Newsletter from the Coastal Health District (January 7, 2021)

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

 

Weekly Update for 1.7.22
COVID Cases are Surging in the Coastal Health District

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is racing through communities in Georgia and the Coastal Health District, and infection rates are soaring.

The past week has seen record-breaking daily case counts in Georgia. We have been consistently seeing about 25,000 daily cases this week, more than double our previous records. And these are likely undercounts due to at-home tests and other reporting lags. The 14-day case rate, or Community Transmission Index, for Georgia is 2,221. This represents a 389% increase over the last 14 days.

Fortunately, we have many helpful tools to fight Omicron like vaccination, boosters, testing, masks, quarantine, and isolation. There have been many new developments in eligibility and guidelines over the last several days - here are some highlights:

Vaccines and Boosters

Haven't been boosted yet? Here's why booster shots are so important. With the Omicron variant, preliminary research shows that vaccine effectiveness is lowered to about 35% with 2 doses of vaccine (although you're still well protected against hospitalization and death), but protection increases to about 75% with a booster dose.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated booster dose guidelines this week. 

  • People 12-17 years old should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.
  • People who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as their primary series are recommended to get a booster after 5 monthsinstead of 6 months.
  • Moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11 year-olds should receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second shot. 

Click the button below to schedule a COVID vaccination with the Coastal Health District.

*Booster doses for 12-15-year-olds should begin in the Coastal Health District very soon - we'll post an announcement at the link below once we have received the official documentation for vaccinating this expanded group.

Schedule COVID Vaccination
Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines

The CDC also updated isolation and quarantine recommendations.

If you have COVID-19:
People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19: 
If you are unvaccinated or more than 6 months out from your second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and you are not yet boosted, CDC recommends a quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.

If a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.

People who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.

Testing after exposure: 
For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for COVID-19 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19. 

Testing Update

Testing is a critical element of slowing the spread of the Omicron variant. If you have symptoms or if you have a known exposure to an infected person, you should seek testing, even if you're vaccinated. If you test positive, you must isolate at home away from other people, except to get medical care. 

The Coastal Health District offers free PCR testing at 6 locations. One of those sites, the Savannah Civic Center, has been temporarily closed because of previously scheduled events in the arena, but is reopening Monday. Free testing is available at the following locations:  

  • Savannah Civic Center
  • Savannah Campus of Georgia Tech in Pooler
  • Springfield outside the Effingham Health System
  • Hinesville in James Brown Park
  • Brunswick outside the Southeast Georgia Health System
  • Camden County outside the Health Department in St. Marys

Pre-registration is required at all testing sites. Click here for a schedule of testing events with links to pre-register.

 
A: Yes, in certain situations. If you’re fully vaccinated, get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms – especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick – or if you live or work in a group setting, like a correctional facility, and have been around someone with COVID-19. 
 

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Variants

As experts learn more about the Omicron variant, here are tools to help protect you from ANY COVID-19 variant. 
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