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For Chatham Hospital’s staff, frustrations abound

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SILER CITY — From the desk in his office at Chatham Hospital, Eric Wolak sees a glimmer of hope when talking about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent surge has slowed a bit, vaccinations are on the uptick and the few “breakthrough” cases the hospital has treated have been minor.

But the frustration that Wolak — the hospital’s COO and chief nursing officer — still feels is palpable. You can sense it in the tenor of his voice, his manner, as he talks about the strain the pandemic has put on the hospital’s ability to meet the demand for care.

And then there’s Chatham Hospital’s nursing shortage.

Wolak takes a breath before answering a question about it.

Continue Reading on Chatham News Record

Despite drop in new COVID cases, Savannah and Chatham remains in high-risk red zone

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The good news: Chatham County’s COVID-19 census numbers have dropped since the last week in August, when the county experienced a third-wave peak of new infections. Since Aug. 25, new cases have fallen by 35%.

The bad news: The decline isn’t close to pulling Chatham out of the Red Zone, the areas on maps that denote where cases are 100 or greater per 100,000 county residents. That’s high-risk territory on par with where the county stood during the last wave in January, when vaccines were not readily available. Even with widespread availability now, vaccine rates remain 25% to 30% below where they need to be for the community to achieve herd immunity.

Continue Reading on Savannah Now

Savannah, Chatham County announce vaccine incentive program for its employees

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Leaders in Savannah and Chatham County on Monday announced a voluntary vaccine incentive program for current employees to target the local infection rate.

Full-time and part-time employees are eligible for $500 if fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The program is available to workers of the city of Savannah, Chatham County, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) and Chatham Area Transit (CAT).

“We recognize how intertwined we are in our community and how important it is for us to get past where we are now to where we want to be. We recognize that we have to take big, bold and creative action to be able to move us to a point where we can enjoy life the way we used to,” said Mayor Van Johnson.

Continue Reading on WSAV-TV

Chatham County Health Department Admin gives COVID-19 update to County Commission

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – The top administrator at the Chatham County Health Department weighed in today after following the President Biden’s announcement regarding vaccine and testing mandates for certain sectors of health care workers, federal employees and private business.

Chatham County Health Department Administrator Dr. Chris Rustin says at this point it’s too early to tell what effect the Biden Administration’s announcement regarding vaccine and testing requirements will have here in Chatham County.

“You’ve seen that the announcements been made, but there are already talk about challenges to that announcement. And so until it really plays out, and actually gets put in place, it’s too soon to tell. I do hope that it will encourage people to want to get vaccinated,” said Rustin.

In the most current data Dr. Rustin shared with Chatham County Commissioners this morning, about 47-percent of county residents are fully vaccinated. That’s about two percent higher than the state average.

Continue Reading on WTOC

Chatham County jail’s COVID-19 cases remain low despite rise of delta variant

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Despite a surge of COVID-19 cases among Savannah-area first responders, the insidiousness of the delta variant – and now the discovery of a new mu variant in Georgia –the Chatham County Detention Center hasn’t been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

Chatham County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Parla Parker told the Savannah Morning News that 16 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks, down from 31 the two weeks’ prior.

There were more than 1,280 inmates in the jail last week. Since the beginning of the pandemic 19 months ago, no detainees have died from the virus, but one detainee was hospitalized due to COVID and has since recovered

Continue Reading on Savannah Now

COVID-19 vaccine mandates go into effect for Carrboro and Hillsborough employees

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Due to the surge of Covid-19 cases, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking unvaccinated Americans not to travel during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The US is surpassing an average of 160,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant and many students returning to the classroom for a new academic year, the rise is concerning officials and health experts.

“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing on Tuesday.

Walensky said that while people who are fully vaccinated can travel with precautions, current transmission rates mean they too need to take Covid-19 risk into consideration when deciding whether to travel.

Continue Reading on ABC11

Georgia passes 1 million COVID cases since pandemic start; one new death in Chatham County

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More than 1 million Georgians have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total 1,000,872 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide on Tuesday. Of that number, 4,257 were added since Monday and 220 were recently admitted to hospitals. The state DPH reported 24 new deaths for a statewide total of 19,044. One new COVID death was reported in Chatham County; but no new COVID deaths were reported in Bryan or Effingham counties. The updated numbers are as of just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, Chatham County has reported a total of 25,322 positive cases — an increase of 132 since Monday— and one new death for a total of 459. Bryan County has reported 3,340 positive cases — an increase of 20 — but no new deaths at 39. Effingham County has reported 4,830 positive cases — an increase of 46 — but no new deaths at 75.

Continue Reading on Savannah Now

Mayor Johnson says COVID situation in Savannah worse now than when shut down

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Mayor Van Johnson says more COVID-19 restrictions are imminent as the situation continues to worsen. Chatham County is reporting record highs in hospitalizations, daily cases and community transmission.

“We are worse now than we when we were closed,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he will meet with his public health team this week to reassess the current COVID-19 situation. The county is reporting 235 new daily cases, 224 current hospitalizations and a community transmission index of 998 — which counts new infections per 100,000 residents, according to the Coastal Health District.

Continue Reading on WSAV

More than 1,000 new COVID cases reported in Savannah-area since Friday; deaths at 572

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The Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total 996,653 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide on Monday. Of that number, 14,130 were added since Friday and 295 were recently admitted to hospitals. The state DPH reported 37 new deaths for a statewide total of 19,020. No new COVID deaths were reported in Chatham, Bryan or Effingham counties.

As of Monday, Chatham County has reported a total of 25,190 positive cases — an increase of 742 since Friday — but no new deaths at 458. Bryan County has reported 3,322 positive cases — an increase of 113 — but no new deaths at 39. Effingham County has reported 4,784 positive cases — an increase of 202 — but no new deaths at 75.

Continue Reading on Savannah Now

Chatham County leaders attribute vaccination rate to keep deaths down during pandemic

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The director of the Chatham county Public Health Center here tells me that the simple answer is very obvious vaccines. More than half the population here has received a shot. And he says because of that no one has died from the virus Since May. It’s also keeping people out of the hospital and out of the coffin frankly. The numbers speak for itself.

The latest state data shows COVID-19 cases up But deaths and hospitalizations are down here. The last time we did the analysis, about 94% of our cases since made through early July were among those not fully vaccinated. So it does work. Director Mike Zelic says it’s partly because the community has been very receptive to their campaigns and initiatives.

Communications and messaging is critical And that’s been no different in COVID, Chatham County had 89 deaths since the start of the pandemic. That’s less than half of the 182 deaths in Wilson County, which has about the same population every time you think it’s going to end, it keeps coming back and that’s how viruses work. Zelic says the number of cases per week is now trending upwards.

Continue Reading on WRAL

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