such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue or nausea – is urged to stay home during the severest symptoms and for at least 24 hours after fever is gone. More information about preventing the spread of flu, such as frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes, is on the North Georgia Health District website at http://nghd.org/pr/34-/938-widespread-flu-in-georgia.html.

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Widespread Flu in Georgia – Protect Yourself and Prevent the Spread of Flu

Health

Don’t Let The Flu Catch Up To You

Health

Don’t Let The Flu Catch Up To You:

Georgia Dept. of Public Health Encourages Yearly Flu Shot

North Georgia – The holidays are almost here, and that means family gatherings and holiday parties where people tend to be in close personal contact. Don’t bring flu to the festivities. National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 3-9, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians to get their flu vaccine. The flu shot is the best protection against the flu.

“Flu season is here until possibly as late as May, and we anticipate an active flu season this year,” said Sherry Gregory, RN, Infectious Disease Supervisor of the North Georgia Health District, based in Dalton. “It’s important that North Georgians understand the best way to protect against influenza is to receive an annual flu vaccine. As long as the virus is circulating, it’s never too late to vaccinate.”

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. On average, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections.[1] Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions. Preventive actions such as simply washing hands and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing can guard against the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever. Public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties have flu vaccine for people of all ages, including pediatric and quadrivalent vaccine as well as Fluzone High Dose for people 65 years old and older. Log onto nghd.org to find these North Georgia Health District county health departments’ contact information by clicking the LOCATIONS tab at top of the home page. Many physicians, pharmacies, employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2017-2018 flu season.

National Influenza Vaccination Week emphasizes the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccination. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. So be wise and get immunized against the flu. For more information on immunization, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know.

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