Healthy people, families, and communities.


Focus to Shift from Testing to Vaccinating

COVID Testing North GA 2NORTH GA– In response to the upcoming expansion of eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia, county health departments in North Georgia Health District 1-2 will transition their focus from COVID-19 testing to meeting an increased demand for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Beginning January 11, testing will be offered at health departments in Fannin, Gilmer, Murray and Pickens counties Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM for symptomatic first responders, school employees and court staff. In Cherokee and Whitfield counties, COVID-19 testing will continue to be provided to anyone who needs it Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 11 AM, but by appointment only. To make an appointment for testing in Cherokee and Whitfield counties, call 1-888-881-1474.

This change will help meet the need to provide vaccines to a much larger portion of residents during the COVID-19 vaccination phases identified by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Residents should monitor the North Georgia Health District website at for further updates and announcements regarding COVID-19 testing in North Georgia.

Beginning January 11, adults 65 years of age and older will be included among those who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1-A (refer to phases below), based on vaccine availability. Please watch for announcements containing instructions on where and how to get vaccinated on our here on our website, our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and in the local media.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia at

DPH COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Planbigstock Doctor drawing up Covid vac 368578954 large 580x387

Georgia is currently in Phase 1: Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Availability

Phase 1-A

Phase 1-A includes (*as of the date of this press release) paid and unpaid persons serving in a healthcare setting who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Hospital staff, public health clinical staff, EMS, and other first responders, long term care facility (LTCF) staff, and urgent care facility staff are examples of people who will be included in this phase.

Additional examples include:

  • Staff in clinical settings (e.g., physicians, nurses, pharmacists, EMS, laboratory staff, environmental services, LTCF staff etc.)
  • LTCF Residents
Georgia Vaccine Plan

Follow the plan for distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia.

COVID-19 Vaccine Plan (1.24 MB)

*Beginning January 11, all adults 65 years of age and older, law enforcement and fire personnel.

Phase 1-B

Phase 1-B will include other essential workers and people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

Examples of people that will be included in this Phase are listed below:

  • Critical workforce employees (e.g., pharmacy staff, educational faculty and staff, correctional facility staff, court employees, food processors, grocery store workers, transportation staff, nuclear power plant employees, air traffic controllers, etc.) 
Phase 1-C

Phase 1-C will include people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness, not vaccinated during Phase 1-A or Phase 1-B.

Examples of this population include:

  • Other essential workers
  • Adults below age 65 with significant comorbidities

Dalton (GA) – The North Georgia Health District announced that Whitfield County Health Department received an initial shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and began administrating the vaccine to healthcare workers from a variety of medical offices on Friday.

Dr. Pablo Perez internist in Dalton GA receives COVID 19 vaccination from Robin Coffey registered nurse of the Whitfield County Health Department on 12 18 2020
Dr. Pablo Perez, an interninst in Dalton, was one of the first to receive a COVID-19  vaccination for healthcare workers in North Georgia. Robin Coffey, a registered nurse at the Whitfield County Health Deparment, administered the vaccination.

This first shipment of Pfizer vaccine contained 1,950 doses and is being kept in an ultracold freezer required for storage and temperature control of the vaccine.

Moderna vaccine should begin arriving in Georgia next week and will be distributed to health departments for administration to healthcare workers in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties.

Both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine require the administration of two doses to be fully effective.

Because initial COVID-19 vaccine supplies are limited, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) at the state and local level is following the recommendations of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) by prioritizing the vaccine for healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. The North Georgia Health District will also make vaccine available to local hospitals as those facilities await their own deliveries.

Additional information about distribution and administration of vaccine in North Georgia will be coming soon.

COVID-19 vaccine information in Georgia is available on the DPH website at

leadpoisoning 456pxYoung children are at highest risk for health problems if they are exposed to lead. According to the CDC, lead exposure can seriously harm a child’s health, including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems. There is no identified safe blood lead level in children, but approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 have blood lead levels that are concerning to public health.

There are many ways parents can reduce children’s exposure to lead before they are harmed.

For instance, young children often put toys, fingers, and other objects in their mouths as part of their normal development. This may put them in contact with lead paint or dust that can be common in the environment.

Since 1978 in the United States, the use of lead-based paints for houses, children's toys and household furniture has been prohibited. In many older homes and apartments, though, lead-based paint is still on walls and woodwork, which can result in youngsters eating lead-based paint chips.

Children can also come into contact to lead through:

    • Reduce Exposure to Lead from Crockery this Holiday Season graphicTraditional home health remedies such as azarcon and greta, which are sometimes used for an upset stomach or indigestion
    • Imported candy and candy wrappers
    • Imported toys and toy jewelry
    • Imported cosmetics
    • Pottery and ceramics
    • Drinking water contaminated by lead leaching from lead pipes, solder, brass fixtures, or valves
    • Consumer products, including tea kettles, vinyl miniblinds and metal keys

Certain food containers that have lead and cookware such as lead glazed pottery, ceramics, china, and porcelain as well as lead crystal glassware, can leach lead into food or drinks.

Reduce a child's risk for lead exposure by taking proactive measures.

Have lead testing done before purchasing a home.

Lead contamination in homes constructed before 1978 can be minimized by Click here for more info on lead graphicprofessional washing, proper paint stabilization procedures and repairs performed by a licensed contractor.  

Always make sure children are away from areas that could have high levels of lead such as near old windows or on old porches, the yard next to an old home, or areas that have chipping or peeling paint or old window putty.

Cover the ground next to an older home with mulch or wood chips, and if paint chips or peeling paint is inside the house, dispose of the chips and cover the peeled patches until the paint can be removed.

Because water can contain lead, especially in older homes, use an ion exchange filter, reverse osmosis filter or distillation. If a filter is not available, run cold tap water for 15 to 30 seconds before usage.

In the kitcleadpoisoning a400hen, store food in containers that are glass, plastic or stainless steel and not in open cans.

If there is any uncertainty as to whether a piece of pottery has a lead glaze, use it for decoration only.

Keep a tidy house. Mop floors and sponge other surfaces on a regular basis.

Promote good hygiene. After playing outdoors or with pets and before eating and sleeping, ensure that children wash their hands and faces. Also, periodically wash children's toys periodically, which may become exposed to lead from dirt or household dust.

If using traditional remedies and foreign-made cosmetics that could contain lead, stop. If unsure whether a product contains lead, do not use it or allow children to use it.

Encourage a healthy diet. Eating a diet high in iron and calcium can lower the absorption of lead by a child.

Nonbrand toys, old toys and toys from discount stores or private sellers should be avoided and costume jewelry should never be given to young children because these items can also contain lead.


For adults who work with or handle items containing lead, remove clothing immediately when arriving home, and then take a shower and wash clothing, including contaminated shoes.

If a child has possibly been exposed to lead, ask the child’s doctor to do a blood test to check for lead.

For more information about the hazards of lead exposure to children, log onto the CDC website at

Drive Thru Flu Shot Clinic at Mack Gaston Comm Ctr 11 10 20 SPDRIVE IN to Get a NO-COST FLU SHOT at the Murray County Health Department, Tuesday, November 17th from 3 to 6 PM! Just drive in and get your flu shot while seated comfortably and safely in your car. The flu shots at the clinic will be for anyone 19 and older. No appointment is necessary. No identification is required. All COVID-19 protective precautions will be taken. Please wear a mask to protect others.

Murray County Health Department is located at 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705. For more information, call (706) 695-4585.